Record

CodeNA4649
Dates1835-1997
JurisdictionAberdeen
Person NameAberdeen; John Knox (Mounthooly) Kirk Session; 1835-1997; Church of Scotland
EpithetChurch of Scotland
ActivityJohn Knox Church was built at Mounthooly, Aberdeen during the church extension movement in the early nineteenth century, finished in 1835. The first minister was the Reverend Alexander Philip, a native Aberdonian, as was the second minister, the Reverend John Stephen, inducted in 1838. However, he came out with most of his congregation at the Disruption in 1843, to form John Knox Free Church in nearby Gerrard Street. The parish of John Knox was disjoined from those of Greyfriars, St Nicholas and St Machar as a quoad sacra parish in 1880. The minister at the time was Herbert Bell (1842 - 1887), a popular preacher and instrumental in greatly increasing the size of the congregation. The Sunday School grew so large that a new church hall had to be built in 1885. Though Herbert Bell died young (in tragic circumstances at Kittybrewster Station in Aberdeen), his successor, Henry Ranken, was of the same energetic type and the congregation continued to grow. After a few short but successful ministries another powerful preacher, George A Johnston, was appointed in 1905, and the congregation was further augmented. A new church building in local grey granite was built in 1911. In 1987, the former John Knox (Gerrard Street) Free, United Free, Church of Scotland closed and the congregation united with John Knox, Mounthooly. The congregation united again with Greyfriars Church, Broad Street, in 1997. The 1911 building has now been converted into flats.

Each congregation of the Church of Scotland has a Kirk Session, which comprises the minister(s) and the ruling elders, all members of the Session (including the minister) being elders. The elders' duty is care for the spiritual needs of the congregation; each of them has a district of the parish assigned to him/her. The Kirk Session determines the number of elders. The minister is moderator of the Session, and there is a clerk who has custody of all the Session's records. There may also be a treasurer, and an officer or beadle. The Session must have maintained a communion roll, containing the names and addresses of the communicant church members within the parish.

The Kirk Session's duties are to maintain good order amongst its congregation (including administering discipline and superintending the moral and religious condition of the parish), and to implement the Acts of the General Assembly. The Kirk Session is at the base of the pyramid of church courts, and it is subject to the review of the Presbytery in which it is situated, and to the superior courts of the Church. Each Kirk Session elects one of its number to represent it at the Presbytery (and formerly at the Synod).

Into the 19th century, there used to be weekly collections made for the support of the poor, but as the state began to assume responsibility for their support (by means of taxation) so funds collected from communicants might be directed to special schemes (eg support of missionaries), more recently through a weekly freewill offering scheme. Seat or pew rents were also quite common (money paid for a fixed seat in a church), but declined rapidly from the 1950s. Many congregations now have a congregational board, which monitors income and expenditure. Former Free Church congregations often had Deacons' Courts, which had responsibility for the whole property of the congregation, and had to apply spiritual principles in the conduct of their affairs.
Corporate NameJohn Knox (Mounthooly) Kirk Session
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