Person NameAberdeen; John Knox (Gerrard Street) Kirk Session; 1843-1987; Church of Scotland
EpithetChurch of Scotland
ActivityAt the Disruption of 1843, the minister of John Knox Church, Mounthooly, Aberdeen, the Rev. John Stephen, came out with most of his congregation and formed John Knox Free Church in nearby Gerrard Street, after an attempt to claim the Mounthooly building on the grounds that it was a quoad sacra parish. Before the Gerrard Street church and school could be completed, the congregation met in the Temperance Hall in George Street. Mr. Stephen was a good preacher and excellent at pastoral work, and his stay in the church of nearly forty years allowed the congregation to establish some stability. A new church and halls were built in 1900, the year in which the Free Church united with the United Presbyterians to form the United Free Church. In 1929, on the union of the United Free Church with the Established Church, the congregation in Gerrard Street became again Church of Scotland, and in 1987 they reunited with John Knox Church, Mounthooly, moving back to that building.

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 (Gerrard Street) Kirk Session
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