The Reid is a member of the Church of Scotland (link to http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk) (CoS) church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland's governing system is Presbyterian which means that no one person or group within the Church has more influence or say than any other. Its longstanding decision to respect "liberty of opinion on matters not affecting the substance of the faith" means it is relatively tolerant of a variety of theological positions, including those who would term themselves conservative or liberal in their doctrine, ethics and interpretation of Scripture. The (CoS) is not State-controlled, and neither the Scottish nor the Westminster Parliaments are involved in Kirk appointments. The sovereign has the right to attend the General Assembly, but not to take part in its deliberations. The Queen maintains warm relations with the Church of Scotland, where she worships when in Scotland.
Once a year the CoS holds a General Assembly which has the authority to make laws determining how The Church of Scotland operates. It is also the highest court of the Church in which cases can be heard in matters of litigation.
The Kirk Session
At a local level, in the parish, the Kirk Session oversees the whole life and service of the Church within its Parish. It has responsibility for the spiritual and temporal oversight of the Congregation’s affairs. The Kirk Session is made up of elders, drawn from the congregation, and the minister.
Elders also have pastoral responsibilities, which they carry out under the guidance of the minister. Our parish is divided into districts, and the elders visit the church members resident in their district. Apart from a duty of attendance at Kirk Session meetings and taking a due part in the decision making process, the duties of a particular elder will be defined by the Kirk Session depending on the special gifts of each elder and may include education, fabric, finance or any of the areas of work a Kirk Session identifies. Elders assist the minister in the distribution of the elements at our Communion Services.
All meetings of the Kirk Session are presumed to be open meetings and any member of the congregation may attend.
This also applies to any committees appointed by the Kirk Session. Our minister is a member of the Kirk Session as its Moderator. The Kirk Session appoints one of its members to attend Presbytery. The Reid is part of Edinburgh Presbytery a group with the strategic responsibilities, staff and financial resources to offer the local support required by congregations and oversight of congregations. Presbytery has overall responsibility to delegate the day-to-day work of the Church to the appropriate committees, to coordinate the work of the presbytery, provide inspiration, mutual support and encouragement and to oversee the ‘business’ of the presbytery. On average once every four years, one of the Reid's members might be commissioned by Presbytery to the General Assembly, to act as our representative there.
The Kirk Session appoints a Session Clerk. To the minister, the Session Clerk is his or her ‘right hand man’ (even when the position is held by a woman) The Session Clerk is the person who, more than any other, embodies the congregation, and is the link between it and the minister.
Ministers (of Word and Sacrament) are ordained men or women who, after special training, have taken vows and been set apart for the task of leadership. They also have an 'enabling' role in the Church in developing a congregation through their leadership and vision. Their role includes:
- Leading worship and conducting the celebration of the sacraments, which are the Lord's Supper (or Holy Communion) and baptism
- Chairing meetings of the kirk session, which has responsibility for the spiritual issues within a congregation, and guiding the session in its discussions
- Conducting funerals and offering pastoral support to those who are dying and those who have been bereaved
- Conducting weddings and helping people prepare for marriage
At present we do not have our ‘own’ Minister but visiting ministers who lead our worship and provide provide pastoral care and support people in need.
Other Boards and Committees
Our Church, halls, manse, flowers, …….. take a lot of running so there are lots of committees to do that.
In rather dated Church of Scotland language the purpose of the church choir is “to lead the praise and provide suitable items to enrich the worship at Christmas, Easter and other occasions as may be arranged”. Over many years our choir have endeavoured to do that, ably supported by our dedicated choir master and organist, and by our fine organ.