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Summary Article: Church of Scotland
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Established form of Christianity in Scotland, first recognized by the state in 1560. It is based on the Protestant doctrines of the reformer Calvin and governed on Presbyterian lines. The church went through several periods of episcopacy (government by bishops) in the 17th century, and those who adhered to episcopacy after 1690 formed the Episcopal Church of Scotland, an autonomous church in communion with the Church of England. In 1843 there was a split in the Church of Scotland (the Disruption), in which almost a third of its ministers and members left and formed the Free Church of Scotland. By an Act of Union of 3 October 1929 the Church of Scotland was united with the United Free Church of Scotland to form the United Church of Scotland. There are over 680,000 members of the Church of Scotland (1998).

The Church of Scotland was founded by John Knox and Andrew Melville, basing themselves on the teaching of Calvin. The first Assembly of the Church of Scotland was held on 20 December 1560, and the Confession of Faith, drawn up by Knox, was ratified. In 1592 an act guaranteeing the liberties of the Church of Scotland and its presbyterian government was discountenanced by law in favour of episcopacy, and not until 1690, in the reign of William III, was the act of 1592, the charter of the Church of Scotland, fully restored.

Government The government of the Church of Scotland is by kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the General Assembly, the supreme court. The kirk session consists of the parish minister and ruling elders, elected by the congregation. The presbyteries consist of all parish ministers in a specified district, with one ruling elder from every congregation. The provincial synods, of which there are 12, comprise three or more presbyteries. The presbyteries elect the two commissioners who sit in the General Assembly.


Ordination of Women Priests


Knox, John

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