The Kirk Session has oversight of the whole life and service of the Church within its Parish; responsibility for the spiritual and temporal oversight of the Congregation’s affairs. Its spiritual responsibility involves “leadership, nurturing the spirituality of the congregation and its members, caring for the spiritual welfare of the parish and parishioners, encouraging members to participate in the worship and life of the congregation, and promoting mission and evangelism in the parish.”
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. Historically, these have included the pastoral care of a district and this continues to be important. However, modern practice favours more attention being given to the special gifts of each elder and it should not be assumed that these will include pastoral visiting. They might include education, fabric, finance or any of the areas of work a Kirk Session identifies.
A minister of a charge is a member of the Kirk Session as its Moderator and normally presides at meetings of the Kirk Session.
By decision of the General Assembly, 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. In particular circumstances, the Kirk Session or committee may decide that the nature of its business requires it to meet in private, and this is allowed. This decision would only apply to the particular business and not the whole meeting.
The Kirk Session appoints its own Clerk who need not be a member of the Session, but if not, he or she does not become a member because of their office. In order that a Session may make the appropriate use of people’s talents, the Kirk Session is at liberty to appoint an Assistant Session Clerk, who may or who may not be a member of the congregation.
For more details of the role and composition of the Kirk Session, please contact the Church Office.