For more information on any of the events below, please contact our Minister, Peter Bluett on 0131 476 5212.
Baptism for infants and children
Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognised by the Church of Scotland, the other being the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In the case of infant baptism the Church expects at least one parent or other close family member either to be a member of the Church or willing to become a member. In the baptismal service those appropriate adults profess their own faith and promise to give the child a Christian upbringing. In the case of adult baptism the person himself or herself makes the appropriate promises.
Baptism is normally administered at Sunday worship in front of the congregation. This emphasises the nature of the sacrament as incorporation into the body of Christ and the life of the Church. There is a little more flexibility in the case of genuine emergencies, normally in a hospital situation.
Baptism for adults
While infant baptism is the norm, the Church of Scotland also baptises adults. Someone seeking such believer’s baptism (also referred to as adult baptism) should approach their local parish minister who will either give specific instruction or invite them to join in the communicants’ class. They would then be baptised and confirmed in the same service and have their names added to the communion roll of the congregation.
Joining the Church
The usual pattern for joining the Church of Scotland is that infant children of Church members are received into the Church through Baptism. In time it is hoped that the child will come to make his or her own public profession of faith and the congregation will support the family in this task.
This public profession of faith is sometimes referred to as confirmation. It occurs from around the age of 16, and admits the individual to all the rights and privileges of Church membership. The person’s name is then added to the congregation’s communion roll and they become eligible to vote in Church meetings and be elected to offices such as the eldership. Traditionally, confirmation has involved admission to Holy Communion for the first time, which explains why the ceremony is sometimes known as Admission to the Lord’s Supper.
However, since 1992 the Church has allowed children to receive communion as part of their Christian nurture. Prior to confirmation or admission to the Lord’s Supper a course of instruction is given to the candidates. Normally, this is given by the minister through a weekly class over a period of six to eight weeks. These are usually referred to as communicants’ classes.
Moving to a new congregation
When Church members move from one congregation to another they take with them a Certificate of Transference, commonly known as ‘lines’.
Members of other denominations can also transfer to the Church of Scotland. There is no standard procedure and, in these circumstances, an approach should be made to the minister of the relevant congregation, and he or she will advise.
Ministers of the Church of Scotland are authorised to perform marriages. The Church does not regard marriage as a sacrament and ministers are free to marry people who are not members of the Church of Scotland. However, if neither the bride nor groom is a member of the Church, the first approach should be to the minister of the parish in which one or other of them resides. In places where parish boundaries are not obvious, the local presbytery clerk should be able to advise.
In certain circumstances the Church of Scotland permits the re-marriage of divorced people in church. Our guide to marriage includes some frequently asked questions about getting married in the Church of Scotland.
Nobody in the situation of bereavement should hesitate to seek the services of our Minister, Peter Bluett, either directly or through the undertaker. The Church of Scotland seeks to serve all the people of Scotland and not just the membership of the Church. Peter can be contacted on 0131 476 5212.