We are all on a journey of faith.
We haven't reached the destination yet, but we are hoping to be heading in the right direction.
We realise that the journey is a lot easier if we do it together.
We are never going to be perfect in this, but we hope that if we can grow closer to God, that will change us to be closer to the way God is, acts and feels. That is why worship is important to us. If we meet together in community there is a greater chance that our opinions, ideas, and theologies will be touched and affected by the rest of the community.
If we do faith 'on our own' we isolate ourselves from the affects of others. Our world becomes so much smaller. Not only do we cut ourselves off from others support, we cut ourselves off from others needs.
It is hard to feel the light of hope in our darkness, if we cut ourselves off from the light of God shown in others.
At the heart of the faith of the Church of Scotland is the love and following of God through his son, Jesus Christ. There are those who speak of Jesus the religious guru, the mystic, the faith healer, a magician. The Gospels, which are books in the Bible, teach that Jesus was no ordinary man, but was in fact God in human form. They reveal a Jesus who came to bring a new life, an exciting dynamic kind of life that brought with it intimacy and peace with God through having our sins forgiven and receiving a transformed heart and soul.
The Resurrection of Jesus
When Jesus rose to heaven from the grave sums up the most important moments in the Gospels as it allows people to come to terms with their own sin, God’s love for them and to seek his forgiveness. To admit that you have sinned is not an easy step to take. To realise that Jesus was crucified for your sin and to seek his forgiveness is possibly one of the most difficult steps you will ever take, but it is the most important one which leads to a new and transformed life. Those who do take this step of faith can find and sense the power of God at work in their lives and are never the same again.
21 centuries after his death, there is never a single moment in which less than several million people are reading what Jesus said and did and trying to apply the significance of his words and actions to their lives.
"I have come to bring you life and life to the full".
A relationship with God is the most exciting kind of life that can ever be experienced. To know the purposeful hand of God in your life, to know His touch and forgiveness leads not only to purpose and meaning in life but peace with God and fulfillment in Him. For these reasons, the story of Jesus is still relevant for today.
Through reading the Bible and attending church services you can discover that Jesus transforms the lives of individual people from within. They come to the point of trusting him with their lives and recognising that they need his transforming love and forgiveness for their sins.
Central to the Church of Scotland is our love and worship of God through following the teachings and examples of Jesus Christ. We express our love for God by our love and practical care for each other and for those we live with and encounter in our daily lives. Church of Scotland parish churches play a crucial part across a range of communities, from remote villages to deprived urban areas where shops, banks, schools and other institutions have disappeared. Pastoral care of parishioners is an essential part of Christ's calling to the Church, particularly in times of need. As part of their caring task, local churches also aim to resource and run projects relating to groups such as asylum seekers and unemployed people.
The Apostles' Creed
The Church of Scotland believes in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and proclaims Jesus Christ crucified, risen and glorified.
Our standards of belief are to be found in the Old and New Testament (the Bible) and in the Church's historic Confession of Faith. For a brief summary of our beliefs, it is useful to look at the Apostles' Creed, which is used by many churches in declaring Christian faith:
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell.
"The third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
"I believe in
The Holy Ghost;
The Holy Catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of Sins;
The Resurrection of the Body;
and the Life Everlasting."
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. The Church does not have one person who acts as the head of faith, as that role is the Lord God's. Its supreme rule of faith and life is through the teachings of the Bible.
Church of Scotland government is organised on the basis of courts, mainly along lines set between 1560 and 1690. Each of these courts has committees, which may include other members of the Church, and at national level employ full-time staff. Our councils and committee pages include more about their work and remit.
At a local level, the parish, the court is a kirk session. Kirk sessions oversee the local congregation and its parish, and consist of elders presided over by a minister.
At district level, the court is a presbytery. Presbyteries consist of all the ministers in the district and an equal number of elders, along with members of the diaconate (a form of ordained ministry, usually working in a complementary role in a ministry team in both parish and industry sector contexts). There are 46 presbyteries across Scotland, England, Europe and Jerusalem.
At national level, the court is the highest court of the Kirk, the General Assembly. The General Assembly consists of around 400 ministers, 400 elders, and members of the diaconate, all representing the presbyteries. Visit our General Assembly page for more information about how it functions.
The Kirk and the State
The Queen is not the supreme governor of the Church of Scotland, as she is in the Church of England. The sovereign has the right to attend the General Assembly, but not to take part in its deliberations. The Oath of Accession includes a promise to "maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government".
The Queen maintains warm relations with the Church of Scotland, where she worships when in Scotland, and from which the chaplains of the Royal Household in Scotland are appointed.
The Church of Scotland (the Kirk) is not State-controlled, and neither the Scottish nor the Westminster Parliaments are involved in Kirk appointments.
The Kirk’s status as the national Church in Scotland dates from 1690, when Parliament restored Scottish Presbyterianism, and is guaranteed under the Act of Union of Scotland and England of 1707.
In matters of doctrine, government, discipline and worship, the Church of Scotland is free of State interference, operating under a constitution largely contained in the Articles Declaratory which were recognised by Parliament in 1921. Our Church law pages include more information and the acts and regulations of the General Assembly since 1929.