Church of Scotland

national church of Scotland
(Redirected from Kirk)

The Church of Scotland is the national church of Scotland, established by law. It is Presbyterian.[1] The Presbyterian Church of Scotland is distinguished from the Anglican Church in a number of ways. It does not have bishops or archbishops; nor is the British monarch its head. The leading minister is called the Moderator, who is the chair of the General Assembly for one year. Ministers of the Kirk, as it is called, may be called Rectors.

In 1559 John Knox returned from ministering in Geneva to lead the reformation in Scotland

The established kirk has suffered schism (breaks), and this has given rise to the "Wee Frees": the Free Church of Scotland, and (a further schism) the Free Church of Scotland (continuing) (the Wee Wee Frees); and the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (also, confusingly, called the Wee Wee Frees).

The Scottish Presbyterian church was formed when it broke away from Rome in 1560. Its theology (beliefs) were based on the ideas of John Knox, a disciple of John Calvin. The free kirks tend to take the Bible more literally.

About 10% of the people in Scotland are members of this church, but when asked in a census, 47% of people said this was their religion.

In 2023 there were around 4500 churches in Scotland, but fewer people going to services, so there were plans to save money by closing many of them.[2]

God's Invitation


In 1992, the Kirk's ruling body (the General Assembly) approved the following simple summary of its beliefs.

God's Invitation

God made the world
and all its creatures
with men and women made in His image.
By breaking His laws people have broken contact with God,
and damaged His good world.
This we see and sense in the world and in ourselves.
The Bible tells us the Good News that God still loves us
and has shown His love uniquely in His Son, Jesus Christ.
He lived among us
and died on the cross to save us from our sin.
But God raised Him from the dead!
In His love, this living Jesus invites us
to turn from our sins
and enter by faith into a restored relationship with God
Who gives true life before and beyond death.
Then, with the power of the Holy Spirit remaking us like Jesus,
we – with all Christians
worship God,
enjoy His friendship
and are available for Him to use
in sharing and showing
His love, justice, and peace
locally and globally
until Jesus returns!
In Jesus’ name
we gladly share with you God's message for all people –
You matter to God!


  1. "Church of Scotland". BBC. July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2019. {{cite web}}: |archive-date= requires |archive-url= (help)
  2. "'No congregation, no church': how Scotland lost the faith | Financial Times". Retrieved 2023-08-20.