The church is not a building or a place though these have their uses. The church is the people of God gathered together. It is a living thing - not a dead pile of bricks and mortar but a group striving to work in partnership with God.
The members of the church embody the church (just as your hands, feet and head embody you). Without these different members, coming with all kinds of backgrounds, talents and gifts, there would be no church.
Currently we have over 800 members of our church although, according to the 2001 census of all homes in Scotland, many more people who live within the parish claimed allegiance to our church as their spiritual home.
We are a parish church, existing to help and support everyone who lives within our bounds but we do have people who are ‘officially’ members of our church. You do not have to be a member to join us at worship on a Sunday or to take part in church activities throughout the week.
What does it mean to be a member of the church?
The usual pattern within the Church of Scotland is that infant children of Church members are received into the Church through baptism. This involves a commitment by the parents to bring the child up in the Christian faith, and by the congregation to support the family in this task.
In time it is hoped that the child will come to make his or her own public profession of faith. This ceremony 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.
If an adult who has not been baptised wishes to become a communicant member of the Church of Scotland then it will be necessary to be baptised. A baptism can normally be arranged to take place as part of the service, of confirmation.
How do you become a member of Greyfriars Parish Church?
Prior to confirmation or Admission to the Lord's Supper it is a requirement to attend our Christian Basics Course. Normally, this takes place in the Autumn of each year. For details of our next course, please contact our minister, Rev. Bryan Kerr.
What happens at a Christian Basics Course?
Over a course of six sessions, we meet as a informally as a group to discuss matters of life and faith, as well as introduce you to the Church of Scotland. Over the weeks topics such as: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Bible and prayer, living the Christian life, making moral decisions, and the duffers guide to the Church of Scotland.
Each evening is very light hearted and it is a good way to explore what you think you believe. The course allows you to investigate your own faith and ask the questions that you never dared ask before – no question is too stupid or trivial! We even allow people to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ from time to time.
If you would like to find out more about the next Christian Basics Course, then please contact the minister.
What if I am already a member of another congregation?
If you are already a member of the Church of Scotland, when you move to the area, or to our church you will be able to bring a Certificate of Transference, commonly known as 'lines' from your previous congregation. This should be given to our minister, or Session Clerk who will ensure that your name is taken to the next Kirk Session meeting to add your name to the roll of the Greyfriars Parish Church.
What about if I am a member of another denomination?
Members of other denominations can also transfer to Greyfriars Parish Church. The Church of Scotland has no standard procedure for this. We would be delighted to welcome you into the membership of our church and if you would like to know more then you should contact our minister and discuss the possibility with him.
We would love to welcome you as part of the family of Greyfriars Church. If you want to think about church membership then please contact the minister who will be only too happy to help! But remember, you do not have to be a member to come along to any of our activities or services of worship.