How we are organised

St Machar's Ranfurly Church

St Machar's Ranfurly Church is a Church of Scotland congregation. 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.

Most decisions are taken by the Kirk Session, which is made up of elders who in turn are elected by members of the congregation. Some decisions need to be taken by a congregational meeting of the members. 

In 2018 we have adopted a Unitary Constitution which means that the Kirk Session deals with all matters that arise. We are organised our work into 7 teams: Worship; Mission and Outreach; Pastoral Care and Nurture; Learning; Communication and Admin; Stewardship and Finance; and Buildings. Each team has an elder convener. The conveners report back to Kirk Session on a regular basis but have a degree of autonomy within their remit and budget to make decisions. Each team consists of elders and other volunteers. 

Our congregation is part of Clyde Presbytery. Our minister and one elder are delegated to presbytery and in this gathering decisions are made that can affect the life of the congregation.. If you want to learn more about the organisation of the Church of Scotland as a whole, please keep reading or see the Church of Scotland website.


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. Elders are elected by the members of the congregation. 

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). The number of presbyteries across Scotland, England, Europe and Jerusalem is changing due to a presbytery reform, with smaller presbyteries uniting to form larger presbyteries. From the start of 2024 there will be 10 presbyteries in Scotland. 

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 the Church of Scotland General Assembly page for more information about how it functions.

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