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Act 1, 1942 (I) (Class 1) – Act anent Representation of Presbyteries in the General Assembly. 21st. May 1942.

The General Assembly, with the consent of a majority of Presbyteries, enact and ordain as follows:-

Whereas the growing stringency of finance tends to increase the number of Congregations which, by a competent Church Court, are being debarred from the right – save on cause shown and at discretion of the Court – to call, and have settled over them, a pastor who shall hold office ad vitam aut culpam.

And whereas Congregations so debarred are nevertheless constituent portions of the Church, amenable to the oversight and control of, and equitably entitled to representation in, all the Courts of the Church.

And whereas the present practice is to determine the number of Commissioners to, and Members of, the Supreme Court of the Church by the number, not of Congregations in each Presbytery, but of Charges (meaning thereby the benefice – whether occupied or vacant – of Ministers as individuals in contra-distinction from Congregation), which practice does not take full account of the interests of Congregations. and hampers the part which Presbyteries are entitled to have in the ultimate business of the Church.

And whereas the present-day circumstances of the Church, as well as of the Nation, call for consideration afresh of the question whether the practice referred to should not now be altered.

Therefore it is hereby enacted and declared

1. That each Presbytery of the Church shall be represented in the General Assembly by such a number of the Ministers and Professors of the Church within the Presbytery, inclusive of Assessors and Ministers who, though without charge, may have been duly granted seats in the Presbytery, as will be but will not exceed one-third of the number of Congregations and Professorial Chairs within the bounds of the Presbytery, together with a like number of Elders who are bona fide acting Elders of Congregations of the Free Church of Scotland in the same or other Presbyteries, and who shall have signed the Formula.

2. The term Congregation in this Act shall mean a body of Members of the Free Church of Scotland which is under the care and oversight of its own Kirk Session, a consolidated Charge being reckoned as two or more Congregations if and when there shall be two or more Kirk Sessions.

3. For the purpose of ascertaining precisely the number of Ministers and Elders to be elected as Commissioners to the next ensuing General Assembly, each Presbytery shall not later than the 31st day of December in each year certify and transmit to the Clerk of Assembly for submission to the Assembly Arrangements Committee a nominal Roll of the Congregations within the bounds of the Presbytery; and the Assembly Arrangements Committee shall, in due course and in conformity with the existing practice, determine and intimate to each Presbytery the number of Commissioners to the said General Assembly to be returned by each Presbytery respectively.