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Act 14, 1847 (XIV) – Declaratory Act anent Deacons’ Courts and Kirk-Sessions. 7th June 1847.

Whereas it is desirable that the existing and constitutional law of the Church respecting the business to be transacted in Deacons’ Courts, and the relation of these courts to the superior judicatories, and respecting the jurisdiction of Kirk-sessions, should be clearly known, the General Assembly declare-

1. That the business to be transacted in the Deacons’ Court consists in the administration of the funds, and property, and temporal affairs of the respective congregations.

2. That while it is inexpedient to sustain complaints or appeals against the ordinary administration of the Deacons’ Court in secular and financial affairs, the said court is nevertheless subject to the review of the Presbytery, in so far as it may take any step, or adopt any resolution, which the Presbytery can pronounce to be of a censurable nature, or in violation of  any enactment of the General Assembly.

3. That it belongs to the Session to receive and accept the resignation of Elders and Deacons.

4. That it belongs to the Session to determine as to the election of Elders and Deacons, whether as regards the time and circumstances when such election may be necessary, or the number of these office-bearers that ought to be chosen ; and to superintend and regulate the whole proceedings therein, according to the laws of the Church.

5. That congregational meetings are called by authority of the Session.

The General Assembly, in passing this Act, exhort the Ministers and Elders of the Church to be diligent and regular in their attendance at the meetings of Deacons’ Courts.*

* The Assembly at the same diet had the following Report laid before them, and the same was approved of-

” The Committee appointed by the Assembly with reference to the overtures anent Deacons’ Courts and  the administration of the financial affairs of congregations, report that they have prepared the following recommendations, which, they think, might with advantage be addressed to Deacons’ Courts by the General Assembly, viz. :—

Recommendations to Deacons’ Courts.

“1. That the minister’s supplement be understood to consist of the money paid to him during any one year out of the congregational funds, or by his congregation, in order that, including the dividend for that year from the General Church Fund, he may have a suitable maintenance.

” 2. That, after deducting feu-duty, the cost of insurance, the salaries of beadle and precentor, presbyterial, synodical, and Assembly charges, and the current yearly expenses that are necessary for the maintenance of public worship and the due administration of gospel ordinances, an adequate supplement for the minister be provided out of the congregational funds, before these funds are held applicable to any other purpose whatsoever.

” 3. That the minister’s supplement be paid at the terms of Whitsunday and Martinmas.

” 4. That the average ordinary collection be deducted from all special or extraordinary collections made on the Lord’s day, at the usual diets of worship.”