The ‘Auld Kirk’ is our affectionate term for the Church which has stood with the people of the land for 1,600 years. Today we call it the ‘Scottish Episcopal Church’ but in times past we were simply the ‘Church of Scotland’. The name we adopt now reflects our organisational separation from our Presbyterian friends in Christ, whom have retained that name and are adopted as a National Church. However, once we were one people together. Indeed the original Church of Scotland that had existed since the Celtic and Pictish times of our land finds its forms of ministry and structure continued by the Scottish Episcopal Church, retaining the historical orders known to the earliest Christians of ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon – the ordained ministers who serve the people of God.
It is only with the sadness and guilt of the Reformation era where arguments over how the church should organise its ministry that came the division between the Episcopal party (those who wished to retain the historical place of Bishops as the leaders of the Christian community) and the Presbyterian party (who saw Bishops as being unnecessary). Eventually the division became final as the Episcopal party supported the Jacobite cause and, with its failure, the Auld Kirk was driven underground for a time.
Persecuted, illegal, the Bishops continued to lead people in worship and in pastoral service across Scotland, often at great risk. Eventually tolerance came and once again the Episcopal form of the Church of Scotland emerged from the shadows to take its visible place in serving the people of the land, albeit with significantly reduced resources at its disposal.
Today we continue that same commitment. We are a Church of the land and its people. We gather as a worshipping community but we serve all within our pastoral jurisdictions. Our ministers serve not simply those who join together in worship but are the servants and priests of all. We remain absolutely and completely committed to that. As such we seek to be a church of inclusion. ALL are welcome at the table of the Lord, without exception, for each person ever born or yet to be born is a Child of God. We rejoice in those who seek to worship the God who gives life but we also rejoice in being a servant people to the wider community.