- Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Moderator of the General Assembly of Church of Scotland is a Minister, Elder or Deacon of the Church of Scotland chosen to "moderate" (i.e. chair) the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which is held for a week in Edinburgh every May.
The Moderator is normally a minister of considerable experience and held in high esteem in the Church of Scotland. The Moderator is nominated by the "Committee to Nominate the Moderator", which consists of one representative from each of the Church of Scotland's 40+ presbyteries. The Moderator must, however, also be formally elected at the Commissioners (i.e. all representatives) at start of the General Assembly - this is in practice a formality.
The office is held for one year only. Following the week of the General Assembly, the Moderator effectively acts as an ambassador for Church of Scotland, frequently being invited to represent the Church at official events or at special services for congregations.
In 2004 Dr Alison Elliot became the first woman (and first Elder for approximately 400 years) to be elected Moderator. Three years later the Very Rev Dr Sheilagh M. Kesting became the first woman minister to be elected to the office.
The Moderator takes part in the Coronation of British monarchs. At the Coronation in 1953, the Moderator presented a Bible to the Queen, saying, "Here is wisdom, this is the royal law, these are the lively Oracles of God."
Coat of arms
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has an official coat of arms awarded by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. It includes a shield showing the burning bush, plus the Quigrich - the crozier of St Fillan - behind the shield (with the curved head of the Quigrich visible above the shield). The shield is surmounted by a black Geneva bonnet - closely associated with John Knox. Similar to the coat of arms of an archbishop, there are the addition of twenty blue tassels arranged with ten on each side.
- List of Moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
- Moderator of the General Assembly
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