Keyword Glossary:

Deposed: When a minister was formally removed from his position within a parish, usually for either political reasons or personal misbehaviour.

Kirk Session: The local ecclesiastical court in each of Scotland’s parishes. Composed of a group of elders--usually a dozen or more, depending on the size of the parish--and the minister(s), who presided over the session. Charged with overseeing parish discipline, poor relief, conflict resolution, kirk attendance, religious knowledge, and more.

First Charge: The position of the first minister in a larger parish that has two ministers. Usually, this is the more senior position, aided by the more junior second minister.

Presbytery: A regional ecclesiastical court that oversaw clerical appointments, pastoral decisions, and more serious matters of discipline in the parishes within its jurisdiction.

Second Charge: The position of the second minister of a larger parish, usually appointed by the local presbytery. Sometimes, this post is referred to as “colleague minister” or “assistant minister.” Often, ministers holding the second charge in a given parish would be transferred to first charge there after the death of the previous first minister; at other times, the second minister would gain experience in this charge and then be transferred to a first charge post in a smaller parish.

Suspended: When a minister was temporarily suspended from his position within a parish, usually for reasons of personal misbehaviour.

Synod: A provincial ecclesiastical court that oversaw the actions of the presbyteries within its region as well as more serious issues of discipline among the clergy.