Draft Presbytery Standing Orders

Presbytery Standing Orders need to be revised in the light of changes to the structure of Presbytery meetings and for other reasons. A first draft of the proposed new Orders appear below. They still do not include revised committee remits.

In the light of further thought and comment these Orders may be further modified before being presented as revised Standing Orders for approval at the September 9 meeting of Presbytery.


Approved by Presbytery and effective from September 9, 2017


  1 The Presbytery shall consist of all recognised Ministers and Deacons within the bounds, Commissioned Elders, appointed Additional Elders and Corresponding Members.
  2 The Roll shall be attested at the Ordinary Meeting in September.
  3 Each Kirk Session shall commission annually one of its number as a representative to the Presbytery. The Presbytery shall appoint annually enough Additional Elders to ensure that there are as many Elders as Ministers.
  4 Elders’ commissions, which run from 1 July to 30 June, shall be forwarded to the Business Committee within two months of the close of the General Assembly, but preferably by 15 June in order that proposals for Committee membership may be prepared.
  5 The Convener and Secretary of the Inverness and Nairn Presbyterial Council of the Guild, appointed Readers and Probationer Ministers within the bounds of Presbytery shall be Corresponding members of Presbytery.
  1 The Moderator shall be appointed for a period of one year, but may be re-appointed. The Business Committee shall nominate the next Moderator at the March Meeting. The Moderator is elected at the June meeting and takes up office on July 1. The Moderator shall preside over all meetings of Presbytery for the year until 30 June.
  2 In the absence of the Moderator, the immediate past Moderator shall preside, and if not present, a former Moderator shall preside.
  3 During the Moderator’s term of office, the Moderator shall conduct public worship and preach in two charges, taking the greetings of the Presbytery. The Minister of these charges shall be present, and the Presbytery is to meet the pulpit supply fee payable in the Moderator’s own charge. The charges to be visited in any year are nominated by the Business Committee.
  1 The Presbytery shall appoint a Clerk who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Presbytery.
  2 The Presbytery shall from time to time review the work of the Presbytery Clerk.
  The Presbytery shall appoint a Treasurer who shall hold the office during the pleasure of the Presbytery.


1 The Presbytery meets in conference on the second Saturday in September and March. Both conferences are followed by lunch and an ordinary business meeting. The Presbytery also meets for ordinary business in the evening of the third Tuesday of November, and the last Tuesday of June.
2 In the event of business arising which requires to be considered by the Presbytery prior to the next meeting for ordinary business the Presbytery may call an in hunc effectum meeting, or the Moderator call a pro re nata meeting.
3 All meetings of Presbytery shall be constituted with Prayer but the Moderator may lead a brief devotion.
4 The quorum for all Presbytery meetings shall be 3 of which 2 must be Ministers.
1 When the Presbytery has been constituted, the draft Minutes of the last ordinary meeting and any subsequent meetings, being circulated to all members by the Clerk, shall be submitted for approval.
2 The Order of Business, as circulated in the documents sent by the Clerk prior to the meeting, with amendments proposed by the Business Committee, shall be agreed by the Presbytery.
3 After the Order of Business is agreed, or as matters arising, it shall be competent to move at any time that a matter (in whole or in part) be taken in private, such a motion to be voted on without debate. However, as much as possible, matters should be taken in open court.
4 Any member of Presbytery wishing to give notice of motion shall submit the same in writing to the Clerk prior to the meeting of Presbytery.
1 The conduct of business and rules of debate shall as far as possible be those of the General Assembly (replacing ‘General Assembly’ with ‘Presbytery’ where required) unless herein otherwise stated.
2 After Committee Reports are presented and the Deliverance has been moved and seconded, questions shall be taken. The Deliverance shall then be considered section by section. Any amendments are to be disposed of before counter-motions. The Presbytery votes ‘For’ or ’Against’ an amendment. In the case of a counter-motion the Presbytery shall vote ‘For’ the motion or ‘For’ the counter-motion. Finally, the Deliverance as a whole is to be put to the Presbytery for approval.
3 No member may speak more than once on the same matter, except by the permission of the Moderator, apart from the Committee Convener whose report is under consideration, who shall have the right of reply, and thereby closing the debate.
4 Motions, amendments, and counter-motions should be given in writing to the Clerk prior to the meeting to allow them to appear on the screens as far as possible, but in any case, immediately they have been seconded.
5 On a Point of Order being raised (it is necessary for a Standing Order article to be specified) the Moderator shall rule thereon, which ruling shall be accepted as the finding of the Court.









Other than with the special permission of the Presbytery the maximum time-limit for speeches shall be as follows:

a) Convener presenting a Report, introducing an Overture, presenting a Petition – 10 minutes;

b)   Mover of a Notice of Motion moving or secondment amendments or counter-motions, seconding motions, making comments – 3 minutes;

c)   Guest Speakers – 10 minutes;

d)   Speeches about appointments, translations, demissions or tributes – 3 minutes.

7 Time limits do not apply when the Presbytery is either:

a) dealing with matters under the Barrier Act;

b) acting judicially.

8 A member of Presbytery may dissent from any decision made by the Presbytery and this dissent will be recorded in the minutes, if both:

a) the member gives intimation of dissent before the meeting proceeds to the next business;

b) the member has taken part in the vote on the matter under discussion.

9 All questions not dealt with in these rules above should be decided by the Moderator.
10 These Standing Orders may be suspended when the necessary motion is made and receives the support of not less than two-thirds of those present and voting. There shall be no discussion on such a motion.
11 Amendment of Standing Orders:
a) Any proposal for the alteration of Standing Orders shall be either:

i)   on the report of the Business Committee and intimated by Presbytery;

ii) by notice of motion handed in writing to the Clerk in time to be circulated in advance to all members of Presbytery;

b) Standing Orders may be amended on such a proposal or motion receiving a simple majority of those present and voting at the meeting at which it is considered;
c) This Standing Order shall not apply to Standing Orders 1-6, which may be amended by the Clerk in accordance with the decisions of the Presbytery.


1 Except for the Business Committee, membership of Standing Committees shall normally be for three years, and the Conveners of all committee for four. Conveners and members may serve a second consecutive term.
2 The following shall be STANDING COMMITTEES of the Presbytery:
a)    Business – Convener including the Conveners of all Standing Committees and Teams, with Moderator, Clerk and Treasurer ex officio;
b)   Congregational Support – 8 Ministers and 8 Elders;
c)    Doctrine, Worship & Ecumenical Matters – 5 Ministers and 5 Elders;
d)   Education & Outreach – 8 Ministers and 8 Elders;
          Sub-committee Church & Society – 3 Ministers and 3 Elders;
e)   Finance – 5 Ministers and 5 Elders and the Presbytery Treasurer;
f)    Ministry – 5 Ministers and 5 Elders;
g)    Planning – 6 Ministers and 6 Elders;
h)   Property – 6 Ministers and 6 Elders;

i)     Superintendence – 3 Ministers and 3 elders (one of whom is the Convener, and a second is Clerk and Vice-convener)

3 The Moderator, Presbytery Clerk and Convener of the Business Committee are ex officio members of all Committees. Committees may also include Corresponding Members of the Presbytery.
4 Additional Ad Hoc Committees shall be appointed as required by Presbytery.
5 The nomination of Conveners and members of all Standing and Ad Hoc Committees shall be made by the Business Committee in accordance with Section 2 above. In addition, at the request of a Standing Committee the Business Committee may appoint to Standing Committee members of the Church of Scotland who are not Presbyters but who belong to congregations within the Presbytery’s bounds. The number of such appointments to a Committee should not exceed one third of the number of the Committee members set out in Section 2.
6 Conveners and members of Standing Committees shall take office on 1 July.
7 All members of Standing Committees shall retire after six years. No member shall normally serve for more than two consecutive terms of office.
8 Committees are to appoint a Clerk or Secretary from their own membership, who may also act as vice-convener, or a separate vice-convener may also be appointed.
9 All Committees shall keep a minute of their meetings including attendance, and these will be submitted to the annual inspection of records.
10 Delegated powers may be granted by the Presbytery to Committees. A Committee has authority to act in the name of the Presbytery in all matters falling within the powers delegated to it, provided it has the support of at least two-thirds of the Committee present and voting. Where powers of delegation have been used, Conveners shall report in writing to the Presbytery Clerk all action taken for submission to the next ordinary meeting of the Presbytery.


1 Standing Committees are to meet at least once between each Presbytery and are to report at each ordinary meeting of Presbytery.
2 Committee Conveners should submit written reports to the Business Committee for its meeting before the next ordinary meeting of Presbytery. Late submissions will normally be held over to the following Presbytery unless for urgent or unavoidably delayed circumstances.
2 Committee Conveners shall normally call all committee meetings and no two committees may meet separately at the same time.
3 Committee Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Presbytery. Meetings shall be orderly and begin and end with Prayer.
4 Committees may meet virtually, provided all members of the committee are able to so meet, and that adequate notice of such meetings are given. Where necessary, connection codes are to be timeously given to all members.




These are to follow


1 The Presbytery shall resolve at the ordinary meeting in November to elect its commissioners at the ordinary meeting in March.
2 Ministerial commissions shall be offered to ministers in charges by rotation of Charges. Any ministerial commissions remaining shall be offered in the first place to the Presbytery Clerk and thereafter to ministers without charges.
3 Elder Commissioners shall be nominated for election by rotation of charges, corresponding to that of ministers.


1 Maintenance and Repair.

a) The permission of Presbytery must be sought and obtained before work commences on major alterations, and/or any additions, and/or repairs to property, whether or not the titles are vested in the General Trustees. The cost of work must include all work to be carried out, even if phased, and must include all fees for all legal work, architects, surveyors, VAT, and any other costs which may be incurred.

b) The maximum costs of such work which may be undertaken without Presbytery’s consent shall be determined annually in March on the recommendation of the Property Committee.

2 Emergency repairs may be effected immediately in consultation with the Convenor or Vice-Convenor of the Property Committee, of which work shall be minuted at the next Property Committee meeting and submitted for approval at the next ordinary meeting of Presbytery.
3 Four weeks’ notice shall be given to the Property Committee to consider plans and submissions for the subsequent meeting of Presbytery. Submission must include full details, plans, costings (estimates), details of financial reserves, along with any fundraising plans: additionally, details should be included of the last two financial years expenditure on the congregation’s properties. If the costs of any single work are in currently in excess of £15,000 but less than £24,999 then the submission must include an extract minute from the Kirk Session or Financial Court stating how the congregation will finance the work: if the work or project total cost shall be in excess of £25,000 then an extract minute of an Extra-ordinary Congregational Meeting will need to be included setting out

a)    approval of congregation, and

b)   how the total cost of the work or project will be met by the congregation.

4 Vacancy.

a)  On the occurrence of every vacancy, all properties of the congregation(s) shall be inspected by the Property Committee and a written report on the condition of the properties shall be submitted to the Presbytery.

b)  In the case of a continuing vacancy an annual inspection of the properties shall be made and a written report on the condition of the properties shall be submitted to the Presbytery.

c) In the case of a vacant charge, as soon as possible after the congregation(s) have elected to call a new minister, the Property Committee shall inspect the manse and submit a written report to the Presbytery.

5 Local Church Review.

a) In a Local Church Review when properties belonging to the congregation(s) require to be professionally inspected, such properties may also be inspected by representatives of the Property Committee in the year appointed for Local Church Review.

b)   In any other Local Church Review, such properties shall be so inspected in the year appointed for Local Church Review, with the cost of a professional survey being borne by the charge concerned.

6 Professional Survey Reports.

a) Following receipt of the Professional Survey Report all work identified as “Urgent” must be completed within twelve months of receipt of the report by the congregation.

b)  Following receipt of the Professional Survey Report all work identified as “Essential” must be completed within five years of receipt of the report by the congregation.

c) Following receipt of the Professional Survey Report all work identified as “Desirable” must be completed within ten years of receipt of the report by the congregation.


1 The Examination of all appropriate Presbytery and Congregational Records, as determined by Presbytery, will take place on the second Tuesday of March in Inverness.
2 The Examining Committee, to be known as the Records Inspection Committee, shall be appointed on the nomination of the Business Committee at the previous November meeting.
3 The examination of Congregational Statements of Accounts once audited and approved by Trustees shall be examined by the Accounts Examination Committee. The Business Committee shall appoint the Accounts Examination Committee at the previous November meeting. Each congregation shall furnish two copies of their accounts.
  1 At Ordinations and/or Inductions and other Presbytery services the Moderator shall preside. At Ordinations and/or Inductions the most recently inducted minister shall normally conduct the service of worship and the charges to Minister and Congregations shall be given by a more senior and experienced minister.
  2 On induction, every Minister shall receive:

a) A statement regarding stipend arrangements;

b) Details of Parish Boundaries;

c) Copy of these Standing Orders of Presbytery;

d) Copy of the current Presbytery Plan;

e) Presbytery Handbook;

f)  Presbytery Directory;

g) Guide to the Presbytery;

h) Guide to record keeping.