The Church of Scotland plays an essential role in providing worship and spiritual guidance for key life events, from child blessings and baptisms to marriage and funerals.
Christening, Baptism or Dedication?
Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognised by the Church of Scotland, the other being the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In the case of infant baptism the Church expects at least one parent or other close family member either to be a member of the Church, or a regular attender. In the baptismal service those appropriate adults profess their own faith and promise to give the child a Christian upbringing. In the case of adult baptism the person himself or herself makes the appropriate promises.
Since 2003, the Church has provided orders for the thanksgiving for, and blessing of, a child. The blessing ceremony follows the same pattern as that for Baptism, except the wording and promises are different, and no water is used. Nothing is required of the parents in either commitment or belief.
Making decisions about a Christening, Baptism or Dedication...
Ministers of the Church of Scotland are authorised to perform marriages. The Church does not regard marriage as a sacrament and ministers are free to marry people who are not members of the Church of Scotland. However, if neither the bride nor groom is a member of the Church, the first approach should be to minister of the parish in which one or other of them resides. In places where parish boundaries are not obvious, the local presbytery should be able to advise.
For more information on Planning Your Wedding Ceremony...
Through its parish system and territorial ministry the Church of Scotland seeks to serve all the people of Scotland and not just the membership of the Church. Nobody in the situation of bereavement should hesitate to seek the services of the parish minister, either directly or through the undertaker.
For more information on planning a funeral, or writing a eulogy / family tribute...
Birth, baptism, marriage and death certificates
If you would like to know how to obtain a copy of archived certificates for researching your family tree, please visit the Church of Scotland’s section on historical records.