Moderator of the General Assembly
The Moderator of the General Assembly is the chairperson
The chairman is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group. The chairman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an...
of a General Assembly, the highest court of a presbyterian or reformed
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...
church. Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries may also style the chairperson as moderator.
Presbyterian churches are ordered by a presbyterian polity
Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply...
, including a hierarchy of councils or courts of elders, from the local church (kirk) Session through presbyteries (and perhaps synods) to a General Assembly.
The moderator presides over the meeting of the court, much as a convener presides over the meeting of a church committee. The moderator is thus the chairperson, and is understood to be a member of the court acting primus inter pares
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...
. The moderator calls and constitutes meetings, presides at them, and closes them in prayer. The moderator has a casting, but not a deliberative vote. During a meeting, the title "moderator" is used by all other members of the court as a form of address, but this may not be continued outside the meetings. Thus this convention expresses deference to the authority of the court rather than an honour for the moderator as an individual.
Many moderators act as ambassadors for their general assembly when it is not sitting, and visit many of the local churches in their denomination.
See alsoLists of Moderators of the General Assembly:
- Presbyterian Church (USA) (1983 - present)
- United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (1958 - 1983)
- Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (1789-1958)
- Presbyterian Church in the United States (1861 - 1983)
- Church of Scotland
- Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of ScotlandModerator of the General Assembly of the Church of ScotlandThe Moderator of the General Assembly of Church of Scotland is a Minister, Elder or Deacon of the Church of Scotland chosen to "moderate" the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which is held for a week in Edinburgh every May....
- Moderator of the United Church of CanadaModerator of the United Church of CanadaThe Moderator of the United Church of Canada is the presiding leader of the United Church of Canada, Canada's largest Protestant denomination. The church is highly decentralized and non-dogmatic and the moderator has only limited power...
- Moderators and clerks in the Church of ScotlandModerators and clerks in the Church of ScotlandThe Church of Scotland maintains a presbyterian polity and is thus governed by a hierarchy of bodies known as church courts. Each of these courts has a moderator and a clerk.-Moderators:...
- Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in IrelandModerator of the Presbyterian Church in IrelandThe Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is the most senior office-bearer within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which is Northern Ireland's largest Protestant denomination....
- Presbyterian polityPresbyterian polityPresbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply...