Folk are often unsure about what exactly is meant by membership of Wardie. Below you will find answers to some of the questions about membership that we are frequently asked.
What does it mean to say you are a member of Wardie?
Wardie is a congregation of the Church of Scotland. Each congregation maintains a Roll (register or list) of those who are in full membership. To be a member of the Church of Scotland means:
- That you have been baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- That you have been confirmed; meaning that you have made a public profession of your Christian faith during a service organised for this purpose.
- That your name has been added to the list of members of a congregation of the Church of Scotland.
Historically, only those who were members would be allowed to take the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the Church of Scotland but that is no longer the case. Membership today opens the door to a number of things, including:
- Entitlement to be elected as an office bearer in the congregation.
- Entitlement to vote in congregational meetings and elections; including the election of a new minister.
- Regular inclusion in the pastoral ministry of the congregation.
It also carries responsibilities, including:
What if I have never been baptised?
Historically, most people in Scotland were baptised while still very young children. However, in the last 50 or 60 years more and more children were not baptised. There is no age limit for baptism! Adults who were not baptised as children are baptised at the same time as they make a public profession of faith and are confirmed.
How can I arrange to be confirmed and what is involved?
As confirmation involves making a public profession of faith during a church service it is obviously important to prepare properly for that and to be sure it is what you want to do. The minister runs a short course at least once a year to help people to understand what is involved and to decide whether they are ready for confirmation. The evenings are informal and designed to allow participants to explore where they are on the faith journey and to ask questions. At the end, those who wish to do so can enrol for a further two or three meetings to prepare for confirmation. A Service of Confirmation will then be arranged, usually around Easter time. The minister is always willing to meet people individually if that is better for you.
What if I was baptised or confirmed in another denomination?
If you were baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit then your baptism will almost certainly be recognised by the Church of Scotland and you can prepare for confirmation in Wardie. We do not re-baptise people except in very rare and exceptional circumstances. If you were confirmed in another denomination then this will also be recognised as valid and will not be repeated unless there are special reasons for doing so.
As someone baptised and confirmed in another denomination you can be admitted to membership of Wardie (and the Church of Scotland) by a simple decision of the Kirk Session, which is the ruling body in Wardie. To arrange this you should speak to the minister or the church secretary. At a meeting of the Kirk Session it will be agreed to add your name to the Roll of Wardie members and you will then be given full information about your membership.
What if I am already a member of another congregation?
If that is so, then you will have already been baptised and confirmed. Some denominations give members who are leaving a certificate (often called “lines”) and you simply pass the certificate to the minister or Session Clerk of the congregation you want to join. Your name will be added to the Roll of Wardie and you will be given full membership information. If you do not have a certificate or have lost it then speak to the minister and he will make arrangements to resolve the situation for you.
What happens if I move away or decide to join another congregation?
In that event you should ask the minister or session clerk (or church secretary) for a certificate to pass to your new congregation. Your name will then be removed from the Wardie Roll. Many people start out in another denomination before joining Wardie and then return to their original denomination later, for example Anglicans who come to Scotland and then return. This poses no problems at all.