Structure of the Services

Whereas today the Communion Service takes place over a single Sunday, in the past it involved four days of services, not always on consecutive days. The first day was the day of Fasting and Humiliation when at least one, often two, sermons would be preached on the themes of sin, contrition and repentance, and prospective communicants abstained from work and pleasure to concentrate on their spiritual condition by Bible reading and private prayer. Often this day fell on a Friday but there is evidence in the local kirk session records that it frequently took place on a Tuesday or a Wednesday: The second day, usually the Saturday, the day before the communion itself, was devoted to preparation for Communion, again with sermons, Bible readings and prayer. The Communion took place on the Sunday and was followed on Monday by a day of Thanksgiving. The kirk session records of Denny give a clear outline of the structure:

“21 June: a Synodical and Congregational fast day before the Sacrament. The Revd masters John Heugh and Josiah Hunter preached. Collected £8.0.0

24 June: being the preparation day before the Sacrament the Revd masters William Moncrieff, John Cleland and James Mitchel preached.

25 June: the minister preached the action sermon from Psalms XL & 7 verse.

26 June: the Thanksgiving day the Revd masters Andrew Clarson and Adam Gib preached. Collected on the foresaid days by the Elders and Deacons £100.0.0”

Allan Ronald, 2021

See Site of Services (Tents & Tables) to continue reading about the administration of Communion