James Meek - Moderator


He became Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 21 May 1795, where he tended to favour the Moderates over the Evangelicals. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland met in Edinburgh on 21 May 1795. One of its first tasks was to elect a moderator, or chairman. There was only one candidate, Meek, and he was elected unanimously. The Assembly met for nine sessions, ending on Monday 1 June 1795, with a sermon and prayer by Meek. The minutes of these sessions take up 100 pages of closely written manuscript. (GUL Reference GB 0247 MS Gen 1159). The Assembly humbly received King George III’s Commission, which was in Latin, and replied to it loyally and fulsomely. It also received the king’s news that his son, Prince George (later, the Prince Regent) was to be married to Princess Caroline of Brunswick. They decided not only to debate this and congratulate the King, but also to send extensive congratulations to the Prince. Most business related to receiving reports from, or setting up committees. One item much debated was the "Religious Education of Youth". It also examined in detail the “probationers” - or trainee ministers - in place throughout the country.
As a court of the church, it dealt with disputes between parishes and ministers - the Orkney Grievances was a major issue that year - and various other matters of public morality. One issue, which a previous General Assembly had referred to the Crown Lawyers related to whether the Barbers and Hairdressers of Edinburgh had profaned the Sabbath. Apparently, not technically, or at least, legally, but the Presbytery of Edinburgh was urged to use all persuasive means at its disposal to encourage respect for the Sabbath.

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