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 willing to become a member. 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.
Baptism is normally administered at Sunday worship in front of the congregation. This emphasises the nature of the sacrament as incorporation into the body of Christ and the life of the Church. There is a little more flexibility in the case of genuine emergencies, normally in a hospital situation.
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 clerk should be able to advise.
In certain circumstances the Church of Scotland permits the re-marriage of divorced people in church. Our guide to marriage includes some frequently asked questions about getting married in the Church of Scotland.
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.