The History of Leith

November 16, 2011

FENCING THE TABLES.

It was the privilege of the Ministers and the Kirk Session to decide in every case who should be received at the communion table and who should be excluded, but in this duty they were subject to the directions of the superior courts of the church. This right still remains and is referred to in the fencing of the tables which is pronounced by the Minister before the distribution of the elements. In the 17th century the fencing of the tables was regarded as one of the chief parts of the communion service, and unworthy persons were debarred not by general phrases merely, but the different sins which disqualified them were elaborately detailed. At one time the General Assembly enacted that all persons must subscribe the Covenant before their first admission to the communion. In point of historical principle the three things required by the Church of Scotland of those that seek access to communion privileges are first, that they have a good measure of knowledge and profess to believe the truth : second, that in their life and conversation they are without scandal; and third, that tney are submissive to the discipline of the church.
In the 17th century the ” fencing ” had become a ceremonial act, but it appears that at an earlier period of church history actual fences were constructed setting apart in each church an area within which the communion was dispersed. In the ” Life and Work Magazine ” for December 1924 there is an article dealing with this subject, and a picture showing the interior of a church with a wooden fence.

source-South leith Records

Some Text