Thank you to everyone who contributed to the recent church consultation. Over 50 people responded, which was very helpful. Overall, there was strong support for the proposals, but some expressed significant reservations. A good number of suggestions were made.
Pastor in Training
We are proceeding with this role, and it is currently being advertised. The Pastor in Training will be employed by the church for two days a week over a four year period starting in August, and will also pursue theological studies. It is likely that he will receive substantial grant funding for that as well as raising funds himself. He will have overall responsibility for one area of church life, which is expected to be youth work, but will serve and gain experience in many areas, including doing some preaching.
We also plan to proceed with this role. Based on pledges received so far it is likely to be for two days a week, but with scope to increase it if funds allow. There will be a focus on enabling others in pastoral care and serving, not just on the staff member doing things herself. This role is currently less well-defined than the Pastor in Training, and the elders are inviting a focus group of women of all ages to help define it more precisely. The intention is that we move towards making this appointment later in 2021.
Support for Families
In the consultation, the elders suggested a possible role combining work with women and families. A good number of members felt this would not be appropriate, and that it was unclear how the role would overlap with the Youth Pastor. However, with an increasing number of families in the church it is important that we support them well. The elders plan to review then needs of families, including projecting forward how church demographics may change, and whether the Youth Pastor role should be adapted to meet the needs. Graeme Shanks and Peter Ervine will initiate this review, consulting with church families.
Possible building changes
There was widespread support for replacing the church pews with flexible seating, and significant funding pledged, though a few people expressed strong reservations about this. It is not something we will do in the short term, but a working group led by David Wright will consider options and feasibility. This may involve spending some money to get input from building professionals, but any changes will be at least two years away, and will be subject to further consultation and funds being available. The group will also consider other building changes suggested in the consultation.
A wide range of other comments and suggestions were made during the consultation. All are being considered by the elders, and a number are being taken forward now:
- A small group will consider how we can resume the Breaking of Bread service.
- The elders will look further at how well older people are supported, and opportunities for greater inter-generational contact.
- We will look at setting up a fund to support those in financial need.
- There will be an ongoing focus on evangelism, supported by Life Explored courses run twice a year.
If you have any questions on any aspect of the proposals, please contact any of the elders – Graeme Shanks, Alistair Chalmers, Peter Ervine, Alastair Mackintosh, Fraser McLaren, Ian Naismith or Luca Sueri.