Rev. John Collard (our Interim Minister)

Dear Friends,

This month will see the year’s anniversary of my coming to Kirkcudbright Parish Church as Interim Minister and seems like a good time to reflect on the year past and think about what lies ahead.

I started with you on 5th June 2017 and my first Sunday was the weekend of the Jazz Festival with the Jazz Service taking place on the Sunday morning. It was certainly an interesting introduction to the activity and energy that Kirkcudbright exudes – particularly over the summer.

Having spent the summer months getting to grips with some of the rhythms and relationships of Kirkcudbright Parish Church we held a Congregational meeting in early October with the Transition Support Group. The TSG is the body appointed in each Interim Ministry to act to provide support and oversight through the Interim Ministry period.

Out of that meeting came a set of broad Aims and Objectives which were published in the November magazine.

Since then, we have, together, set about working towards those Aims and Objectives: acknowledging the hurt, for some, of the recent church journey; seeking to foster reconciliation where that was needed; and working for a more united congregation.

The congregation voted to move to the Unitary Constitution and this has now been put into effect. The issue of the St Cuthbert’s Trust was opened up through a consultation period over the first 3 months of 2018 and culminated in a decision in March to pursue the re-development of the church building through our own resources. We have formed a Buildings Group to start work on this pro-cess. The Kirk Session is continuing to review the situation of Atkinson Place.

The worship services have been well attended, and we have introduced a Family Service format at some of the 9:30am services. The first Messy Church in April was a very positive experience and another is planned for June.

These are good and encouraging signs and we are grateful to God for the grace and forgiveness evident in ongoing relationships.

Interim Ministry is a short period – normally between 18 months and two years and it will come to an end sometime in the next year or so. At the end of the Interim Ministry a request will be made to Presbytery to return the Right of Call to the congregation and, with their approval, the congregation will then be into a normal vacancy situation, with an Interim Moderator and, hopefully, a locum.

This means we are into the second half of the Interim Ministry period. If the first task of Interim Ministry is about ‘steadying the ship’ the second task could be described as ‘setting the direction ahead’. For the next period to be most effective it will require further commitment, dedication, energy and faith from all those associated with the congregation. Once I have moved on, maintaining that ‘direction ahead’ will be the privilege and responsibility of all of you. There are many gifts and much wisdom within the Parish Church and all of that will be needed in the shape of people ready step up and take on the tasks and responsibilities for the benefit of our church, our town and in the end the Kingdom of God.

John Collard

Interim Minister