ELDERS CONFERENCE AT TULLIALLAN - JUNE 2019

Having attended the very encouraging and uplifting Church of Scotland Elders Conference at Tulliallan in 2018, Addie and I decided we would re-book for this year’s conference in June.

The title of the 2019 conference was “Creating and Deepening Discipleship”.

The emphasis this year was on group discussions. Over the subsequent two and a half days, we participated in some Interesting groups considering how Eldership might look in the future, as well as what the actual job of the Elder might involve as we move forward.

We also discussed the “Characteristics of Discipleship” under the following headings:

1. Faith as a journey of Discipleship.

2. Understanding who we are.

3. Whole-life worship.

4. Prayer.

5. Being a servant.

6. Disciplining one another.

Each of these subjects had a workshop to accompany it. Time was also spent reflecting on the impact which the recent General Assembly “Radical Action Plan” might be likely to have on our Churches, our Kirk Sessions, and ultimately on our Congregations. We recommend that as many of you as possible check out this report, which is available to view on the Church of Scotland website: ”www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about_us/radical_action_plan”

Some of the decisions agreed by the Assembly are as follows:

• Up to £25m to be spent on projects aimed at church growth, with particular emphasis on church planting

• 100 new worshipping communities to be established

• Focus on engaging with people under 40

• Cost of central administration to be cut by up to 30%: four councils to be merged into two

• Number of Scottish presbyteries to be reduced from 43 to about 12, focused on supporting local congregations in their ministry and mission

• Networks, hubs and other new local church structures to be developed

• Kirk Sessions to be reduced in size and focused on ‘leadership and strategic decision-making’

• Decision-making and resources to be devolved from the central administration to regional and local levels

• No congregation to pay more to the centre after next year until new arrangements are agreed

• Land and buildings plan to focus on ‘well equipped spaces in the right places’. Money from sale of redundant buildings to be shared between congregations

• Improved training and support for all ministry and leadership roles

• General Assembly to be made smaller

• Encouragement of a season of ‘prayer and preparation’ across the Church from September to December 2019.

The next few years are going to be both challenging and exciting for all of us!

Irene Robertson and Addie Clarkson
 

CHRISTIAN AID

Many thanks to all those who helped with the Christian Aid week fundraising. Details of totals to follow as events and counting are ongoing as we go to press.

We have a further delight for you. Sue McMinn and Ann Morgan are hosting a morning coffee on Monday 10th June at 1 Baytree Gardens from 10.30am to 12.30pm. There will be tea/coffee, baking and a warm welcome. They will be pleased to receive donations to Christian Aid.

Linda Kinnell
 

THE SEARCH HAS BEGUN!

As many of you will be aware, Rev. John Collard, our current Interim minister and acting Session moderator, will be relinquishing these positions at a final service of Holy Communion to be held on Sunday, 2nd June at 10.00am. Following the Communion Service held on Sunday, 5th May, our congregation met to elect a Nomination (vacancy) Committee for the purpose of seeking a new permanent minister for Kirkcudbright Parish Church. The names of the thirteen people (from 26 proposed names) elected to the Nomination Committee are: Elizabeth Bennett; Howard Brown (convener); Neil Cavers (secretary); Thelma Hart; David Henry; Kathreen Hope-Dunbar; Mark Hutton; Susan Hutton; John Locke; Sue McMinn; Katy Perez; Irene Robertson; Andy Wade.

The challenge of filling the vacancy will be significant, as there are over two hundred and twenty vacant Parishes scattered throughout Scotland, and currently, the rate of retirement amongst Church of Scotland ministers greatly exceeds the supply of new ministers who are coming through the training system.

Nevertheless, we are in the fortunate position of being a “stand-alone” Parish Church in an attractive town, unburdened by linkages with various additional parishes. We have been granted by Presbytery the privilege of being allowed to call a new minister to our church, not least because we are in a small minority of churches in our Presbytery who remain financially self-supporting (so please continue your generous support as we seek to go forwards!), Finally, we remain an “alive” congregation, open to challenge and change, as evidenced by our two varied types of service available to all each Sunday morning, as well as our four Home Study Groups,+ numerous additional areas of activity both within the congregation as well as in the community. Our Nomination Committee will have met three times by the time you read this article, and plans are being formulated to progress the advertising and filling of our vacancy. Please keep this matter, as well as your Nomination Committee members in your prayers at this time as they seek God’s guidance in finding a minister for Kirkcudbright Parish Church. Humanly speaking, the challenge may be great, but remember: “—- with God, all things are possible!” (Matt.19v26).

Howard Brown
Nomination Committee convener
 

CHOIR NEWS

The church choir continues to work hard on Thursdays and following their excellent performance of two carols at the Christmas service sang a thrilling account of a new arrangement of “Ride on, ride on in majesty” on Palm Sunday. The work described being part of the crowd as Jesus approached from the distance, passed by in front of us, and moved on into Jerusalem.

On Easter Sunday the choir sang a jubilant “My Lord, what a morning!” another of Geoff’s arrangements of an old Negro Spiritual.

Further performances include June 9th at Greyfriars when the choir will again sing “My Lord, what a morning!” and also John Rutter’s popular and catchy arrangement of “All things bright and beautiful”.

Geoff Davidson has just been appointed conductor of Kirkcudbright Choral Society, succeeding Michael Appleford, and is looking forward to many years of directing enterprising and top-class music-making with this excellent choir.

The same applies to the church choir and anyone wishing to join will be made very welcome. They are a happy, enthusiastic bunch!

Geoff Davidson
Organist & Choir Master
 

ARE YOU BEING FED?? PART 4

Over the past three months, we have been taking the opportunity to introduce to you, one at a time, our Church’s Home Study Groups, with the hope that you might feel drawn to make contact with one of them in order to enjoy both the studies offered, and the fellowship which accompanies these studies. Each one has uniquely evolved and developed its own particular character and way of operating, and all will make you most welcome.

This month, we meet the fourth and last of our “Home Study Groups”, although in this case, it is called “The Sunday Evening Gathering”, as it does not meet in a home, it meets in the Upper Room of the Church Hall on Sunday Evenings at 7pm.