Elsewhere in UPDATE you will find the deliverance that was approved by Presbytery at its meeting on 31st March, following the report of the visitation to the congregation by members of the Presbytery Superintendence Group which took place at the end of last year. I would encourage you to have a look at these, and also to pick up a copy of the full report which is available on the Vestibule table. Reference is made to what was agreed at the last visit in 2007, and I thought that it might be helpful just to highlight some of these.
One of the aspects mentioned in the 2006 report related to Adult education and “encouraged the Kirk Session to identify and initiate forms of adult education”. This too was a theme of the 2008 visit which noted that little progress had been made on this front. A couple of years ago, some Bible Study Booklets were produced by one of the Mission Societies which sponsor James Pender. These focussed on the Beatitudes with a Bangladesh theme and were made available, in the hope that some of those who had previously expressed an interest in a discussion group might get together, and although most of the books were taken, no formal group was established.
There are plenty of other resources available for such groups – if anyone would like to start a group in their home, please let your elder know, or have a word with me.
We were also encouraged to “undertake an assessment of the needs of the parish and implement a strategy either alone or with partners to engage in mission to new residents”. As I noted in my address to those who were present at the Stated Annual Meeting, this was something we had thought might be a joint exercise. That is not now going to happen, and so the Kirk Session is taking a serious look at mission in the whole parish and not just to new residents. Watch this space!
Mention was also made of “discussions with Carnoustie and Barry regarding the potential for deployment of additional ministry within a parish grouping.” These discussions were something that we initiated, and there have been joint “conferences” of the three Kirk Sessions. The latest report noted that “early discussions have been marked by different expectations from the different congregations, and have provided a learning experience for all involved. The minister and office bearers of Carnoustie Panbride are aware that these are early days and that patience is needed, especially if ecumenical co-operation in the town is to be valued and maintained”.
We are looking forward later this year to have a joint Kirk Session conference with Malcolm Rooney and David Taverner where they will share with us their own views on parish groupings – both of which are different! This will take place once Malcolm has recovered from his Achilles tendon problem.
The Congregational Board were asked to look at the Manse, and I (and Frances) would like to record our thanks for the work that has been done over the years, but particularly in the last two years, to make the Manse more comfortable – the two upgraded bathrooms are a major asset, as is the redecoration in the hallway and down stairs rooms which has made a big difference. Thank you.
We were also encouraged and complimented on our links with Bangladesh and you will realise from what has been said elsewhere in the newsletter that this is going to take a significant step forward in May when we share ministry with Martin and Liza Mondol.
When I first came to the Presbytery in 1989, these reports always used to end with the sentence – “This congregation is in a satisfactory state”. These words are not used now, but there is much to be grateful for in what we do as a congregation – but as some of my school reports used to say “there is room for improvement”.
In what is going to be a busy year, please remember in your prayers all those who will be involved in the planning and do what you can to help the plans for the “development of worship and mission in the parish”.