Category Archives: Mission

Presbytery Mission Committee Community Outreach Report

This report addresses the needs of the community in relationship to concerns of loneliness, poverty and injustice in Argyll and Bute. 

Food Banks:

  • BUTE OASIS FOOD & CHARITY SHOP
  • HOPE KITCHENS – OBAN
  • COWAL AND DUNOON FOOD BANK
  • KINTYRE CAMPELTOWN
  • TRUSSELL TRUST
  • LOCHGILPHEAD HIGH SCHOOL
  • LOCHGILPHEAD CHURCH

MOVING ON MID ARGYLL – MOMA

  • Providing starter pack to homeless people who are moving into permanent accommodation for the first time i.e. all household goods, etc., referrals from housing services or CARRGOMM. Food parcels referrals come from social services. 

CAB

  • Offers referral giving access to food banks. No names mentioned and bags of essential foodstuffs delivered to CAB office for client to pick up.

CAB – Argyll & Bute Citizens Advice Bureau:

Oban Road, Lochgilphead.  www.argyllandbutecab.org.uk

Free impartial, confidential advice on a range of issues:

  • Debt advice and management
  • Financial advice and borrowing 
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Consumer and utilities issues
  • Health and community care
  • Family relationships
  • Bereavement
  • Armed Forces
  • Tax
  • Mortgage
  • Pensions and insurance

CAB functions as a front office that helps people by  ‘removing the red tape’ and alleviating confusion of which service and resources are available to people in need and requiring assistance. 

Helensburgh to Dunoon, Campbeltown to Oban and the Islands.

Local volunteers uniquely placed to respond to local needs and reflect local priorities. Outreach centres in other areas, Campbeltown, and Oban Job Centre. Government funded money advice service – budgeting, debts, etc., and offering to travel to Islands if required.

In addition, the service deals with patients’ advisory service and complaints relating to the NHS. Signposting service for Housing issues for example: ACHA, Fyne Homes, Argyll Homes (formerly council-run).

Argyll & Bute CAB –  ‘ABCAB’:

Kilmory Estate, Lochgilphead.  www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/advice-services

Not to be confused with the previous entry for CAB, this ABCAB is directly funded and operated by the Council and delivers the following services:

  • Debt counselling and welfare rights across the area
  • Focus on resources for vulnerable people and in need of urgent advice.

ABCAB will work closely with the Council sand support the work of the many other advice centres which operate throughout Argyll and Bute. Again, this is a free, confidential and impartial service to support people across this area. 

Mid Argyll MS Centre:

Campbell Street, Lochgilphead.  www.msargyll.com  01546 – 606303

Provides a positive, supportive environment for those affected by multiple sclerosis and many other long term conditions and injuries.  

Wide range of activities through the week: therapies, exercise classes, self-management, workshops, singing and various activity groups, helps combat loneliness and improves quality of life and wellbeing. 

Outreach Worker Claire Cameron offers home visits for anyone with any long term conditions:

  • Coffee and chat 
  • Loneliness
  • PIP forms
  • Blue badge application
  • Giving people back confidence and self-esteem
  • Getting through the ‘red tape’
  • Holds regular group meetings on Islay and Jura Islands:
    • Lunches and workshops 
    • McTaggart Leisure Centre 
    • Gaelic College
    • 1-to-1 home visits 
    • Carries out ‘informative days’ with GPs
    • Access to therapies to carry out home visits

Claire Cameron carries out awareness events across mid Argyll, Kintyre, Islay and Jura.

Dochas Centre:

50 Campbell Street, Lochgilphead.  www.dochasfund.org.uk  01546 -600022 

The Dochas centre is based in a central position in Lochgilphead, it houses an art gallery and a carers’ room which can be used for people to meet and chat. It is a centre for individuals and various groups for example, Dementia support, Parkinson support, GBS and Motor Neurone disease. Mental health support, addictions, life following bereavement. 

The Dochas Centre – delivering opportunities, care, hope and support. 

Carers don’t look after themselves and all too often, their health suffers as a result of their challenging caring roles due to the emotional and mental stress. They can discuss their fears and anxieties, share their problems and find support. 

 Outreach worker base on the Island of Islay, offers carer support:

  • Lunch groups
  • Befriending groups

Carers meet together and talk over their problems and solutions. The service responds to the needs of clients and offers a comprehensive range of help.  The service is flexible to their needs as well as offering an opportunity for people to discuss the strains on relationships and the responsibilities of the caring role.  The carers are dealing with the complex needs and conditions of the long term and terminally ill.  

The Dochas Centre is essentially the ‘voice of the carers’. This service is used by the local High School offering counselling services to the under 16s. 

Lomond and Argyll Advocacy Service:

Various offices situated in Argyll and Bute. www.laas.org.uk   

Mid Argyll: 01546 – 606056

Cowal & Bute: 01369 – 840250

Oban & Lorn: 01546-606056

Kintyre: 01586-553428

LAAS is an independent, free and confidential advocacy organisation operating in West of Scotland.

  • Independent – separate from Social Services and all other organisations
  • Free
  • Confidential

In the course of putting together this report, I had the great privilege in meeting face-to-face with many of the people running these organisations. I was impressed with their professionalism and the quality of their services and their caring nature. 

People within these organisations and services have the right knowledge and the right skills to help people in need. They offer signposting and advocacy services directly. Each organisation is therefore, uniquely positioned to deal directly with individuals and to provide the right information.   Importantly, these services are able to operate self-sufficiently so that clients are not generally moved on to other services.  This means that any signposting is carried out within one organisation.  All organisations are linked up together and have up-to-date knowledge regarding available resources. 

Norma Kelly

9th July 2019, Tayvallich

Mission planning conclusions

Mission Development Planning – Congregational Meeting 21.7.19
This 5th meeting when 15 people attended drew together the themes we had been discussing and suggested some conclusions…

David Logue briefly gave the background to the meeting and went over the summary sheet of discussion to date.
We discussed the three main options set out in the paper and then considered the questions listed on the second page.

Following discussion on the options listed, the general consensus was:
Option 1 – Status quo – three ministers – This is not realistic in view of the shortage of ministers and the financial constraints on the Church of Scotland.
Option 2 – Two full time ministers shared between the five parishes with support from readers/ ordained local ministers. This would increase the work load on the two ordained ministers without gaining any benefit for the parishes.
Option 3 – One minister and one other post – eg a mission development person or a youth worker or an elderly persons worker or two part time posts, with support from readers/ordained local ministers. This would provide for overall leadership and overview by an ordained minister with a team of one other full time “MDS” person – who could concentrate on Community outreach/youth work/ older people work etc., across Mid Argyll (possibly two part time posts). Church members would be encouraged to take on roles, such as Pastoral care, worship leading, assisting youth work, etc. The minister would lead a team of paid and voluntary staff across the whole area.
With this model we may also be able to gain extra finance from C of S for a second “MDS” post or similar.
This option appears to offer the most potential for Mission development for the area.

We then looked at the questions on page 2 of the summary sheet and had wider ranging discussion on these:
What are the pros and cons of having two ministers?
Pro – Shared workload, ordained ministers more available for Sunday worship in each Parish, and for communion services. Some people expect a minister’s visit rather than an elder.
Con – Leaves the bulk of the workload on the two ministers. Will reduce the opportunity for employing Mission Development staff – for specialist or dedicated outreach in the area. Would remove the impetus to have one united Parish of Mid Argyll. (see below)
What are the pros and cons of having one minister and Mission development person etc.?
Pro – One minister would have Mid Argyll Parish of about 400 members and a population of 5,800 which is a manageable number. Employing an MDS to do community outreach would provide a specialist who could concentrate on both reaching out to the community, and working with church members to take on voluntary roles. The number of parish administrative roles would be greatly reduced – e.g. Session Clerk, treasurer, Safeguarding, Presbytery elder, Property convenor etc. This would free up people for other activities. One parish across Mid Argyll would bring together a “critical mass” of Christians to resource church initiatives. We also suggested that we could have one united service for the whole area, once a month, with local services on the other Sundays.
Con – Sunday worship services – Minister would take one each week leaving the others to be led by “lay people” e.g. Local worship leaders, readers, retired ministers etc. Members would not be visited at home by the minister except in special circumstances.

Can we make a case for funds for another full time outreach worker?

We think that if we can adopt this model of a united Mid Argyll parish with one minister then we have good case to get funds for another paid post – at least as a trial as we get established.

Are we willing to continue having congregation members, readers etc taking services regularly?

Yes, this is well supported and helps to grow the faith of members. It was commented that generally during a vacancy church members pull together and the variety of worship leading styles and content is beneficial. It encourages members to get involved and increases faith. It was also recognised that sometimes in long vacancies the members become less enthusiastic as there appears no end to the vacancy.

What buildings do we think we need across Mid Argyll?

One suitable place of worship in each of the five parishes to maintain and develop local community worship, and outreach.
A suitable place of worship should ideally have a flexible layout, kitchen and toilets.
One building in Mid Argyll suitable for united monthly services, and other larger events.

What, if any, building do we need to serve the Crinan, Bellanoch, Cairnbaan areas?

There is no place for this community to meet at the moment. It was agreed that this should be addressed in some way – e,g. A “community Hub” for meetings, groups to get together, and for worship. Bellanoch church is well placed if the facilities can be improved – toilets and kitchen and parking, and this needs to be explored.

It was also suggested that the small rural church buildings – particularly Bellanoch and Achahoish provide places of quiet and contemplation, and embody the tradition of worship in these areas. Some effort should be made to preserve this.

What building, if any, do we need in Tayvallich and Achnamara.

The hall in Achnamara is proving to be a very good centre for the community and for church activities. There are plans in progress to look at adding an extra space to Tayvallich Church to improve the kitchen and to provide a comfortable setting for groups and meetings. The interior of the church could also be revised to be more flexible.

Conclusions
There was clear consensus at the end of the meeting that the preferred way forward is for Option 3 and structured as a single parish of Mid Argyll. We would plan to improve the facilities at Tayvallich church and explore how we can develop Bellanoch church into a community hub.

Mission Planning Summary

Mission Development Planning: Summary

Meetings in North Knapdale have been held on 29 May, 2 and 16 June, and 7 July.

On 7 July we looked at the main themes which had come out of the first three meetings and these are listed below in order of most mentioned.

Theme Description Number of mentions
Community Connection The church being involved in the activities and interests of the community in which they live 21
Mission Communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who have not heard or have rejected the message of Christianity. 17
Prayer and Spirituality Worshipping together, seeking God’s will, telling others of God’s love, sharing belief and faith in God. 12
Christian Teaching Teaching and discussion on Christianity, faith, Bible study 9
Care and Concern Serving others in the church and community who have some area of need. 8

People:

We talked about what staffing would be best in terms of paid staff and volunteers which would be able to serve the five parishes of Mid Argyll.

The main Options are:

1 Status quo – three ministers – this is not a realistic option due to financial restraints from Presbytery and Edinburgh.

2 Two full time ministers shared between five parishes with support from readers/ordained local ministers.

3 One minister and one other post – for example a mission development person or a youth worker or an elderly worker or two part time posts, with support from readers/ordained local ministers

We may be able to bid for extra funding from Edinburgh for another (non-minister) full time post if we have suitable mission plan 

If we want to maintain the current pattern of Sunday worship in each parish this would require readers and local worship leaders and members of the congregation regularly taking part in leading worship, as there will not be a minister available to take services in each parish every Sunday.

Buildings

We talked about the buildings we would need in order to carry out the above themes that we have identified.

There was concern about the possibility of closing Bellanoch Church.  It was agreed that Bellanoch church is strategically placed to serve Bellanoch, Crinan and along the canal.

It is an attractive venue for worship but lacks facilities, level access and parking.

There is no “community space” available in the Crinan, Bellanoch, and Canal side area although the Crinan Coffee shop has been used for some community events, e.g. Community Council meetings.

A suggestion was made to build around Bellanoch church to transform it into a “community hub”, retaining the worship space, and adding meetings room, toilets and kitchen. 

Some plans are currently being developed for extension/alterations to Tayvallich church.  Use is also being made regularly of Achnamara Hall.

It was agreed that we set up a meeting with the other four parishes to discuss all our plans.

The next meeting for North Knapdale is after worship on 21st July in Tayvallich Church.

Some questions to think about for this next meeting are:

What are the pros and cons of having two ministers? 

What are the pros and cons of having one minister and a mission development person/youth worker/other full time person (or two part time)?

Can we make a case for funds for another person – for what role?

Are we willing to continue having congregation members, readers, Local Worship leaders taking services regularly when our minister(s) is not available.

What buildings do we think we need across all Mid Argyll?

What, if any, building do we need to serve the Crinan/Bellanoch/canal side area?

What building, if any, do we need in Tayvallich, and in Achnamara?

All previous notes are on the website or ask for a paper copy.

Mission planning progress

Mission Planning for Mid Argyll:  North Knapdale 3rd meeting

Future of the Church of Scotland

3rd Meeting held in Tayvallich Church on June 16th 2019

The number of attenders at the service held on this day were very few around 15. The number who stayed behind to continue discussions around the future of the C of S and North Knapdale’s views were around 10.

We started in prayer and looked at the thoughts that had been forthcoming from the previous meeting and David’s notes on that were read out. Those who had contributed to the 2nd meeting were glad to hear their comments included.

Catherine Paterson read out the bullet points from the Life and Work with a view to their relevance and impact on NK. Whilst a number of the bullet points were aspirational, there was little sense of direction given the diverse range of local parishes we have within Argyll and Bute.

 Networking and providing a hub for ministry was very much seen as a way forward, but we asked how could the people of Achnamara, Tayvallich, Bellanoch, Crinan and Cairnbaan be served, particularly if Bellanoch were to be closed as seems a strong possibility leaving only 1 building in Tayvallich remaining. 

The thought of the latter disturbed most, if not all at the meeting but it was recognised that having no running water, no toilet and further repairs required in the future would probably not be an option. One person said that we’re told that NK had plenty of money and felt some of that should be earmarked for Bellanoch. That raised murmers of agreement.

We noted the tag line from bullet point 10 “well equipped spaces in the right places” and felt that probably most churches in Mid Argyll would not meet that particular criteria and that most church-goers would be reluctant for their church to be earmarked as redundant but we agreed that point would need to be met in the near future.

The point of further training for ministry and leadership roles drew comments that this was simply a means of dealing with the dearth of Ministers and fewer men and women training to be C of S ministers. 

We did recognise that the Church as a whole, has to have a fresh vision and that encouraging members within the church to be more active in different roles was right.  But there were strong feelings that we all need feeding and teaching from Scriptures and that Ministers were equipped during their training to provide the relevance of God’s word for today and we all need ministry.

Other discussions centred around the need for meeting up with our neighbouring churches to hear their views and start the talks on how the diverse geographic and low-populated parts of our parish could be served.

We discussed the need for the church to reach out to those under 40. Catherine told of a Mosque in Perth who also face this problem and used their hall to provide sports activities run and supported by the members.

Whilst Messy Church reached out to primary school children, they did not keep attending when they reached secondary school age. We need to be where the young people are – but how? We also understand that young people often experience anxiety or mental health problems and there are few resources for them.

Everyone agreed with the final bullet point on a season of prayer and preparation from September to December. Could that be expanded on at the next meeting please?

There was an agreed sense that we need to pray for this situation, seek ways to find a new structure that would be fit for purpose for Mid Argyll and that training those who played active roles within the churches in this area be recognised as crucial. 

We need to guard that new structures don’t become strictures that would discourage more people being involved in church growth or leaving the church to find alternatives places to worship. 

Catherine thanked everyone for attending and contributing to the discussions.

The meeting closed in prayer.

The next meeting is planned for July 7th after worship.

Post meeting email.

Due to the birth of their daughter, Courtney and Nick Smith could not attend this meeting but sent on this email a week later. Having taken the trouble to type this up, feel it’s only fair to include their thoughts.

Nick, Daisy and I are not quite ready for a Sunday service with North Knapdale yet, for a number of reasons… but we wanted to contribute to the discussions and brainstorming ideas that will take place today. Below is a list of ideas we developed- please forgive the rough draft – we were typing one handed and Time for editing is short these days!

1.The arrow head of Christianity in the community is Christmas

Christmas decorations and ‘vibe’ in Lochgilphead could be much improved – a little more pride taken particularly with the tree. 

Perhaps a donation of new street decorations – particularly the tree with a Christian focus – rather than the councils current decorations. Perhaps a beautiful nativity scene. 

Could all of the local churches across denominations unite to present a Christian presence that values and glorifies the communities visual experience of Christmas? Imagine if we  had a magnificent tree – like the ones from the movies that the wider communities watch at Christmas time. 

Further on the ideas surrounding Christmas as the churches most public/active community interaction/presence…

Could we host a carol event on the green in Lochgilphead and reach out to the other churches, schools and secular choirs to join in? if the children are involved through school music programs, then the families will come. could have a little craft market or offer mince pies and mulled wine. not for donations but as a generous Christmas gift to the community. 

local art competition across all schools and denominations for posters and publicity. get the paper involved to print new carol sheets in the weeks before Christmas. 

This could create cross denominational and secular community buzz.

2.

Get men involved, you get the men, you get the women and the children.

Fathers’ day… Glorify the masculine contributions in our society with a summer festival on the new Lochgilphead green.

Spend some of the 200K in the bank on this, accept that we will spend money and make an investment. Better than investing 20k in nothing the community benefits from and then reporting that we’ve made a loss.

Bring people together and sponsor the event proudly as the new public face of the combined congregations who wants to get involved in the community. Have a fete, kids will come, families will come… put on music, farm foods, military, shooting clubs, men’s clubs… 

Further on getting men involved to bring in more families…

tool sharing/men’s shed – buy a shed full of tools most men don’t have – plant tools etc. create a tool library and offer mentoring/help with diy projects or advice. 

could be involved in making the beautiful nativity scene for christmas decorations. very skilled community   – lets use it. 

Get local paper involved. Put posters up.

some other ideas:

3.

Invest in accommodation such as a swift s-pod 6. , air bnb it… get a genuine revenue and have guests come stay in the pod. Don’t over do the church involvement but make it known. Could be used as retreat with sightseeing packages included/suggested. could book guided walks for additional fees, etc.

4.

The church is up against secularism… this church will not thrive in its current state. If we change it to a more modern or Pentecostal style we will lose the current congregation and move further away from the biblical realities of what church is supposed to be. Only traditionalists will join this church in its current state. It provides for the current congregation but not really any deeper. 

Final thoughts:

Keep what we have for current ageing congregation.

Put more focus on outward activities and clubs.

Spend money in local community to make events appealing to non church goers.

Sponsor community team/sports team. Provide most valuable player prize – voucher to square peg or something.

All blue sky ideas… but that’s where we are aiming when we glorify our God!

Mission planning for beginners…

Don’t miss the next vital meeting – 16 June in Tayvallich church after morning worship…

Mission Planning for Mid Argyll: North Knapdale. – First meeting

A meeting of the congregation was held on Wednesday 29th May 2019 at Tayvallich church to discuss the requirement from the Presbytery Planning group for the five parishes of Mid Argyll to develop a joint Mission Development Plan.

The meeting was asked to consider:

How do we plan for the Christian church to be a vital and life changing influence on our society over the next 10 to 20 years?   That is really what we are being asked to   consider for Mid Argyll.

We are asked to produce  a “Mission Development Plan” in collaboration with our neighbouring Parishes of Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford; Ardrishaig and South Knapdale; and Lochgilphead.

This plan must be agreed by all the Parishes and submitted to the Presbytery Planning Group for signing off by September this year.    This plan will include proposals for the ministerial cover for the five Mid Argyll parishes.

What should be in our Plan?

What are the issues in our communities?    How is our church involved in our communities?

How do we present “Following Jesus” as relevant to our neighbours?   How do we introduce Jesus, Son of God, to people who have no idea of the Christian story?   How would you like to see the church working in 20 years time?

Some questions to get us thinking:

What would be lost to our community if we ceased to be here?

Why do we exist as a congregation?

What purposes and values must we hold on to, to maintain our identity?

What are we willing to let go in order to continue as a congregation here?

What resources would help us develop as church in Mid Argyll.

Who will suffer if the church does not continue here?

How can we support them into a changed system.

What structure should we have across Mid Argyll to develop as a combined church.

Following a general discussion the meeting divided into two groups for further discussion based on three questions as discussion starters.  

1 What would the community miss if the church was not here?

2 How should the church serve the community in ways no-one else can?

3 What structure do we need in Mid Argyll to be most effective as a church in relation to the answers to Questions 1 and 2?

It would be impossible to provide considered views on these topics in one meeting only and it was agreed that further meetings with others from the congregation should take place.

At the first meeting a wide range of answers and comments were made and these are summerised as follows – 

People in this area in general appear to be fairly satisfied with material aspects of life, although it is noticeable that issues such as addictions, mental health problems , family break up would indicate that this may not be the real picture.

The church provides a place of stability and is seen by some as the heart of the community, even though they may not attend.

People would miss the Christmas and Easter services if the church was not here.

Messy Church would be missed, and Cafe Connect.

The church building could provide a space for quiet contemplation, for prayer, and for deeper conversations.    

The church building is a scary place for some people who would not come in.

Some in the congregation provide pastoral care and demonstrate God’s love to others.

The church could provide more opportunities for teaching about Christianity, faith, and for open discussion and questioning, during and after services.

If we had “One Parish” of Mid Argyll, this would reduce the number of people involved in being Session clerks, treasurers, presbytery elders, Stewardship and Safeguarding roles, etc., and would therefore free up these people for other activities.

We need to consider how we can “connect” more effectively with the people of Crinan and Cairnbaan.

If we have “One Mid Argyll Parish” then we could have an employed person to do training on outreach, pastoral care, visiting, or youth work, dementia awareness, etc. as well as a minister.

We could have monthly central services led by a minister and on other weeks meet in our local church as we do now – led by lay people.   

Mission Development Planning for Mid- Argyll – North Knapdale:  Second meeting

On the 2nd of June we held a second meeting of the congregation, after the Morning service, to carry on our discussions.

The meeting decided that it would consider the first discussion question –

 What would the community miss if the church was not there – considering the “church” to be the people of the congregation, rather than the building.

There were 16 people attended the meeting and discussions reviewed comments from the first meeting as noted above and also moved on to new aspects. 

Comments and ideas covered the following:

It is vital that we pray about this process, seek God’s will and follow that through.

We have a duty to both follow God and to serve the community by being out and about taking part in what is going on.

When visiting with Christian Aid envelopes many people wanted to talk about the church.

There is an increase in people asking for “Humanist” services for funerals and weddings.   

Should we do more to encourage church weddings?

Visiting is an important role for the congregation, and helps to build up the community.

The community would miss Easter and Christmas services and also weddings and funerals.

Messy church would be missed by those who attend.

The church provides prayer and pastoral care – although this may not be seen by the community.

We should aim to have a Youth Worker for Mid Argyll.

The parish has a healthy bank balance, we could use this to fund extra workers, e.g. for youth work.  Also there are many grants available, such as “Going for growth” fund where we could apply for extra funding for projects.

The presbytery is considering having a Chaplain for Farmers, perhaps this post could be based in Mid Argyll? 

What should we be doing to serve and connect with the communities of Crinan and Cairnbaan?

Services at Bellanoch are well attended.  Is that because of the central position?

How can we influence the schools to include Christian teaching in their curriculum, or to have visits by Ministers, elders or SU groups?

We should join in and support the Youth Environment Project which young people in the area have started. (– e.g.first meeting is in Tayvallich on the 2nd June.)

The next meeting will be after the morning service at Tayvallich next Sunday – the 15th June. Please stay after the service and bring your vital contribution to this important discussion. Thank you.