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!

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