Informal notes on the meeting on Mission Development Planning for the Mid Argyll Parishes: 17.9.19

David Caruthers opened the meeting with prayer.

David Caruthers and Hilda Smith both stressed that we should be looking at the next 10 to 20 years, beyond their likely current tenure as ministers.

It was noted that other areas, such as Dunoon and Campbeltown were also going through a similar review of their structures and developing their plans for the future which involved the churches in their areas coming together through linkages and unions, with a reduced number of ministers.

A suggestion was made that, as Presbytery was considering appointing a “Chaplain to Farmers” this may be a post which could be incorporated into Mid Argyll.

The use of technology to bring sermons and other worship materials into churches was suggested to reduce the load on individuals leading worship over a number of church buildings.

It was suggested that we should as a group identify the tasks which the “new church” wanted to achieve, and then consider the resources required to achieve this, and then look at the type of personnel and structures to best carry this through.

The point was made that, while looking to focus on mission to develop the church, it would also be incumbent on the church to look after and nurture the existing members, particularly where it was apparent that membership was dying out.  

It was noted that a ministers are required to carry out Weddings and baptisms, and to some extent funerals, although the Church of Scotland is providing training for readers to carry out funerals.

A proposal was made to divide mid Argyll into two “areas”.   Ardrishaig joined with North and South Knapdale, and Lochgilphead joined with Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford.    This would avoid displacing the current ministers but would increase their responsibilities, membership and populations.   One further Mission Development person could be employed to encourage mission across the two areas.

Another suggestion was made that the area could come under one minister giving leadership to a team of two Mission Development people working across the whole area and also working with, training and encouraging members to do mission activities.

In both the above scenarios local worship could continue to take place with input from Local Worship Leaders, Readers, and other lay members.

With either of the above scenarios  funding for a third post would have to be applied for, although the Church of Scotland is planning to disburse funding to Presbyteries for such posts through the saving accruing centrally under the reduction of staff in the Radical Action Plan. 

It was agreed that this was a starting point for discussions and that for future meetings, two people from each parish, plus the two ministers, attend to represent the views of the members.

The next meeting was set for the 1st October 2019, at Lochgilphead Parish Hall.

Norma Kelly and Kim Ritchie have agreed to attend from North Knapdale.

Kirk session 19 September 2019

Agenda

  1. Opening Prayer and Worship
  2. Sederunt
  3. Apologies
  4. Minutes of meetings of the 19th August 2019
  5. Matters arising from the above minutes:
    1. Audio visual equipment.
    2. Extension
    3. Heartedge Conference
    4. Life explored
  6. Worship and Mission:
    1. Elders and Elder’s districts
    2. Messy Church
    3. Alpha/ Alpha next
    4. Second Sunday Supper/Cafe Church
    5. Mission Development Plan.
  7. Reports:
    1. Interim Moderator
    2. Presbytery
    3. Stewardship  
    4. Safeguarding 
    5. Notifiable events 
    6. Treasurer and Finance Committee
    7. Health and Safety
    8. Fabric  
  8. Correspondence:
  9. Date of next meeting
  10. Close with prayer.

Draft Minutes of Kirk Session 19 August 2019

  1. Appointment of Chair. In the absence of the Interim Moderator due to travel delays, Mrs Catherine Paterson was unanimously appointed to chair the meeting.
  2. Opening Prayer and Worship. Mrs Paterson opened the meeting in prayer
  3. Sederunt:   present were Mrs Catherine Paterson, temporary chair; Mr David Logue, Session Clerk; Mrs Libby MacDonald; Mr Russell Anderson, Property Convenor; Mrs Norma Kelly, Presbytery Elder; Ms Ealasaid Mackay; Mrs Louise Logue, Treasurer.
  4. Minutes of meetings of the 10th July 2019.    The minutes of the meeting of the 10th July 2019 which had previously been circulated were approved.   Proposed by Mrs Kelly and seconded by Mrs MacDonald
  5. Matters arising from the above minutes:
    1. Audio visual equipment:   Mrs Logue reported that Mr Chris Tabraham had undertaken research into suitable equipment, both projectors and screens and LED screens.   It was agreed that one or more LED screens or similar would be most suitable.    Following discussion it was agreed that Mrs Logue should discuss this further with Mr Tabraham with a view to installing one screen on a trial basis either immediately behind the Communion Table or to the right hand side (facing) of the gable end windows. 
    2. Extension:   Having now received advice from the Planning Department on the initial proposal for an extension it was agreed that Mr Anderson and Mr Logue should discuss this further and approach an Architect to draw up proposals.  In the light of the limitations expressed by the Planning Department on the size of the proposed extension, it was also agreed that the discussions with the Architect should include revising the interior layout and functionality of the existing building.    Mr Logue would also seek advice from the Presbytery adviser on property.
    3. Heartedge Conference:   Three members of the congregation have expressed interest in attending this conference in Edinburgh.   It was agreed that conference fees and expenses incurred for two nights accommodation and travel be paid from the training budget.Those attending the conference to be asked to present a report on the conference to Session and the congregation on their return. Mrs Paterson passed the chair to Mrs Alison Hay, Interim Moderator, who had now arrived 
  6. Worship and Mission:
    1. Elders and Elder’s districts:   Mr Logue had sought advice from the Interim Moderator on the possibility of our appointing more elders to the Kirk Session during this period of vacancy.    The reply from Rev David Mitchell, convenor of the Presbytery Planning Committee is that the normal process applies.   It was agreed that current elders would send the names of members they would propose to be new elders to Mr Logue in the next two weeks.   Also, it would be intimated at Sunday Services that we are seeking to appoint new elders and that anyone interested and feels called to this ministry should approach one of the current elders to discuss this further. It was also agreed that a suitable course of introduction on eldership and the Christian faith should be arranged for potential elders to undertake prior to ordination. Ordination would be undertaken by an ordained Minister.  Consideration of changes to the Elders’ Districts would take place after new elders have been ordained.
    2. Messy Church:    Mrs Courtney Smith has sent an e-mail to all the Messy Church team and some guests asking that they consider delaying the start of the Messy church season until the beginning of 2020.   This is in view of her current time commitment to her new baby for the immediate future, and the decision by Mrs Logue to stand down from a leadership role in Messy Church.    Messy church helpers are asked to consider if they are called to take on a leadership role in Messy church. 
    3. Alpha/ Alpha next:    Alpha Next will recommence in September 2019.   It is planned to encourage more people to attend.   There are no plans currently to run a new Alpha course.
    4. “Life Explored” report:   Mrs Kelly has looked in detail at this resource and reports that it would be very worthwhile to purchase this with a view to using this as a group activity for those wishing to learn about the Christian faith.   She suggested that elders could look at samples of the videos on You tube.   It was agreed that Mrs Kelly should purchase the resource with 20 hand books and 6 leaders’ books, one for each elder and the interim Moderator.
    5. Second Sunday Supper/Cafe Church:     Mr Logue reported that the next Second Sunday Supper will be held on the 8th September at Achnamara hall.  The next Cafe Church will be at Achnamara Hall on the 29th September and will be led by the Local Worship team.     Mrs MacDonald asked that the service should include material suitable for children and this was agreed.
    6. Service calendar – inc. Rev. Chris Whiteley:    Mr Logue circulated the list of those leading worship on Sundays up until the end of December.    It was noted that the joint service with Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford will be at 11.00am on the 13th October.   The Rev Chris Whiteley is visiting for the period around the 8th September and as well as leading Sunday worship has offered to lead a Bible Study or similar group meeting.     He will also be invited to attend the second Sunday Supper on the 8th September.    Mrs Kelly will contact him to discuss the dates of his visit and possible meetings during his visit.   Mr Logue suggested that he could attend the Alpha Next meeting on the 10th September or hold a bible study or similar event on another evening.   These meeting would be open to all who wished to attend.    Mrs Kelly will send Mr Logue Mr Whiteley’s e-mail address to agree a suitable programme.
    7. Mission Development Plan.    Mr Logue has been in brief discussions with the Session Clerks of Kilmartin and of Ardrishaig Parishes, but no date has been set for any joint meeting across the five parishes.
    8. “Radical Action Plan” proposed Season of Prayer:   It was agreed that this should be a regular part of Sunday worship.   Mrs Paterson will co-ordinate this and will contact the Ministries Committees of the Church of Scotland to ask for resources and information on this initiative. Mrs Kelly reported that the Radical Action Plan is being taken forward by Argyll Presbytery.
  7. Reports:
    1. Interim Moderator  – no report
    2. Presbytery: Mrs Kelly is on the Mission and Development Committee which is actively involved in the implementation of the “Radical Action Plan” for Argyll Presbytery.   This will be a major item on the agenda for the presbytery meeting in September.
    3. Stewardship:   Mrs Kelly reported that she had attended the Church of Scotland Road Show on Stewardship in Oban and that this had presented a revised plan for stewardship centred around “Mission”.    She has asked for a copy of the presentation and when this is received it was agreed that the Session and the congregation be invited to view and discuss this. 
    4. Safeguarding: no report 
    5. Notifiable events: nothing to report 
    6. Treasurer and Finance Committee: no report
    7. Health and Safety:  The property convenor confirmed he has received the Health and Safety Toolkit and will complete it for our buildings.
    8. Fabric:     Nothing to report.    One member has reported possible woodworm in a pew at Bellanoch.   It was noted that there was an indication of damp above the gable window in Tayvallich.   
  8. Correspondence:   correspondence had been received from:

8.1 World Mission Council inviting the congregation to be linked to Rev. Dr Ken Ross as Mission Partner.    Following discussion it was agreed that we would not take invitation.

8.2 Church and Society Council with sources of information for the support of EU nationals with difficulties due to the process of the UK leaving the EU.   It was agreed that this would be referred to in intimations and displayed on the notice board.

8.3 Mission and Discipleship Council with copy of a new resource “Conversations in Discipleship” for use with Sessions, group discussions or home groups.    This was agreed to be a useful resource and the Session Clerk was asked to get copies for all the elders.    This may also be useful for Cafe Church.

8.4    Graham Walker, a member of the Achnamara Hall Committee, to inform Session that there was a “Maintenance Weekend” at the hall on the 31st August and 1st September 2019.    It was therefore agreed that Cafe Connect would not take place on the 31st August.

9. Date of next meeting:      The next meeting will be on the 19th September at 7.30pm in Tayvallich Church.

10. The meeting was closed by all saying “The Grace” together.

Kirk Session Agenda 19 August 2019

  1. Opening Prayer and Worship
  2. Sederunt
  3. Apologies
  4. Minutes of meetings of the 10th July 2019
  5. Matters arising from the above minutes:
    1. Audio visual equipment.
    2. Extension
    3. Heartedge Conference
  6. Worship and Mission:
    1. Elders and Elder’s districts
    2. Messy Church
    3. Alpha/ Alpha next
    4. “Life Explored” report
    5. Second Sunday Supper/Cafe Church
    6. Service calendar – inc. Rev. Chris Whiteley 
    7. Mission Development Plan.
    8. “Radical Action Plan” proposed Season of Prayer
  7. Reports:
    1. Interim Moderator  – 
    2. Presbytery
    3. Stewardship  
    4. Safeguarding 
    5. Notifiable events 
    6. Treasurer and Finance Committee
    7. Health and Safety
    8. Fabric  
  8. Correspondence:
  9. Date of next meeting
  10. Close with prayer.

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

Kirk session minutes 10 July 2019

  1. The meeting was opened by the Interim Moderator with prayer.
  2. Sederunt:   Mrs Alison Hay, Interim Moderator; Mr David Logue, Session Clerk and Safeguarding co-ordinator ; Mrs Libby MacDonald; Mrs Norma Kelly, Presbytery Elder and Stewardship Co-ordinator,  Mrs Catherine Paterson, Stewardship Co-ordinator; Mrs Louise Logue, Treasurer.
  3. Apologies were received from Mr Russell Anderson, Property Convenor and Health and Safety Co-ordinator.
  4. Minutes of meetings of the 29th May 2019.                                                   The minutes of the meeting of the 29th May had been previously circulated.   They were approved. Proposed by Mrs Norma Kelly and seconded by Mrs Catherine Paterson.
  5. Matters arising from the above minutes:
    1. Audio visual equipment.     It was agreed that the installation of Audio visual equipment be progressed without delay.
    2. Extension.   There was no further information from the Planning Department concerning the Preplanning application which had been submitted.
  6. Worship and Mission:
    1. Messy Church: The session is now complete and will plan to recommence in the Autumn term.   The final meeting was a picnic at Kilmartin Green.    Mrs Logue who is the main organiser of Messy Church intimated she will stand down as organiser now.
    2. Alpha/ Alpha Next:   No current plans to commence a new Alpha Group.    Alpha Next continues to meet weekly with a short break in July and August.   Mrs Kelly has looked into the training resource “Life Explored” as a possible initiative to start.  Mr Logue was asked to review this on line and if suitable purchase this material for future use.
    3. Second Sunday Supper:   two suppers had been run with the organisation and catering carried out by the Alpha Next group.   The evening had been well received.   The third event will be on the 14th July with some members of the community assisting with catering.  16 to 18 people are attending from both church and local community. 
    4. Cafe Church: 24 people had attended this first “Cafe Church” at Achnamara Hall on the fifth Sunday of the month.    Mr Logue pointed out that this was an experimental format and should not be taken as the only way to do “Cafe Church”.   Some people with hearing difficulties had found the discussion difficult due to the sound from other tables.    It was noted that the discussion was limited in some groups due to the level of biblical knowledge, although this may also be an encouragement for some to read the bible more.It was suggested that a “facilitator” with an understanding of the passage under discussion should be allocated to each table group to help discussion.  One child was present and it was suggested that more focus could be on communication with children. The “Songs of Praise” element of singing people’s chosen hymns was popular.It was also noted that a number of visitors from outwith the parish attended and that some from the local community who did not attend Sunday worship services also came and enjoyed the event. It was agreed that the next “Cafe Church” in September will be led by the Local Worship Leaders.     
    5. Service calendar:   the current list of those who are leading Sunday worship was circulated for information.    It was agreed that North Knapdale would join with Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford Parish for a service on the 13th October in Kilmartin Church to celebrate one year in their new building. Chris Whiteley, a minister in the Baptist church has offered to lead worship on the 8th September 2019 at Bellanoch.   Mrs Kelly will also ask him to lead other meetings, for example, for bible study or prayer  while he is here.    
    6. Mission Development Plan. Four meetings with the congregation have now taken place with a variety of views, suggestions and ideas.  The Session Clerk has written these up and circulated them at Sunday worship and on the website. A summary sheet setting out the main conclusions so far has also been collated and circulated.    A further meeting of North Knapdale congregation will take place on the 21st July after worship, and the session clerk is asked to approach the other Mid Argyll congregations to set a date for a joint meeting. 
    7. Coffee Morning It was noted that the organisation of the Coffee morning is progressing with Dr Chrystine Livingston taking the lead.   Mrs Logue circulated a leaflet showing church activities throughout the year and this was approved as a handout at the Coffee Morning .  
  7. Reports:
    1. Interim Moderator  – no news to report
    2. Presbytery – Mrs Kelly gave a brief report on the discussions at the last meeting of Presbytery and provided a list of the main points provided by the Presbytery Clerk for information for Sessions.  These are provided as Addendum 1 to this minute.
    3. Stewardship:   Mrs Kelly gave an updated total for the Christian Aid collection of £670.00
    4. Safeguarding:  nothing to report 
    5. Notifiable events :  nothing to report
    6. Treasurer and Finance Committee.   Mrs Logue provided a six monthly report on the finances of the church.   The figures are provided in Addendum 2 of this minute
    7. Health and Safety:    The Health and Safety Tool kit has been received and will be passed to the Property Convenor.
    8. Fabric:   no report. 
  8. Correspondence:
    1. An e-mail has been received from the Charity “CHAS” (Children’s Hospices across Scotland) informing of a Fund Raising race night event on the 3rd August in Lochgilphead.   It was agreed to include this in the Sunday Morning intimations.
    2. Notification has been received from the Church of Scotland HR department with information on the recruitment of a Chief Officer to take forward the Radical Action Plan.
    3. Invitation has been received for recommendations for the next Moderator of the General Assembly to be submitted by the 8th August.
    4. The programme co-ordinator for Eco-congregation Scotland has offered to hold an event in Mid Argyll in October.   It was agreed that the session clerk should progress this in collaboration with the other congregations in the area.
    5. Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford parish are holding a celebration service on the 13th October to mark the anniversary of their move into the premises in Kilmartin.     It was agreed we would accept their proposal to make this a joint service between the parishes.    There will therefore be no Sunday Worship service in North Knapdale on that date.
    6. The Session Clerk had made enquiry to the Church of Scotland Law department concerning the title to the land on which Bellanoch church and surrounds lies.    Anne Steele of the law department has replied that in her view, the previous feu ownership has now ceased under legislation of 2004, and that there is no longer any right in favour of the Poltalloch Estate.    Copy of the original feu Contract was enclosed for information.
    7. Notification of the Annual “Heartedge” conference has been received.   It was agreed that this looked to be an interesting programme which   It was agreed that this looked to be an interesting programme which may have relevance to our congregation, and the development of the Mid Argyll Mission Development Plan.    It was agreed that the details would be circulated to the Session and individuals would give consideration to attending.   Some of the costs would be able to be reimbursed from the North Knapdale Parish training budget.
  9. Date of next meeting:   The next meeting will be in Tayvallich Church at 7.30pm on the 19th of August 2019
  10. The meeting was closed by the Interim Moderator with all present saying the Grace together.

Addendum 1

  • Note from the Presbytery Clerk on items for the attention of Kirk Sessions from Presbytery:
  • Congregations are asked to consider membership of the Scottish Compassionate Communities Network.
  • Sessions should note proposals in place to offer “on line” training to congregational office bearers.
  • Improved communication between Presbytery and Congregations should be actively sought.
  • Sessions are encouraged to discuss relevant deliverances from Presbytery as circulated by the Presbytery Clerk.
  • Sessions must ensure that vacant properties remain under valid insurance cover and that the required frequency of regular inspections is adhered to, particularly in relation to water supplies and heating.
  • The Radical Action Plan Mission should be put into action at local level.
  • Congregations should consider and report back on issues of loneliness, injustice and poverty.
  • Session should identify and encourage suitable candidates to train in and then undertake Pastoral Care in Parishes.
  • Sessions should be aware of and adhere to timelines for actions identified in the Local Church Review.
  • Safeguarding returns for Presbytery and Edinburgh should be approved at Kirk Session meetings.
  • Those who undertake activities requiring Disclosure Scotland certification must undertake Church of Scotland Safeguarding training.

Addendum 2 Six month Finance report.

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.