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.