News

St Ninian’s Troon Reach Out

As part of the Diocesan Going for Growth strategy, St Ninian’s Troon decided that the first strand of the Mission Action Programme to be concentrated on would be Imaginative Outreach into the Community.

From that seed has grown a Community Arts Project, launched in St Ninian’s Church Hall on 21st March 2015. It may yet be a rival to the Great Tapestry of Scotland which is being displayed in Ayr Town Hall until the end of May.

Troon artist Tizzy Cottingham produced an exciting design for our very own wall hanging showing St Ninian’s church at the centre of the town’s life and celebrating the diversity, the environment, and the organisations that make up the vibrant community which is the town we live in today. She is continuing to develop the design and the details within it as it progresses.

Our aim is to have as many organisations and individuals as possible not just represented on the final wall hanging, but taking part in the production of this fun project. Work is well underway and we have had great interest in it from the organisations which use the hall as well as individuals with wonderful sewing and design skills from Troon and further afield.  Some people have donated spare material and threads, and others have come along to learn new skills, have a coffee and enjoy the company on Saturday mornings.

At each session there have been about 14 or 15 crafters bringing the design to life, others have come along to try their hand at making a robin or swan from scraps of material, or to help unpack and sort material. Although some participants have remarkable skills and artistic ability this is not a prerequisite for joining the group as anyone can come along and contribute. There are more than 40 group members in total.  All this has been led by Tizzy and supported by a small, dedicated group from the congregation who make it all possible, setting up the hall, making the coffee and encouraging the crafters.

One Saturday morning Dr David Sutherland took everyone for a guided tour of our outstanding Arts and Craft Church pointing out many of its unusual architectural features, providing inspiration for details to be included on the wall hanging, such as some church mice echoing the many carved “Thompson“ mice to be found in St Ninian’s Church. He is also assisting with the script element of the wallhanging.

Everyone is welcome to come along to see the work progressing, or to join in. Details of further dates of the working sessions and the progress of the work are on the ‘wall hanging’ section of the St Ninian’s Church website www.stninianstroon.org.uk. Alternatively to answer any questions or to volunteer to help in any way, by donating thread or materials, or by adding your name to the database of interested people, the wall hanging email address is troonwallhanging@gmail.com

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Mary, MAP-ping and merry-making

Matronal 1a 2014In her very last task as MDO in the diocese, Anne Tomlinson preached today at St Mary’s Bridge of Weir Patronal – or rather Matronal  – Festival. In her sermon, she mused on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s reflective nature – her ‘pondering’ – beautifully portrayed in Elizabeth Frink’s ‘Walking Madonna’ in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral:

Mary is not floored by grief and loss, but is rather someone who, who going through the vale of misery, uses it for a well; who does not bemoan the past but draws on it to create future possibilities.

That, of course, is the pathway you have embarked upon through Mission Action Planning. An intentional cycle of action and reflection which builds upon the good achieved and learns from the mistakes made; which does not get bogged down by failure or stuck in a mire of self-pity – the ‘what ifs’ that beset so many charges: ‘what if we had more people, children, money?’ – but instead builds upon the ‘what is’: the gifts God has showered upon you, the assets in the community, the opportunities that appear when you look carefully.

Matronal 3 2014After the service, the congregation repaired to Gill Reynolds’s home for its annual Garden Party , Despite the weather driving everyone indoors, it was a merry party; as ever, this little congregation worked collaboratively to produce a veritable feast, and shared that generously with their many friends from St Fillan’s, from the village and from neighbouring churches. Huge thanks to Gill for her kind hospitality once again, and to all who made it such a joyful afternoon.

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MAP-ping Meaning

St John's Dumfries MAP2 Signing Marcg 2014MAPs are frameworks that can energise, and help to direct the missional activities of, not simply small congregations but also large ones too. A good case in point is St John the Evangelist Dumfries, now into its second year of MAP-ping.

The document makes for fascinating and encouraging reading. The photograph shows the Rector and the Vestry Secretary, David Kerr, at the document’s signing.

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MAP News

The potted history of the diocesan strategic intention for growth has been brought up to date (July 2014) with the addition of Chapter 6.  The next chapter will be added following next year’s Gathering on the Eve of Pentecost. I look forward to reading that, penned by a different hand!  Anne Tomlinson

Strands on the Vine has also been updated as of July 2014.

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Bonding and Bubbly at Bearsden

Anne Tomlinson writes:

DSCF1621MAP Facilitators from the Dioceses of Glasgow and Galloway, Argyll and the Isles and St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane met yesterday in All Saints, Bearsden. It has been the practice for those of us in this diocese to hold an annual training day, but the added benefit of yesterday was our being joined by colleagues from the other two dioceses who, through Building the Vision and Casting the Net respectively, are likewise growing diocesan-wide ‘cultures of mission’.

The value of the day lay in the act of meeting. This was not about training as hitherto; as one participant said afterwards, the MAP Facilitators’ group is one ‘which has come of age and is independent and self-confident’. No, the value lay in the sharing across regional boundaries and diocesan boundaries, the pooling of good practice and the exploration of new ideas.

DSCF1616As a diocese, we learned much – the fact that St Andrews MAP Facilitators work in pairs was a practice that caused great excitement – and hopefully gave something of value in return. The formal sessions included one in which four MAP Facilitators – Val Nellist and Richard Evans from St Andrews, Liz O’Ryan and Gill Reynolds from Glasgow – reflected upon the experience of reviewing a MAP, and another led by Gill Young on the new provincial ‘light touch networks’ of practitioners, one of which comprises those engaged in mission facilitation.

And then there was the added-value learning which stemmed from the chat between sessions; it was noticeable that no-one came out to collect their lunchtime sandwiches for a long while, such was the level of discussion going on in the hall after the morning’s sessions. Old timers helped new facilitators with their queries and anxieties; e-mail addresses were exchanged and offers of prayer made; arrangements to ‘drink wine together’ were overheard being set up. Natural networking par excellence.

DSCF1612My control freak habits as regards programme timing went out of the window as the Dean sprung upon the (carefully crafted!) schedule the addition of a toast before lunch to the departing MDO, complete with speech and bubbly! My thanks to him for his kindness, and to the Rector of All Saints, the Revd Kirstin Freeman, for her generous hospitality and characteristic tireless care for us throughout the day. Thanks also to Linda Rayner, member of St Ninian’s Troon and MAP Facilitator for the Wigtown cluster, for the photographs which accompany this report.

And to you all – it has been a joy working with you. My prayers for you all as the strategic intention goes from strength to strength with God’s grace in the years to come.

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Who Do We Think We Are?

St John the Evangelist Stranraer prepares to engage in MAP-ping by asking ‘Who do we think we are?’

Recently after the Sunday Eucharist twenty-three members of St John’s Church met to explore the question “Who do we think we are?”  Loosely based on the TV show of (very nearly) the same name, we tried to work out who we think we are as a church congregation and what influences had led us to be as we are today.  The story we tell about ourselves usually determines who we believe we are, and a better understanding of our story can also change who we are.  So it is important to understand ourselves as a prelude to understanding others and engaging with our “community”.

We began with a series of photos taken by members of “what is important to me in this area”. The subject of the pictures was not as important as the process of deciding what to photograph.  It was clear that there was a great deal that we valued about living in the area and its people.

What we liked about St John’s and what kept us coming back varied, but top of the list was the style of worship and the regularity of Holy Communion. The structured form of the Liturgy was greatly valued and so were the opportunities for people to be involved; our Worship Leaders, Scripture readers and intercessors were all mentioned as great positives. The Scottish Episcopal Church traditionally offers a broad-minded, thoughtful, liberal environment to help people develop their own Christian character.  Opportunities to learn more about the Christian faith are valued.

Regarding connections with the community, what came out was that we are a “gathered” congregation from a wide geographical area.  We discussed how “community” is not just about where people live, but also the “networks” of community they inhabit, and how we all live in a number of communities: where we live or work, our families, friends, the groups we belong to, internet communities, our interests and pastimes. These networks can be more influential in our lives than the place in which we live.  In a very quick poll we discovered that members were involved in fifteen outside groups and interests, so we are connected to a great many people.  This list could have been further expanded given more time.

Our strengths at St John’s are the friendship and welcome we offer.  We have good lunches and a good social life. We believe our worship to be rich and meaningful with Holy Communion at the centre.  We recognise that most of us came to St John’s by invitation of others.  Our adaptable and well maintained and equipped church building is a great advantage, but the need for better access to the “upper room” is a real and increasing problem for many of our present (and future) members. We also acknowledge that we are mostly “invisible” to the town and very many people do not know we are here.  Better signage is a must and many people thought that using our building for a wider range of community events (“anything that gets people in”) is important.  A suggestion that we might use the title “St John’s Episcopal Church Centre” on the new signage was met with general approval.

We are in good heart and understand better why each of us is a member of St John’s and what St John’s gives to the world, our communities and ourselves.  All of these are vital insights as we enter into our Mission Action Plan (MAP) as part of the diocesan strategic intention for growth.  There are many challenges and also many encouragements and excitements ahead.  If we hold to what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands (1 John 1) and work wholeheartedly for the Kingdom of heaven in this place, how can we fail?

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Community Audit

Kenny Macaulay writes: I travelled down to Kirkcudbright 11th March to introduce the Greyfriars Congregation and the Gatehouse on Fleet congregation to Community Audit, how to do it properly, and how it may benefit them! We had a productive day, and I was really impressed by the positivity from both congregations to get involved in their communities in new and imaginative ways. It was a bit surreal to have a retired bishop and two retired priests in the group, but their experience and enthusiasm bodes well for the enthusiastic and talented lay folk they have working with them.

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East End Team MAP Signing

At Candlemas, in a simple but moving ceremony, the East End Team completed signing of its first action plan.  Way back at the beginning of the process, Candlemas had been chosen as a significant date in the calendar to celebrate this commitment to mission in the East End of the city.  A dedicated group from the three congregations which make up the East End team had met over the year to draw up the first of the action plans.  The process was undertaken with a rigorous integrity and with much laughter and warmth.  We examined the changes in the community served by the team, surprised ourselves by just how large the ‘catchment’ is,  understood together some of the fascinating history  of the Team’s development, got stuck, got unstuck, and eventually drew up what the rector described as “small and significant” steps to move forward in mission.  As the MAP was signed, the congregation stood and lifted their candles as a symbol of prayer and commitment.

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Missional Outreach

The attached pictures show the people of the Good Shepherd preparing recently for a concert of songs, from the 60s on, by the Cumbernauld Community Choir which practices and performs in the church. It’s not strictly their MAP intention, but they obviously hope that the outreach shows the church in a good light – as it does.

Sharon (church organist and leader of the community choir) is shown with Taylor, its youngest member. Taylor is very proud of her yellow ribbons, which of course are relevant to one of the songs. And the other pictures show the hall being prepared for tea which preceded yesterday’s concert

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Follow up to ‘Business as Usual’

David McCarthy writes: Thanks to all who took part in the “Business as usual?” conference with Bishop Graham Cray. The members of the Missional Leadership Development Team hope that the day served as a confidence-booster and an encouragement to engage with our communities well.

At present, we are considering what to offer next. We are beginning discussions about bringing the Mission Shaped Church course to the diocese.

We also have the subject of resilience or building our capacity for the long haul as a possible area of work. We are aware of other possible developments in this area which might support leaders in congregations better than anything we would offer. More details as they emerge.

Members of the team are available to visit congregations to listen, encourage innovation and share experience. Please contact David McCarthy at david@stsilas.org.uk if this might be helpful.

Thanks to David we have some follow up Reading Recommendations

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Business as Usual

(Firstly, apologies to the Development Team for Missional Leadership for the delay in adding a post about this day. A lot of hard work had gone into making the day the success it was.)

The Order of the Black Sheep– a thriving Anglican church with leanings to heavy metal and populated by folk who ‘feel they are judged’…

A blokes’ church that meets in a pub for discussions around life and Bible…

Fifty mums on an impersonal housing estate who gather for breakfast and Bible storytelling and craft play with their children…

Bishop Graham Cray reeled off inspiring accounts of these and many other imaginative  sometimes improbable– new church ‘plantings’ when he came to talk in Glasgow about Fresh Expressions of Church.

Around 60 people flocked from all corners of the diocese to hear him at Glasgow & Galloway’s recent ‘Business as usual?’ day conference.

Bishop Graham, who enjoys the grand title of Archbishops’ missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team, described a wide range of Fresh Expression (FE) initiatives, many creating congregations of people whose common factor was something other than neighbourhood or a church background.

Statistics are hard to shrug off: around 21,000 people now are reckoned to attend a Fresh Expression of Church. That’s equivalent to two medium-sized CoE dioceses.

He also warned that attempts to clone what’s flourished elsewhere don’t work. Every successful Fresh Expression, he stressed, began with committed discipleship and prayerful discernment of others’ needs. Thus the right relationships developed for new beginnings, for example, when a small team of Street Pastors, gently keeping night revellers safe without ‘evangelising’, earned their trust and respect – as well as those of police and local authorities. Instead of starting a dialogue primarily with words about God, they began with actions that show what God is like.

“We want to form a community before we start having acts of worship,” Bishop Graham said.

The conference coincided with the release of findings from a study of ten English dioceses by Church Army’s research unit.

They reveal that Fresh Expressions account for 10% of total church attendance and 15% of church communities.

“A key to further growth would seem to be the multiplication of the small,” the report suggests. “Get up to about 50 and  rather than get involved in all the complexities which come with size  plant again.”

The study also found about 40% of the Fresh Expressions are network-based, rather than neighbourhood-based. Most are all-age with more than 40% of attenders being under 16. Leaders reckoned about a third of participants were ‘de-churched’ and a quarter had had no church background.

Over 75% of FEs were active in encouraging discipleship and not just attendance. Another striking feature was the large number of lay leaders who had not had a previous formal role.

Statistics from Scotland underline the scale of the need, as Bishop Graham observed: in 2006 more than 26% of over-16s here had never been part of any church.

“We really are an alien culture,” he pointed out.

Discussion time was built into the day.

The meeting also heard about developments in our own diocese: a girls’ club building not just confidence but bonds with the church where it meets; a project integrating spiritual care into general medical practice; a West End church that’s the hub for organising and staging a major annual community gala.

Hosted by St Margaret’s Newlands, the day was undergirded with contemporary sung worship led by the praise band from St Augustine’s Dumbarton.

Now the diocesan Missional Leadership Development Team, who organised the day with the Development Team for Welcome and Numerical Growth, are considering what to offer next. Bringing the Mission-Shaped Church course to the diocese is one possibility, says Missional Leadership convener Revd David McCarthy, of St Silas Glasgow.

“The conference left us with many questions,” he said. “This day was planned as part of the ongoing process to help us consider what kind of mission our church has to engage in. Do we remain a chaplaincy to those who like what we offer, or do we allow ourselves to be stretched in ways which attract newcomers?

“How do we train, equip and mobilise the kind of clergy and lay leaders who can see the opportunities around them, then reach out in love and joy? What steps can we take to help make our churches more outward-looking? Above all, we need to constantly ask ourselves, how are we to obey what Jesus commanded us to do when he said, ‘go and make disciples…’?”

David added: “Members of the team are available to visit congregations to listen, encourage innovation and share experience. Please contact me at david@stsilas.org.uk if this might be helpful.”

You can hear both of Bishop Graham’s talks from the day at: Bishop Graham’s Talks 

and the PowerPoint presentations from: Bishop Graham’s PowerPoint Presentations

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All Together at Holy Name

Moira Jamieson writes:

‘Despite the terrible weather yesterday morning which prevented some people getting to church we signed our MAP Year 1 in the service just after the sermon.  We had the banner in church and took it through to the hall for another photograph of us all together with a beautiful cake which was baked by Kirsty Work and decorated by her daughter Christina.   All in all it was a very happy day despite the stormy weather outside’.

This is an example of a small church ‘where everyone knows your name’ deciding that everyone should sign the MAP, not just the Vestry secretary and cleric, thus demonstrating ownership of the document by everyone. A lovely idea. Perhaps others will do likewise?

Those who were not present due to the weather will have a chance to sign the document in due course – and cake is being saved for them too! Marks of a truly caring, inclusive, all-age congregation.

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Holy Name and the Next Steps

Holy Name Cumbernauld today picked up where it laid down its MAP process last year when many changes were happening in the charge. Under its new Facilitator, Anne Tomlinson, it restarted the process this afternoon  – and what a flood of ideas were forthcoming under the strand selected, namely  ‘Imaginative Outreach’.  As Anne said in her blog, it wasn’t so much a case of MAP facilitation being required as flood defences!

The congregation celebrated the Baptism of the Lord together first, with each of their names being read out and prayed for at the end of the sermon, and then moved into the hall for a bring-and-share lunch. And then they got down to work. Hard work! It was good to have such a representative group from this congregation working together, and of all ages too; 6½ – 70+. The younger members brought much to the discussion, reminding the gathering of the centrality of social media in communication today, and the current interest in forming community choirs.

Holy Name is clearly set fair for its focussed MAP endeavours.

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Update from St Oswalds Maybole

First, apologies for the lateness of this post, but Advent and Christmas ate up time!  On the last weekend of November Worship Leader training was offered at St Oswald’s as part of our year two MAP.  Five members of our congregation took part and we were joined by six others from around the Diocese.  Anne Tomlinson’s blog on Monday 2nd December gave a full report:

http://md.glasgow.anglican.org/2013/12/vitality/

I am pleased to report that the school visit went well.  The 90 or so children were impeccably behaved and seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time with us.  We are grateful to Paige Paterson from St John’s, Girvan and Andrew Thom from Holy Trinity, Ayr who helped us on the day – a great example of Team support.

Since then we have welcomed our new South Ayrshire Team Rector, Revd Andrew Baldock, his wife, Gilly, and their family.  We look forward to working with Andrew as he leads us forwards in God’s mission for our congregation and community.

Marilyn Pope, Vestry Secretary, St Oswald’s, Maybole

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New Recruits!

Recently several potential MAP Facilitators gathered in the Diocesan Centre, supported and accompanied by some stalwart ‘old timers’, for a day of induction into the mysteries of the diocesan strategic intention for growth.

The day was long and tiring as there was much to pack into it, but it was also revitalising – if that doesn’t sound too contradictory! As ever, those gathered made good suggestions of ways in which this iterative process might be tweaked and improved. And what was even better was that not only were new avenues suggested, but people stepped up to the plate to take on those pieces of work. The Dean and I are always delighted to receive ideas of how things can be improved, and we do our best to ensure these are followed through.

There is no photograph of the assembled group as some may decide that this task is not, after all, for them. Instead here is a photograph of our new banner, purchased by the Development Team for Missional Leadership and kindly delivered to the office by its Convenor, the Revd Dave McCarthy. It comes with its own natty carrier and is extremely lightweight, so can be easily transported to events around the diocese. For now it will live in the Diocesan Centre; and how well it tones in with the décor of the refurbished Meeting Room!

So, warm thanks to  Jean and Christine for making us all so comfortable through their careful catering and hospitality; to the ‘old timers’ for coming along and sharing their experience of and expertise in MAP facilitation, and to all the ‘new folk’ who attended. We wait in hope and expectation for your responses.

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Facilitators Gather Locally

Gill Young, John Stevenson, Anne McWilliam, Sandra Walsh and Edith Thorp met on Friday, 9 November.  Bp Gordon and Laura Durling sent their apologies.

Edith had been quite anxious how to facilitate the day, but didn’t worry because nothing came to her, and in the working out of it, it ran itself with the help of the Holy Spirit!   We ate, chatted, drank coffee, ate lemon drizzle cake (yummy!) and for the last half hour prayed.

We run a ‘Prayer Support’ group for each other and it was good to meet together, to share, and to be affirmed and supported for our task in the Diocese.

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More MAPs and Resource

Fr Kenny, St Augustine Dumbarton, sends his       Year 2 MAP along with this photo.

Other MAPs now uploaded are:

St John Greenock

St Batholomew Gourock

St Columba Largs

The Church of the Good Shepherd Hillington with pictures available as well.

A collation of all the MAPs received so far has been produced for easy reference and is to be found here: Diocesan Overview of Mission Action Planning Nov 2013

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Pastoral Training Maybole

A Pastoral Training Course has recently been running at St Oswald’s Maybole.  This was arranged as part of St Oswald’s year 2 MAP, with training being a major focus, but members from other Ayrshire churches joined the group.

Revd Canon Anne Tomlinson, Diocesan Ministry Development Officer, writes:The nine folk who attended Pastoral Training at St Oswald’s – from St Ninian’s Prestwick, St Oswald’s Maybole, Holy Trinity Ayr and St Ninian’s Troon – were a superb group of people who engaged fully throughout the three sessions from Friday evening through to Saturday afternoon.

Several of them had been involved in the offering of pastoral care for some time both in church circles and in their daily work, so there was a great deal of experience, expertise and wisdom in the room which was generously shared in small groups and plenary.

Together we worked through three of the five sessions in the diocesan workbook: the core skill of listening, the art of good communication and safeguarding issues.  As ever, the course was offered using a mix of PowerPoint presentations, DVD clips, plenary teaching and small group discussion.  All framed by worship and the sharing of prayer.

The latter session stressed the need for self-care on the part of those offering pastoral care to others, and this St Oswald’s modelled beautifully.  Marilyn Pope and Ruth Mundell catered generously and thoughtfully for the group,  offering home-made soup and sandwiches, delicious home-baking and endless mugs of coffee whenever energies were flagging.  Several of the participants were struck by this ministry of hospitality and care, and by the way the 24-hour event demonstrated the diocese’s stated intent of training, supporting, affirming and thanking those who offer themselves for Authorised Lay Ministries.  The ‘Learning Community’ ethos that lies at the heart of the diocese was understood in a new way.

The 4th session was led by Canon Jeanette Jenkins and Revd Jane Ross led the final session on bereavement care, on 30th October.

If past courses are anything to go by, there will be a sense of loss in the group at this ending; sharing experiences of caring for others or being cared for oneself tends to create strong bonds of affection very quickly.  But I reckon the mutual support will continue . . . . .

Loving God, make me as sensitive to my own needs as I am to the needs of others.  Help me to be gentle with myself and to take good care of myself.  Surround me with good friends and teach me to accept their love and care graciously and with enjoyment.  Amen

Prayer adapted from  Called to Care:

The Pastoral Care Handbook of the Methodist Church

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WINGS fly to face the fear!

Saturday 30th August saw a large gathering of both clergy and laity from the Diocese, and others, converge on St George’s Tron Church, Glasgow to hear Michael Harvey lead a seminar on Growing your Church. We were greeted with tea and coffee and an unexpected ‘ice-breaker’ – the sound of the fire alarm! As we assembled outside in Buchanan St, wondering what else was in store for us, we were thankful for a warm dry day. Once we were given the all clear, the tea urn had triggered the alarm, we congregated back in the hall for proceedings to commence.

As convenor of the Numerical Growth, Welcome and Integration team Rev Drew Sheridan welcomed us all and especially Michael Harvey a well-known author and speaker. Michael then started by saying he does not believe in growth! This was a most unusual way to start but he went on to explain that we, as individuals, don’t perform the growth – that is God’s part of the job but that we do have a very important part to play. Our job is to invite people to come to church with us. God is not content to leave us where we are with all our limitations and weaknesses… but He is a God who constantly leads us on, calling us, asking things of us, in order for us to continue to grow.  However, Michael suggested that there is a problem, because we are human, God’s calling sets up in us a natural reaction of fear… fear of failure… fear of rejection. It has ever been thus. Remember Moses… remember Jeremiah… remember Jonah. God asked them all to do something for him and they all reacted with fear. But God’s reply remains the same… “Do not be afraid. I am with you always.”  It is significant that this reply appears 366 times in the Bible.

Inviting people to church sets up that fear-filled reaction. We are scared to do it. We make excuses. But it’s what we are called to do. After all we only need to say nine little words ‘Would you like to come to church with me?’ We are called to ‘Go and make disciples’. It doesn’t matter if we are rejected. It doesn’t matter if the response to our invitation is negative. That is Christ’s way. That is the narrow way. But if we go out and invite, invite and invite again, Michael suggested, we are being obedient and faithful, and walking in the footsteps of Christ. He said that research has shown that we will hear nine No’s in order to get that one Yes.

Hearing Michael speak was inspiring. He delivered three sessions about how to become an invitational Church, and was honest about the problems that may be encountered. But he also spoke words of encouragement for the task ahead. At the end of the conference we were asked to take his message back to our churches and try to put something of what he said into practice. The Development Team has already set up channels for such support and the sharing of experience resulting from the day, and has received many replies and positive comments from the people who attended the conference. For those of you who were unable to attend there is a copy of his book ‘Unlocking the Growth’ in the Diocesan office and his talks were based very much on that text. It is commended to you. Massive thanks go to Drew and his team for arranging the event and to Margaret and Sandra for plying us with tea / coffee, lunch and other goodies to eat.

All in all it was a very good day.

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Trip to Gothenburg

The Presentation used in Gothenburg has been added to the Resources page and can also be accessed here:

Gothenburg Presentation  

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First Year MAP Review.

St Aidan’s Clarkston recently had their first year review with the Bishop and the full report can be read here:

First Year MAP Review.

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Community Audit

Christ Church Dalbeattie had a day with Rev Kenny Macauley working on a community audit. It was an inspiring day and the full report can be accessed here:  

Community Audit Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MAP Review at St Mary’s Bridge of Weir

Gill Reynolds writes: On 4 August, our MAP facilitator, Anne Tomlinson, came to St Mary’s to lead us in the Service of the Word (a really good and interesting experience of this modern but somehow familiar liturgy) and prepare us for our MAP review with the Bishop. This left us feeling well-prepared, and on 18 August Bishop Gregor presided at our Matronal Festival and conducted our year 1 MAP review. The term ‘matronal’ was coined for us last year by the Rev Ivan Draper when we signed the MAP, and it’s one we intend to continue to use as being highly appropriate for our church.

We had put together a leaflet (reproduced here) outlining our MAP aims and other activities during the year, and were ready to answer all manner of difficult questions. In the event, after the celebration of the Eucharist, the Bishop made everything easy and we enjoyed the discussion of the changes made and planned. One of our aims in August 2012 was to enliven and re-invigorate our liturgy – we did this by introducing new liturgy booklets, re-ordering some of the furniture and thinking harder about the music. We had generous help in this endeavour from Canon James Milne – not just the words, but, as can be seen from the photograph in the leaflet, James entered into this activity with practical enthusiasm! And the result, agreed by all including the celebrant, does seem to have been a thought-provoking change in our worship.

The Bishop seemed pleased with all of this, and provided some suggestions as to how we might improve, especially with the music which we had been finding slightly more difficult than some of the other aspects of worship, and our other aim of improving our theological knowledge. This has already gone into our thoughts, and we are looking forward to working out the year 2 activity with Anne.

After the service we repaired to my garden for our traditional picnic. Some of us were a bit nervous about the weather, but although we all arrived in the middle of a particularly sharp shower, we did manage to continue as normal and – you’ll see from the pictures – lots of good food, wine and conversation followed. We were really pleased that Anne joined us for the picnic and was a tower of strength there too. Nobody who knows her will be surprised at that, but I realise this morning that she was also taking the pictures, and so there is nothing to show her in the garden. Instead, above is a slightly fuzzy picture of Anne in the low light of St Mary’s, after celebrating the Service of the Word. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Community Audit

Holy Trinity Motherwell are well on the way to finalising their MAP, but the amount of time and energy they have committed to Community Audit has to be commended. All sorts of statistics have been chased down and put on ‘the wall’, and the congregation have been adding their own bits, moans and wishes. Alan Wilson has been a star throughout the whole process, and has been the catalyst to helping the small group thinking in lots of areas. Now the job begins of matching needs and gaps that the congregation can respond to.

The next month will be an interesting one!

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Community Audit – Stranraer

On 30th July, Revd Kenny Macaulay visited St John’s Stranraer, helping them to set off on the road to doing their Community Audit. With plenty of food to begin with, we all got an opportunity of drawing a map of the area surrounding St John’s, and although one group had a good go at re-siting Morrisons, it was a very positive exercise, leaving the congregation with much to think about!

As ever, groups that do this exercise often find out how much they know about the locality, and also how much they don’t know, but already after a couple of hours, new ideas and new responses were beginning to emerge from the small energetic group.

Now it’s over to them to decide how far to take this exercise, but there is an energy and vitality about the group which would make us presume that their Mission Action Plan will include goals which are relevant to the immediate community and meeting some of the obvious needs in Stranraer at the moment.

There is a document available for downloading from the website on How to Do a Community Audit, together with other material in the Diocesan Centre.

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St Oswald’s Mission Action Plan Review

Marilyn Pope – Vestry Secretary writes: On Sunday 16th June Bishop Gregor came to review the first year of our Mission Action Plan (MAP).

Having Bishop Gregor with us to lead worship, preach and preside at the Eucharist was a very special start to the occasion.

After the service we all went into the hall where an excellent ‘bring and share’ lunch had been prepared by members of the congregation.  With a ’cuppa’ in our hands, we moved on to the main business of the afternoon—reviewing year one of our Mission Action Plan.

By way of introduction display boards and a slide show of photos had been prepared to illustrate some of the things done during the past year.  Four of the five goals set have been achieved and are now continuing to develop as an established part of our congregational life.  The fifth goal, that of re-furbishing the church interior, is on-going and will continue into year two.

Bishop Gregor noted the ‘homeliness’ of the church and congregation – obvious from the worship; singing and the lunch – we are comfortable together.  He wants to encourage us during the vacancy, he sees us as a congregation which is able to organize its own life as an Anglican community.  He added that MAP is a tool to help us focus on what our priorities should be.

A lively question and answer session followed, with Vestry members responding to the questions asked and members of the congregation joining in to add to the points made.  Overall it was a very positive and affirming experience for everyone.

Last year we were asked to take part in the experimental use of the new Service of the Word.  This has been a strong focus during our first year’s MAP with various Worship Leaders from our three team churches and members of our congregation taking part in various ways.

On Sunday 23rd June, encouraged and supported by Anne Tomlinson, Vestry members worked together to prepare and lead a SoTW.  For the exposition of the Word we chose six readings to tie in with each of the six Diocesan Growth Strategy strands.  A different Vestry member read each passage and explained briefly how it ties in with what we have achieved during year one and what we hope to achieve during year two.

For this service we placed the chairs at the front of the church in a circle with a focus table in the middle.  On the table we placed a cross, a lit candle, a Bible, a bunch of grapes and a copy of our year one MAP.  Members of the congregation were invited to sit in the circle, which all did.  Sitting in a circle for worship was a new experience but after the service there was a lot of positive feedback and people are keen to do it again if appropriate for a particular service.

On Sunday 30th June Revd Canon Anne Tomlinson, our MAP Facilitator, came to lead worship and help us prepare our year two MAP.  We began with Holy Communion using the Reserved Sacrament.  Anne then had time to mingle with the congregation over coffee before moving into the hall with the Vestry for a working lunch to do some detailed planning for the coming year.

Much of what we have achieved during year one is now becoming an established part of our congregational life.  We want to consolidate and use the next year to offer training and build upon what we already have.

Anne has written a lovely blog entry about her visit which can be found at

http://md.glasgow.anglican.org/ (It is the entry for Sunday 30th June 2013)

The full text of our year two MAP will appear on this site once it has been finalised and signed.

In the meantime the closing lines of the hymn “How good is the God we adore” by Joseph Hart seem to sum up very nicely:

“We’ll praise him for all that is past, And trust him for all that’s to come.”

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 WINGS Fly to Dalbeattie

Mrs Edith Thorp from Christ Church Dalbeattie (and also Regional Growth Rep for Galloway Region) reports that WINGs came to ChristChurch for a ‘day’ on Thursday 20th June to work with the congregation.   The session went very well, she  reports, and was very useful, particularly in the way in which it helped them revisit one of their chosen strands with a view to developing their appropriate goals.

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 Updates and News

There have been some additions and up dates to the resources library of late. The ‘Potted History’ has been updated to reflect work over the last year and the Tri-Fold flyer has been re-vamped and completely brought up to date to reflect changes, especially in Regional Reps. A new link has also been added for ‘Development Team Remits’. This is work in progress and will be up-dated as more information becomes available.

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QUIZ NIGHT at St Andrew`s Church Ardrossan 

1st Prize

Susan Garner, Lilian Bancroft, Angela Churchill and Jean Montgomery

The Quiz Night on Friday 26th April, organised by Jeanette Jenkins in aid of St Andrew`s Restoration Fund, proved to be an exciting night. About forty-four people turned up to support the event and all had a great time. There were four rounds of questions, and a Nursery Rhyme Quiz as well, all of which gave the grey matter a full workout..! Very surprisingly the Rector was on the Team that came second…! A Supper of Pie and Peas rounded off a great night of fellowship and fun which raised £320 for the Restoration Fund. 

2nd Prize

Mike Scott, Katherine Scott, Freda Sofield and Martin Sofield.

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Lent and Holy Week – St Oswald’s, Maybole

Marilyn Pope, Vestry Secretary writes: During Lent, Holy Week and Easter a number of activities tied in with the various strands of our Mission Action Plan.

Lent Groups

We participated in ecumenical Lent groups, this year held at the Carrick Centre, a new community centre which also houses the worship space for Maybole Parish Church.  The material used was a York Course, “Glimpses of God”.

One of our members, Ruth Blakley, writes:

“Leaders varied from week to week which made for a changeable dynamic however the essence was the same.  We shared our experiences of our Glimpses of God – in the workplace, at home, at school, at church – and I personally enjoyed it immensely.  I managed to attend all but one of the meetings and I was so sad to miss out.  I looked forward to each group.  We supported each other; we learned from each other and we journeyed together.” 

Palm Sunday.

On Palm Sunday we had a Service of the Word, led by members of the congregation with a dramatisation of the Passion according to the Gospel of Luke instead of a sermon.  Each stage of the story was interspersed with an appropriate verse sung to the tune of “Were you there when they crucified my Lord.”

Steven and Ben, two of our younger members, worked together to ensure that the props were brought to the front during the singing of each verse, building up a visual symbolisation of the story.  It is some years since we did this and it was a moving experience both for those taking part and watching.

Maundy Thursday

For the second time, we celebrated a Christian Passsover meal with members of the congregation and friends from Maybole Parish Church in our church hall.  All the preparation for the Seder was done by our congregation. The re-enactment was very meaningful and informative.  Two of our members assumed the roles of mother and father to preside over the meal while others helped with the readings, questions and symbolic acts.

The evening was greatly enjoyed and many favourable comments were received about how much had been learned and better understood about the Passover.

Good Friday

On Good Friday some of our members joined Maybole Parish Church and friends from Crosshill for a service in the Carrick Centre.  Revd Brian Hendrie helped us reflect on the events of Good Friday using readings, hymns and art, including a Salvador Dali painting “Christ of St John of the Cross.”

Easter Eve

Saturday morning brought a hive of activity when a number of people, armed with flowers and greenery, gathered to decorate the church and flower cross in the garden.  We warmed up with a welcome cuppa and pancakes!  Ben, our youngest member, made us an Easter Garden which was displayed on a table where everyone could see and appreciate it.

Easter Day

It was a pleasure to have twenty eight people in church, including some visitors and children, for our Easter Communion Service.

Service of Word with Music Group

On Sunday 21st April we had a Service of the Word when our music group played.  The group had three new young people join them for this service.

 

Community 

Through Maybole Council of Churches we are supporting two new community ventures in the town.  The first is a foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust and co-ordinated from the South Ayrshire Foodbank centre in Prestwick.  The second is Carrick Senior Citizen’s Lunch Club which will meet once a month, with the first lunch due to take place on 7th June.

Bishop Gregor is coming to do our first year MAP review on 16th June and then we will be making plans for year two.

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Fashion for Funds

St Augustine’s Dumbarton ‘Get Connected’ Girls’ Group hosted a recent fashion show in the church  as a fundraising event to help them visit another Girls’ Group, attached to Southwark Cathedral in London.

The group which started in January 2012, meet one night per week in the Church Community Hall to look at self development, as well as getting to know about the wider community, and have grown in strength in this short period of time. By having taken part in various topic based discussions, as well as involving themselves in some of the church activities, these girls, mostly with no church connection, have certainly become aware of the needs of the wider community in Dumbarton and elsewhere.

Embarking on ventures like making hampers for Glasgow City Mission to present to the church at harvest time has given them time to think about what they have in life to be grateful for in conjunction with remembering those who don’t have much. They have also produced a very moving  Nativity play  looking at each character from the Christmas Story and what it might have felt like to walk in their shoes all those years ago. They even managed to get a new born baby, called “Joshua”, to take up the pride of place in the Christmas story.  

Other work covered includes a recycling project utilising old bottle tops that people would normally throw away. The members gathered enough to make a beautiful butterfly mosaic which is now displayed in the church Community Hall.

Recently while studying how young people live in different parts of the world, they got in touch with a Girls’ Group based in  London and decided to embark in a fundraising mission to visit.

The fashion show has helped to cover funding needed to stay for three days in London over the Easter school holiday and all of the girls are delighted with the support received. Over sixty people attended the event and took part in a wonderful extravaganza of the girls’ own version of fashion from countries around the world. None of the items were new, most recycled, and some of them were borrowed from family, friends and people in the community.

Daren B from CVS came along to support the event and helped the  show feel more real by  staging  a photo shoot for all  involved.  He said that ‘this was a great way to highlight recycling and the show was certainly enjoyed by all participants’

The themes in the show included:

Fashion from around the world commencing with inviting the audience to sit back and enjoy the Girls’ Group version of fashion from USA, London, France, Greece, India and Africa. The models also included some community members who support charities in India and Africa and they provided some of the more colourful outfits as well as a short talk on what life is like for young people living in poverty in these countries.

 The group really wanted to incorporate the recycling theme and prove that you can make old stuff beautiful again and even pass them on to someone in need. 

 A reference to International Women’s Day 8th of March, a day when women all around the world celebrate who they are and campaign to make the world a better place was run throughout the event.  An invitation resulted in a local female performance poet Gracey Flair interspersing throughout the show, reciting short poems on life which were well received by the audience.   

And finally in the spirit of friendship the leaders lit candles to  remember international   friendship. The girls proved that by coming together to celebrate, have some fun and help reach their fundraising target everyone gained. Paper butterflies were thrown into the air by all as a symbol of hope for the future of our world and its life.

Everyone was then invited to the hall for a scone tea and a chance  to reflect on the event. The volunteer leaders were delighted with the performance and congratulated the girls on their hard work and effort.       Anne Dyer

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Youth Weekend

This February, young people from Glasgow and Galloway diocese were joined by friends from the provincial youth network for a weekend of music, games, worship and deep stuff. St Silas Church in Glasgow provided hospitality for the weekend and their new facilities are a far cry from the draughty church halls I remember sleeping in as a young person. During the weekend we explored 1 Peter chapter 2 and the challenge of living our lives as a Holy Nation – as well as the rewards and resources given to us to help us achieve the challenge. The theme of the weekend was the hobbit, drawing on both the book and the film. Young people chose from a range of activities including creative prayer, calligraphy, writing liturgy and weaving bracelets. We met each evening for a time of worship and to reflect upon the theme before (eventually) going to sleep. One encouraging quote from the weekend was “I have never had so much fun in a church hall” and dancing the gay gardens Gangam Style at the Ceilidh was certainly a new experience.

Some things remain constant however, and even if the young people are swapping texts and Facebook contacts rather than postal addresses at the end of the weekend, the desire of the young people to remain a community after the event means that we will be running another one next year!

(If any of the young people have photographs they would like to share please send them to either Lorraine or Simon and they will be published here.)

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MAP’s 1st Birthday, 6th February 2013

St Augustine’s Dumbarton

It was a dark and chilly Wednesday evening in early February when about forty members of St Augustine’s congregation joined with Bishop Gregor for a service of thanksgiving, followed by celebratory ‘eats and drinks’  and consultation in the hall.  This was a birthday celebration like no other that had been held in the Diocese.  It was St Augustine’s taking the opportunity to recognize its achievements in its own inimitable way – through food: the food of the soul in the Eucharistic and of the body in a feast

Planning had been difficult.  What should we do to fulfil our commitment to recognizing the end of the first year in the life of our Mission Action Plan?  No one had done it before and only a week beforehand we found out the rules: we had to have a service, Bishop Gregor would be attending, he needed the opportunity to discuss the plan with as many members of the congregation as possible.

The MAP group got into action: our kitchen team were brought on board; photos of some of the activities associated with the MAP were put up in the church on the previous Sunday, to jog memories and stimulate discussion amongst the congregation; Kenny planned the service; various members of the group prepared short presentations.

It all came together and Bishop Gregor commented afterwards that he thanked God for what he had heard and that he was amongst a congregation that seeks to be engaged with one another and with the community.

We began in the candle-lit church, in a meditative way, with a reflective Eucharistic celebration with most of the first part including short presentations from four of the MAP group, talking about how specific strands of the action plan had been achieved.  These were interspersed with Taize chants which allowed the congregation time to consider what they had heard.  Included in our offerings to the Lord we presented the scripts of the presentations and photographs of the past year’s activities.

And then it was through to the hall for food for the flesh and time to talk together with Bishop Gregor about the first year’s journey using the MAP.

Fr Kenny began the consultation by commenting that the event would be a first for this congregation.

Bishop Gregor replied that it was a first for him too.  And for the first time, the Bishop said, he had taken notes through a liturgy and he went on to summarize what he had heard from the presentations.  From the reports received during the service and looking at the photographs displayed in the church, he acknowledged that our goals concerned with community, need for ‘inreach’, hall users, sharing of resources with other churches, owning the MAP had all been successfully addressed.  But what about the actions that he was not aware had been done?  Members of the congregation were able to provide information about other MAP activities they are involved in.

Bishop Gregor then asked a series of questions:

1.  Which goals were the most beneficial and why?

2.  How can more be done?

3.  What have we failed to do, what setbacks have there been?  (Nil reply!)

4.  What have we learned about ourselves?

5.  What is the relationship between the MAP group and the Vestry and what has been the cost?

In his concluding remarks Bishop Gregor said that we should take the MAP seriously and plan to build on it during the coming year, changing some things, building on others.  The action plan is a tool to identify priorities for individual congregational development and these will gradually become part of its normal life.

It’s about being Intentional: this is what we can do, this is how we can grow.  The Rector’s and Bishop’s jobs are to hold people together in diversity with the intent of growth and a measure of coherence.  Bishop Gregor encouraged us to mark and celebrate what we have achieved, to continue, remain focussed and address difficult issues.

We finished by holding hands in a large circle and saying the Grace together. We are in this together, and together we go out to love a serve The Lord, wherever He is to be found.

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Missing Things Out

Sometimes, when your parish is “Mapping”, you miss out important parts of your existing ministry, because you may think it’s a normal thing which everybody does, or that “everybody knows that, anyway”! That is not always the case!

When St Augustine’s Dumbarton were putting together their initial MAP, there was little thought put to our link with a Gambian School or our links with The Diocese of The Gambia in West Africa.

We didn’t think it was something worth reporting, because it was just something that we did!

Eleven years ago, our Rector was visiting The Gambia and came across a school which had six pupils and forty children outside looking in. The children looking in were from families who couldn’t afford the 50p per week for education. Serrekunda, and London Corner particularly, was a sprawling mass of poverty and degradation, with children running between shacks either naked or clothed with bin bags.  Upon our Rector’s return, many of us pledged £5 per month to educate a child, and by 2004 were able to afford to rent a bigger building, giving free education, medical care and a feeding programme for 90 children in London Corner. Dumbarton/London Corner Nursery was up and running and with help from many other folk outwith our parish, we have managed to create one of the most successful schools in Serrekunda, meeting Government and UN levels of attainment.

We thought little of this. It cost us individually £5 per month and the children prospered, beyond our wildest dreams. So why mention it on our MAP?

We only realised how important it was in January of this year when Revd Kenny Macaulay returned from a visit to the school. The building was falling into a sewer and we needed £5,500 to save the building. Kenny told the clergy about it at their annual meeting and within two weeks the Diocese had responded in an unbelievable way.

Churches, notably St Ninian’s, Castle Douglas, had provided twice the amount we needed and the school has been saved! All the non-essential work can now be completed, and the children are safe, secure, and are extremely grateful.

We want to thank our brothers and sisters in the Diocese! We didn’t MAP it because we thought it too ordinary. Maybe other congregations have stuff that they think is ordinary, but is indeed special!

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St Mungo’s Alexandria

Sunday 17th February was the first Sunday of Lent, but it was also a day of celebration at St Mungo’s church in Alexandria. The sun shone, the first few crocus began to light up the garden and a good congregation was in attendance as the Bishop presided at morning service and signed the Mission Action Plan. The journey which St Mungo’s vestry were on during the MAP meetings was quite a hard one as they entered into a Vacancy at the beginning of the process, and had a lot to deal with apart from how they would approach a response to the Diocesan Growth Strategy. But from this facilitator’s perspective, they made a magnificent job of it – the meetings were considered, very thoughtful and really practical, and conducted in a spirit of deep care for one another, and for the congregation. And in the way of the best MAPs, some of the actions were completed prior to the actual signing celebration.

 During the service the Bishop thanked the whole vestry team for their work on Growth, and encouraged the congregation to read and understand the MAP so that everyone could take part in the future of St Mungo’s.

Afterwards we had a Lenten lunch – the most delicious soup, cheese and bread were served, and a great deal of lively conversation ensued. As you can see from some of the photographs, the Bishop took a central part in the proceedings in the hall and a good collection was taken to benefit L’Arche, for the Bishop’s Lenten appeal. A really positive occasion, with quiet pleasure at a job well done.

More photographs at: St Mungo’s Alexandria

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Continuing to Grow

It has been great to see new Mission Action Plans being added to this web site. Three were added just over a week ago with another today; hopefully this Growth across the Diocese will spur on other charges who are on the road / nearly there. Shortly there will  be a report on the first annual review with another following close behind. What a fantastic boost just before we all meet for Diocesan Synod. Photographs that anyone may have of signings, work in progress or growth in practice should be sent to Carol@thelovetts.info for uploading. Pictures make for a colourful, attractive addition to the site and are visually encouraging.

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Youth Opportunities

The development team for Children and Young people has been hard at work preparing some events. The first – a weekend for young people aged 12-18 years has been scheduled for 8-10th February 2013, to be hosted by St Silas’ Church in Glasgow.  This will provide young people and leaders with an opportunity to spend time together, have fun, learn, reflect and deepen relationships with one another and with God, and hopefully give everyone a greater sense of belonging to the larger faith community of the Diocese.  The second – a weekend for 18-25 year olds is also being planned for later in the year, aimed at building relationships and ‘containing elements of leadership training and discipleship for all’ in the programme.

See flyer above for details of the February weekend. For more information and to register, please email Simon Lidwell at  youth@stjohnsdumfries.org or ‘phone Simon on 07949 292335

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New Year

As we are now well and truly into the New Year, both church and calendar wise, I am sure I speak for many in wanting to express thanks to Anne and Ian for all they have done, are doing and will be doing with regards to the Strategic Intention for Growth within the Diocese and to the many that help them. Eleven MAPs have now been signed, with at least two almost due their annual review, and six new facilitators were trained towards the end of last year. All facilitators have now been assigned to charges but there is a need for more so, if anyone feels able to offer their time and help you will be more than welcome. If there are any news items/photos from around the Diocese please forward them to myself, Carol Lovett – Carol@thelovetts.info, for inclusion on this web site. Fresh material is always needed. As we look forward it is hoped you all had a pleasant and restful Christmas and New Year and are ready for all the challenges ahead.

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Singing for the Roof

Tom Urie (of River City fame) and some friends entertained a good crowd at St Andrew`s Church Ardrossan on Saturday 15th December. Tom, a previous member of the Church, who keeps in contact, offered to sing in aid of the St Andrew`s Church Restoration Fund. He was joined by friends Frank and Matt for the concert which also included the ladies group Tartan Harmony. The music was a good mix of Christmas songs and personal favourites, and everyone who supported the event had a great time. The concert, organised by Eveline Gray, raised over £600 for the Restoration Fund which is a project on St Andrew`s Church Mission Action Plan.

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Messy Church Christingle Service

As another part of their Mission Action Plan, St Andrew`s Ardrossan held their first Messy Church Christingle Service on Saturday 1st December. Around thirty people, children and adults, had great fun making Angels from ice-cream cones and icing, and Christingles for use later in the Service. Even Dads came along to provide a helping hand and some of the creations were extremely good. After fun in the craft arena we all moved into Church for a short Christingle Service with joyful singing and the lighting of the Christingles. During the talk by the Rector Revd Martin Sofield, we imagined what it must have been like in that messy stable where Jesus was born. After the Service everyone came back into the Hall to share a varied and delicious spread of food and drink. It was a good turn out for a first event and we look forward to increasing the numbers on the next occasion.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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St Augustine’s Girls’ Group, Dumbarton

 The wee Girls’ Group that started in St Aug’s this year are really going from strength to strength. Just a wee group of teenagers, only one of them belong to St Aug’s, but in lots of ways they all belong to us now. Their arts and crafts programme is exceptional, they discuss really deep and meaningful stuff about being a young “teenie” in the modern world, and recently they tell me that they’ve made contact with a wee Faith Group similar to themselves in a church in England. “What church?”, I asked. “Southwark Cathedral, are they any good, Kenny?”

“I don’t know, I’ll check them out”, I reply.

They reach out to the needy and make up food parcels for the homeless, make poppies for the fallen, do giant posters on being grateful, and they bring them all into church and bring their mums with them.

Just now they are finishing off a giant montage of a butterfly made from bottle tops for the wall of the Community Hall. It reminds me of them. Little butterflies emerging from a cocoon, but twice as special!

 The Girls’ Group were not even part of our MAP, they just seemed to appear out of the process as if by magic. Perhaps we were just in the position of being more open, and when that happens wonderful things begin to emerge… Like butterflies I guess!

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From orthodoxy to orthopraxis!

There was a training session for new MAP Facilitators on Friday 23rd November in the Diocesan Centre led by the Dean (pictured here) and the MDO. And it is with delight that they report that a new crop of Facilitators will be forthcoming very shortly – small in number but big in talent and enthusiasm.

Training this new intake was made much easier by the existence of real MAPs to look at.  It was particularly interesting to study the ‘values’ that these charges have listed as underpinning their mission; interesting, and enormously encouraging

The group of novices was joined by a seasoned MAP Facilitator and a Rector whose charge has produced its first year’s MAP – which again made the process vastly more interesting than a year ago when we were simply ‘talking theory’.

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MAP news item

 As the strategic intention for growth has been developing, we have been trying to keep a record of developments made, paperwork circulated and decisions reached. This is largely for archival purposes but also in case this diocese’s experience is of use for another’s journey. The latest chapter of that history has just been added and can be found on the Resources Page or via this link: Growth Strategy History (updated November 2012) 
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 More MAP Facilitators Needed!!

The following letter went out from the Diocesan Centre on 2nd November:

30 MAP Facilitators were trained over a year ago to work with congregations in the work of Mission Action Planning, as part of the diocese’s strategic intention for growth. At present all these are fully occupied – some are even working with more than one charge; a few have moved south or else found themselves unable to do the work at present for good personal reasons.

We are in need of more MAP Facilitators and have thus set up a day for training possible new Facilitators on Friday November 23rd in The Diocesan Office 10.00 – 4.00.

This e-mail is being sent to a variety of people. We are asking Clergy and Lay Representatives for your help to pass this on to people whom you may consider would be an excellent resource to the developing work. Please feel free to send names to us and we will contact them directly; if this is easier.

We are also contacting people whose circumstances have changed of late either because of a change of work pattern or the fact that your own congregation has now gone through the first year of MAP-ping, and would like to invite you to at least think about this possibility and come along to the day – even if you then discover the work is not, after all, for you.

Ian Barcroft and Anne Tomlinson

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Development

As many of you are aware, of those charges who have engaged with the MAP process several have discerned that they need to look inwards to their own learning and knowledge before they are able to look outwards. They are embarking on a variety of initiatives and the Development Team for Learning and Discipleship, among others, have been asked to help. The new needs arising from the MAP-ping process have led the team to produce to a new Journey in Faith (JiF) Course which goes more deeply into the art of reading scripture than the previously offered foundational courses. ‘Seeing Scripture Today’ is a series of five meetings that began last Tuesday in Holy Trinity St Barnabas, Paisley with a fantastic turnout. Rev Canon Dr Scott Robertson gave a talk on Bible as Literature and looked at several bible passages to see what type of literature they would appear to be. Even something as simple as removing the verse numbers can change the total concept of a passage. He also looked at other literature and how that can be read as scripture from the more obvious to the less so.

Each of the sessions can stand alone so why not come along and give it a try. Sessions are on each Tuesday between 7.30pm and 9pm with tea/coffee from 7pm.

6th November – ‘The Bible and social action’ – Revd Canon Prof John Riches
13th November – ‘Methods of approach’ – Hannah M. Strømmen (PhD Student)
20th November – ‘The Bible and other faiths’ – Revd Canon Dr Nicholas Taylor
27th November – ‘The Bible and us’ – Rt Revd Dr Gregor Duncan

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All Creatures Great and Small…!

Martin Sofield writes: I have pleasure in attaching some photographs of our Blessing of Animals Service at St Andrew`s Irvine on 6th October.
The Blessing of Animals Service was an idea of Linda Whitby for our Growth Strategy at Irvine and Linda compiled and organised the Service, including blessing the animals. We had a good response as this was the first time this had been done and attracted a congregation of 25 together with 16 dogs and 1 guinea-pig… As you can see from the pictures the animals were well behaved and even joined in the singing of the hymns at times…! The event also attracted the photographer from the Irvine Herald and we managed to make front page news 2 weeks running with this story….! In addition there were plenty of photographs inside the paper with an article about the event.
 
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MAP-ping story

Anne Tomlinson, MAP Facilitator to St Aug’s. writes: One of the joys of being a MAP Facilitator is that not only do you act as midwife to the MAP’s birth but you get to watch its subsequent growth throughout the year by means of visits and emailed communications. Last week, I went to see how the congregation of St Augustine’s Dumbarton was faring with their MAP goals – and the answer was ‘very well indeed.’ But what was most encouraging was that things that had not even been on the agenda at the outset had budded and flowered in the course of the year. Like the St Augustine’s Girls’ Group, for instance.

‘It all started with another mum and me having coffee in the living room while a group of young girls were squeezed into my daughter’s bedroom, talking about the things girls talk about!’, writes Anne Dyer. ‘Their conversation touched on how hard it was to jump from primary to secondary school. We suggested starting a wee group to alleviate some of the fears of feeling like a small fish in a big pond. We recruited another two mums and gained support from our rector, Revd Kenny Macaulay. Twelve young girls came to an information evening and STAGG was open for business!’

To read more about this amazingly fruitful venture, see Faith in Action . Believe me, it has put down firm roots and grown, thank to hard work on the part of Anne Dyer and fellow mothers, a willingness on the part of the congregation to be accommodating in every sense and a background culture of being prepared ‘to give it (and much else besides) a go’.   Congratulations to all.

If you have a good news MAP story please allow us to share it here by sending it to me at: Carol@thelovetts.info . We need the help of each and everyone of you to keep this site up to date and exciting for all.

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Expansion and change

The key areas the congregation of St Oswald’s Maybole decided to focus on in its MAP are ‘Learning and Discipleship’ and ‘Imaginative Outreach into Local Communities’, and both are proving fruitful.  For many years past, the congregation has participated in ecumenical Bible studies organised by Maybole Council of Churches.  For various reasons, that wasn’t happening this year so St Oswald’s decided to arrange its own series. They were duly joined by a few friends from other churches, thus forming a regular group of 8 – 12 meeting throughout Lent.

From that group there was a desire to arrange an autumn series of Studies, using the York Course “Faith, Hope and Love”.  For the autumn series the decision was made to meet fortnightly on a Tuesday, inviting friends from other churches to join.  The invitation was accepted by several friends, including a long established ecumenical prayer group who meet every Tuesday in Maybole who decided they would like to join in for the five studies.  This means that there is now a group of about 20 meeting to share and learn, with people attending not just from our small town of Maybole, but from surrounding villages and communities.

The congregation has also applied to the Diocese for a 6-month experimental re-ordering to remove the front 3 pews and replace them with 16 chairs, thus creating a flexible space at the front of the church. Such a desire arises out of the strands of their MAP as they think hard about reaching out to newcomers and seekers, and finding appropriate ways of worshipping for today’s context. As one member said in the course of the congregation’s discussions, ‘a church cannot remain frozen in time’.

St Oswald’s experiment is a fascinating case study in the management of change; the church originally had chairs – pews were a mid-twentieth century addition!

The photos are of the Harvest decorations in Church on Sunday 7th October. There was a lovely lunch after the service and the produce from church was offered for sale on a donation basis, which raised £64 for Christian Aid.