CERES KEMBACK AND SPRINGFIELD CHURCH
Charity name: Ceres Kemback and Springfield
Charity No: SCO17442
Summer 2017 Newsletter
As I write I am very much in a pilgrimage frame of mind! In early July, I enjoyed four lovely days on the island of Iona. It took the best part of a day to get there – train from Glasgow to Oban then onto a ferry for a beautiful crossing to the Isle of Mull. That was followed by a 40 mile bus journey along a narrow single track road to Fionnphort where a ten minute ferry crossing finally set my feet on the Isle of Iona.
I will never ever forget my first visit to Iona some thirty five years ago. When the bus finally drew up at Fionnphort on a beautiful July afternoon, my breath was quite taken away by the sight of the abbey, beckoning to us from across the Sound of Iona. There followed a wonderful week of worship, discussion, music and conversation.
I remember in particular a simple act of worship on top of Dun-I, the highest point on Iona. The scene below us was glorious as we looked over to the nearby Mountains of Mull and a bit further away to the majestic Paps of Jura. We were able to pick many of the Western Isles - Tiree and Coll - the great hump of the Isle of Rhum – the Cuillins of Skye. What a beautiful place – could we not just stay here for ever?!
Our Leader said an emphatic “No!” He reminded us that Iona was an equipping place. It was for us like the mountain where the Risen Christ met his disciples – a sending place. We were pointed away beyond the mountains of Mull to the mainland – and to the towns and cities from which many of us had come. “Go there” he said “And live out there what you have encountered here!” Many of the young folk there had come from great urban sprawls and troubled inner city areas. It was quite a thought to leave Iona to return to grey streets and tower-bocks.
In just a week or two – as I write - we will be joining other congregations in the Cupar Cluster of Parishes and will be going on pilgrimage – travelling together - to Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne, like Iona – is a beautiful place. Like Iona, it is very much an equipping and sending place. We will, I am sure have a wonderful day there – and then we will be sent back to our parish, renewed and envisioned for the work of the Kingdom entrusted to us in this place.
If you haven’t been to church for a while, or if you don’t ever come, we have a special invitation for you. We are having special “Back to Church” Sundays – see announcement inside. We will be delighted to share a little of what we are doing - and of what we hope to do – in our parish and wider world. If you are a regular attender, maybe you could use these special services to bring someone along with you?
Come and join us – as we travel together as pilgrims, as followers of the Carpenter of Nazareth. God is anointing, equipping and appointing disciples to be sent out into the world to do Christ’s work and to live the Story. Church is an exciting place – but Church is always a sending place. At the end of every act of worship, God says to us in blessing – “Now get out there and live out there all that you have encountered here!”
All things Must Change!
“As recently as 2008, the General Assembly urged congregations, which were not already using the Model or Unitary Constitution, to review their practice and consider adopting one or the other. This was prompted by the need for local congregations to comply with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, which placed upon members of Kirk Sessions, Congregational Boards, Deacons’ Courts and Committees of Management the additional responsibility of Charity Trusteeship. With this comes a far greater need for transparency and simplicity in governance.” (Church of Scotland Website)
At the moment, our Kirk Session is exploring the possibility of moving over to a different system of running our church – the Unitary Constitution. This would do away with the Congregational Board and all business would be handled by the session.
Here is a short Q & A session.
Q: So this is some radical new idea emanating from 121 George Street then?
A: Wrong actually! Far from being a radical new idea, it is the more traditional way of running the church, sometimes called the “Auld Kirk” Model. This was the model operated by the Church in which I grew up as a boy. The session handled all business - there was no Board. Our CKS model is more of a “Free Kirk” model actually – it probably came into wide use in the Church of Scotland when most of the Free Church came back into the C of S in 1929. Many brought this model with them.
Q: But why introduce the Unitary system to CKS?
A: Partly because changes in Charities Law make it highly desirable – see quote at the top. It is also a better system. It doesn’t waste human resources and energy in the way that the current system does! A full complement of the Board is some forty people – but in a meeting most are cast very much in the role of spectators.
Q: How is the unitary system better?
A: We divide into teams according to interests, talents and expertise. Teams would normally be led by an elder but the team can draw on the talents of anyone within the membership – and beyond if appropriate!
Q: What would these teams be?
A: At the moment we are having a “trial run” of the kind of things we would be doing under the Unitary Constitution. We have three teams – Fabric and Finance, Fellowship and Outreach and Worship – looking after these areas of church life. We are running this trial up to the AGM of 2018. If we decide to adopt the UC, we will need more teams – but many will only have three or four members – and remember, they can draw on a deep pool of gifts and talents from beyond the eldership!
Q: Will this not make for lengthy meetings?
A: No, it should make them shorter, actually. The donkey work will have been done by the committees before the session meets and short reports relating to actions to be taken will have been circulated. At the meeting, these will be taken as read. Only controversial proposals will need any real discussion.
Q: Sorry, I’m not convinced. If it’s not broken, why mend it?
A: It may not actually be broken, but is certainly not working efficiently for us. It is very wasteful of time and energy. In the wake of the changes in the Charities law, the Church is urging us to take this step. If we don’t do it now, it is very likely that it will be insisted upon during the vacancy following my retirement in the (very!) early 2020’s. Would it not be better to do it now – and at a more leisurely pace than wait until it is forced upon us?
Q: You haven’t convinced me.
A: Join a team then – what are you particularly interested in….?!