Magazine for June 2014

The latest edition of our church magazine is now available online. This is a downloadable PDF file.

Please contact us if you would like a printed copy.

Here is the minister’s letter from the magazine, which previews changes coming in the life of the congregation.

Dear friends,

There are lots of things in this magazine, but there are two items which are important for us as we look to the future of our congregation.

With the appointment of a new treasurer, Sandy Cumming, and the decision to employ a book-keeper, we are starting to gain a clearer picture of our finances. Furthermore, the Session has decided that there should be a stewardship programme in the autumn, which will ask us to think about our financial giving.

There is no doubt that people support churches which have a clear vision. The other important article is the report which our Linda Philip, our Session Clerk, wrote for the recent Kirk Session conference. She highlights the ways in which we have been able to change our ways of working, and the fact that we are now operating with a church plan to inform our decision-making.

At the Session conference on 7 June, we particularly discussed the question of worship. There is no doubt that while most of enjoy and are nourished by the worship of our congregation, we are sadly unable to encourage many others to join us in our worship. We are seeing fewer people at our Sunday services, because even although new people do join us, they are not enough to replace those who are leaving us for whatever reason.

As a result, and after much discussion, the Session unanimously decided that our main priority this year should be to develop worship at St Stephen’s towards a less formal and more contemporary form of worship, while developing and maintaining the formal style of worship at Old High. We have a number of ideas for doing this, but we will be spending time finding out about developments in the wider church to see what models might work for us, and to learn how to implement the changes we need. Our Leadership Team will take this forward, and no doubt you will hear- and see- more about this as time goes on.

There is a real feeling in our Session that we need to take decisive steps in new directions. We do not yet have a clear plan of where those steps will take us, but it is very clear that the status quo will not do. My sense is that the Session now wants to lead us into a new and exciting stage of the development of our congregation, in which we use our two worship centres in creative ways.

The Israelites on the way to the Promised Land sometimes yearned for the fleshpots of Egypt. Jesus’ disciples often misunderstood him has he led them towards Jerusalem. When God leads his people in new ways it is not always comfortable. But it is exciting. I’m certainly excited, because I feel we are stepping out on the most exciting stage of our journey together so far.

May God bless you and yours, Peter