Weekend of Invitation
On Tuesday 23rd October, Michael Harvey will be in Inverness helping church leaders with establishing a culture in our churches not just of welcome, but of invitation. Scott McRoberts is part of the Why Believe? group in the Church of Scotland, looking at ways we can equip the Church with confidence in mission and evangelism. "As a group, we are investing heavily in partnering with Michael as he seeks to establish a connection with as many Church of Scotland congregations as possible who want to go beyond being welcoming and become truly, intentionally inviting."
If you, or some in your church, are free to come to the evening, you are assured that from experience of training with Michael this will be a fruitful and potentially transformational thing for your church to engage with. Bookings can be made following the link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/weekend-of-invitation-roadshow-tickets-49844881382?ref=elink.
The new Moderator-Designate once appeared as an extra in a Monty Python film! Rev Colin Sinclair, minister of Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh for more than 20 years, is expected to take over the year-long role of Moderator at the General Assembly next May.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a parish minister and despite the challenges we face I believe the Christian faith is still relevant to Scotland.”
Mr Sinclair was an economics student at Stirling University when he took a holiday job as a film extra playing a Roman soldier in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which caused some controversy among church-goers at the time.
Growing up in Glasgow, he had first become interested in the Christian faith by accident as he tried to escape getting into trouble at school. A prefect at Glasgow Academy had seen him taking the wrong staircase, so he dodged into a darkened room, only to find a video being shown about a Scripture Union camp.
“I enjoyed the film, thought the activities looked great and I felt I could put up with the ‘religious stuff ’,” he said. “I did love the camp and had great fun, and I liked the leaders. But to my surprise I also enjoyed the meetings with their lively singing and straightforward message about Jesus Christ. So started an exciting adventure of faith that has lasted over 50 years.”
When the idea of being a minister was first suggested he dismissed it. “I thought ministry was about having tea with old ladies, so as I wasn’t interested in either tea or old ladies I thought it wasn’t for me.”
During his time at university he changed his mind and was accepted to train for the Church of Scotland ministry at New College in Edinburgh. Before he started his studies, however, he was approached by Scripture Union and asked if he would consider going to Zambia as a training officer in an exchange that would allow two Zambian students to study in the UK. He decided it was an offer he could not refuse.
The job, which involved travelling around Zambia, living out of his car and speaking at schools, churches, hospitals and colleges, ended up lasting three years. “Those three years changed my life,” said Mr Sinclair. “Being away from everything familiar I was able to sort out which parts of my faith were mine, and which were not.”
What does your Church provide?
Robyn Teago of Inverness Street Pastors says, "I am trying to compile a list of Churches who offer support in any way to people in need that the Street Pastors may meet in Inverness. Remember, not all the people that we meet are homeless, people will often talk to us and let us know that they are struggling with debt, relationships and the like. Some just need a decent meal, some need counselling, some are new to the area and just want to make new friends. We met and spoke to over 4000 people last year!
"Do you have a group in your Church who can help those in need? Does your Church have a free meal available for anyone? If so I would appreciate hearing from you."
Contact Robyn at email@example.com or phone 07752 099966
Pastoral Supervisors Training 2019
Urgent: Immediate Attention Required
Installation and Upgrading of AV Equipment and/or Lighting to Church of Scotland Churches and Halls
The Church of Scotland General Trustees have recently been notified of an issue relating to the installation of an AV and lighting system within a church building. The issues reported relate to the quality of the equipment installed and the potential health and safety risks arising from the installation.
The General Trustees are currently investigating these concerns and in the meantime, we are requesting that Presbyteries notify either the General Trustees or CARTA before any works begin. The reason for this is so that both parties can be assured that the planned works are not directly linked with the works currently being investigated. Contact Brian Auld (BAuld@churchofscotland.org.uk) or Judith Roebuck (JRoebuck@churchofscotland.org.uk) in the first instance.
Presbyteries are reassured that the Trustees believe that this is an isolated incident, however they do have a duty of care and responsibility to ensure that any works undertaken in church buildings are appropriate.
Ring out the bells
Congregations throughout Britain are asked to ring the church bell(s) at 11:00 am on Sunday 11th November to mark the 100th anniversary of the cessation of World War 1. There is moe information at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nations-bells-to-ring-out-together-to-mark-armistice-centenary
FUNERAL SERVICE Fees
The Presbytery is concerned to direct ministers and congregations to the report that the General Assembly of 2007 received from the Legal Questions Committee which included a statement regarding fees for funerals. Practice of late within the Presbytery has been slack in this regard.
There are two aspects of the charging of fees. The first relating to parish ministers (including associate and assistant ministers, deacons and the like) within their regular ministry, and secondly to ministers and others taking an occasional funeral, for instance by private invitation or in the course of pastoral cover of another parish.
Overall, the bereaved should not have to pay a fee for a minister of the Church of Scotland to conduct a funeral of their loved one. Either this is part of the parish minister's duty and for which he or she is paid already to do. If the parish minister or interim moderator is not available to conduct the funeral and someone else has to take it, the congregation are responsible to pay that other person (if appropriate) and not the bereaved family.
Ministers in receipt of a living
The Legal Questions Committee in 2007 believed that the position of the minister of a parish, and of other paid staff on the ministry team of a parish, is clear. The Third Declaratory Article affirms the responsibility of the Church of Scotland to provide the ordinances of religion through its territorial ministry, while the stipend system (and, for other staff members, the salary) provides a living that enables that ministry to be exercised without charging fees for services conducted. The implication of this principle is that no family in Scotland should ever be charged for the services of a Church of Scotland minister at the time of bereavement. Clearly, therefore, no minister in receipt of a living should be charging separately (effectively being paid doubly) for any such service.
A related question is raised about the highly-varied culture of gift-giving in different parts of the country. The Committee believes it would be unwise to seek to regulate this. In some places, an attempt to quash a universal and long-established practice would seem ungracious, while in other places there is no such practice, and encouragement in that direction would seem indelicate.
A second related question was raised about funeral directors charging for the services of the minister. The Committee believes that Presbyteries should make it clear to funeral directors that, in the case of Church of Scotland funerals, such a charge should not be made.
Ministers conducting occasional services
Turning to the position of ministers who do not receive a living that enables them to conduct funerals without charge, the Committee’s starting point is the principle articulated above that no bereaved person should have to pay for the services of a minister. The territorial ministry and the parish system of this Church mean that a bereaved family should not find itself being contingently charged because the parish minister happens to be unavailable, or because the parish is vacant.
Where a funeral is being conducted as part of the ministry of the local parish, but where for any reason another minister is taking it and not otherwise being paid, it is the responsibility of the congregation (through its financial body) to ensure that appropriate fees and expenses are met. Where that imposes a financial burden upon a congregation because of the weight of pastoral need, the need should be considered in calculating the resource-needs of that parish in the course of updating the Presbytery plan.
Where a congregation has to call upon the services of a minister not already in receipt of a stipend, or other suitably qualified person, to conduct a funeral, a fee of £60 may be paid by the congregation. On no account should such a fee be charged to the family of the deceased. For the avoidance of doubt, no fee may be offered to or received by a serving Parish Minister for the conduct of a funeral service, whether in their own or another parish.
The Committee believed that these principles could also be applied to the conduct of weddings and are perfectly compatible with the Guidelines on that subject.
Confident Christianity Conference
Do you sometimes find the idea of evangelism a little frightening?
The Confident Christianity conference in Dundee on November 3rd will help you become bolder and more enthusiastic in talking about Jesus with friends.
Solas Centre for Public Christianity and Central Baptist Church, Dundee; are delighted to announce the speaking team for this conference, who bring an impressive wealth of personal experience and scholarly insight to their subjects.
On questions of science and questions of suffering, we have Dr. Sharon Dirckx, from the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
On human sexuality: Dr Ben Thomas, a Consultant in Neuro Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia at University Hospital, Southampton has two sessions, firstly “Sex and Salvation: A Story of Personal Transformation” and “Sharing the Gospel with LGBT Friends, Colleagues and Family”.
On cultural engagement with today’s world: Dr Mark Stirling from the Chalmers Institute in St Andrews, brings his academic rigour together with his experience of church-planting in contemporary Scotland, together for us. While Solas’ own director, Dr Andy Bannister will help us to relate the gospel to our peers, faithfully and persuasively.
Tickets are moving fast, but are still available on our website, along with more details of the times, speakers, subjects and venue.
Tickets and more info
Special Ticket Offer!
A generous donation to Solas has meant that a number of tickets for “Confident Christianity” can be given away freely! This is to help ensure that students, those on low incomes and young people are not excluded by cost.
If you would like to claim free tickets (max 2 per person), please contact Solas firstname.lastname@example.org or 01382 525021.
"We believe that Sat November 3rd will be a significant day, as we wrestle with these big questions; in the expectation that as we do so depending on The Lord; we will grow in our understanding, faith and confidence in Him. We hope that you will join us as we seek to be increasingly ‘full of grace and truth’, faithful ambassadors for Christ in a world that needs Him. Please also pass this message on to others in your churches and families, who might appreciate the invitation to join us there.
"We look forward to seeing you on November 3rd."
- The next ordinary meeting of Presbytery is on Tuesday 20 November, 2018 at 7:00pm
- The Business Committee meets on Tuesday 6 November at 7:00pm
- The Ministry Committee meets on Thursday 1 November at 2:00pm
- The Property Committee meets on Tuesday 6 November at 2:00pm and on Tuesday 4 December at 2:00pm
All the above meet at Inverness Inshes Church on the dates and at the times shown