My Dear Friends,

This is likely to be my final letter in the series on the future shape of the church. There are other things to write about; and it is time to move on. I do hope, however, that some of what I have said has triggered off thoughts and ideas in you own minds; and it may well be that further discussion would be beneficial. Indeed, a number of you have already been in touch wondering how we can get together to process our thinking. I know that the Presbytery has plans in mind to facilitate and stimulate such discussion within local groupings. There is no reason why our individual Kirk Sessions cannot take the initiative. Again, our sister churches have a liaison committee; and that would seem a suitable forum in which to think ahead. If sufficient people feel strongly enough, please let me know and I can set up a short series of meetings to act as a local catalyst.

How is the church of the future to be organised and administered? All across Scotland there is a move towards bigger Presbyteries with a wider pool of manpower, expertise and resources. In our own area, the presbyteries of Perth, Dunkeld and Meigle, Angus, Dundee, and Stirling are in conversations to merge into one new Presbytery of Strathmore by the start of 2022.

At a more local level, a committee of our own Presbytery has already given much thought to the idea of a group of congregations within Perth city centre combining under a team ministry. There would be a HUB – or heart or centre; and some outlying stations for worship and mission. I know that Presbytery would like us to talk more about this; but the covid restrictions have made it very difficult to come together to share.

In every area of life change is inevitable. Sometimes change is a long, slow and gradual process. At other times it is thrust upon us suddenly and rapidly. One thing is surely clear. The church as it is – the church as we have known and loved it – cannot continue without adapting to the new and changing circumstances in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that more co-operation and collaboration is required; and a greater pulling of resources. We cannot survive with the old model of “you in your small corner and I in mine.”

Liz joins me in sending our love,

Every Blessing,