The Church of Scotland is currently going through a major time of reformation as it shapes itself for church life in Scotland in the 21st century. It is a challenging process as we have the weight of much tradition and history on our shoulders, but also the central purpose to be a living witness to the love of God as shown in Jesus Christ within our modern world.
This reformation is taking place at a national level with much change within the central management of the Church of Scotland, at a regional level with the formation of new Presbyteries such as our own Presbytery of the North East and the Northern Isles, and at a local level betweeen congregations. Planning for the future at a local level has been the focus of new Presbytery Mission Plans such as the one created by the former Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland of which our congregation was a part (download here). This was approved in September 2022.
Prior to this, and under the previous plan that had been agreed in 2020, Ferryhill Parish Church's Kirk Session had been in discussion with South Holburn and Ruthrieston West congregations. When the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland introduced further reductions to staffing posts then this had to be re-thought and the result was that South Holburn and Ferryhill looked towards closer working with the City Centre and West End congregations. These discussions have been developing over the past year with the intention of creating a new congregation from the former Ferryhill, South Holburn and St Mark's congregations. The West End congregations are also seeking to form a new congregation between Holburn West, Midstocket, Queen's Cross and Rubislaw. The goal thereafter will be to work together as a parish grouping on particular areas of shared interest.
Representatives from Ferryhill, South Holburn and St Mark's churches have been working hard to lay the groundwork for a new future as a single congregation, including various joint services and social events so we can start to get to know each other better, and working on the practical side of things, which includes the creation of the legal documents required for a union, the Basis of Union and a Basis of Team Ministry.
You can download copies of both:
BASIS OF UNION
BASIS OF TEAM MINISTRY
Note that Rev David Stewart and Rev Peter Johnston have written a joint letter which appears in the new issue of Parish News, on page 4. You can download that issue here. It may answer some of the questions that will arise. However, if you have any other questions, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
The intention is for the creation of a new congregation, Devana Parish Church, and aiming for Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 2023, as the first Sunday of that new congregation. In order to do that, each of the three congregations will be asked to vote (only church members can vote) following morning worship on Sunday 26 March 2023 in favour of the two Bases. Only if both are accepted by all three congregations will matters proceed.