Interim Ministry – ‘What’s it all about?’
I am delighted to be involved now as your Interim Minister in Holy Trinity linked with Boarhills & Dunino. Your warm welcome has been really encouraging and I already feel very much at home with a comfortable and bright flat in Lade Braes right in the middle of the town. Even over the past week I have been able to start visiting elders to begin to build a good working relationship with the Kirk Sessions and that will, hopefully, provide a good basis for the work we will do together over the months ahead:
• consolidating the new ‘linkage’ of Holy Trinity with Boarhills & Dunino
• helping to build respectful relationships
• looking at options for the future life and witness of the congregations.
To my mind this is exciting work and all at the very heart of the Gospel.
WHAT DO WE EACH NEED TO OFFER?
One really important thing in Interim Ministry is that people listen and show patient respect of different points of view in all discussions. Where there is misunderstanding this is so often because there has been misinformation built up over time and this can be a real blockage to any progress. I look to everyone to make sure that our meetings will be held in a respectful spirit showing our Christ-like character.
Your prayers are also very important as we move through this really exciting and important chapter in the lives of the two congregations.
2 Corinthians 5 verse 18 might offer a good guide for our work together in Interim Ministry and I invite you to meditate on these words to allow them to be very much present in our attitude to one another:
“God reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES MEETING IN FEBRUARY
It is really important to understand that Interim Ministry will involve all members and friends of the congregation and it will be a very open process. In February we will have an ‘Aims and Objectives’ meeting to which all will be invited. This meeting of congregations will set out the main issues for discussion and consideration and though these ‘Aims and Objectives’ may change over time they will keep us focussed on what really matters as we look to the future with a sense of God’s guiding and vision.
A group of seven people will support us through the period of Interim Ministry This group will meet with the congregations through the year in order to get some sense of how things are progressing. Its members include 3 from Presbytery, 3 from Church of Scotland Ministries Council and a supporting Interim Minister. Once the Aims and Objectives have been achieved the group will recommend that the process of calling a future parish minister can be started.
HOW LONG MIGHT THE INTERIM MINISTRY PERIOD LAST?
Typically Interim Ministry might last for 18 months but it is very important not to disengage before issues are properly worked through and some Interim Ministries have been for over two years. Where we are asking members to invest time and energy we certainly want to make sure that this good effort is not wasted by not following through to a satisfactory point for moving forward.
I will provide a regular UPDATE newssheet to make sure that everyone is kept fully in the picture and I hope, through time, to meet as many people as possible to hear their different ideas and points of view.
Yours in Christ’s name,
Rev Russell McLarty – Interim Minister