By Esther Green
We may not have a minister, but we remain a busy and active parish here at Kirk of Keith: St Rufus, Botriphnie and Grange.
In fact, it is very much “business as usual” within our churches, as we continue to meet for regular worship, come together for meetings and group events and get involved in the life of our wider community too.
We appreciate the support, input and leadership we receive from Interim Moderator the Rev Alastair Gray and parish assistant Eckhardt Bosch and although our charge has been vacant for three years, time hasn’t stood still.
Our nominating committee, of which I am a member, has been creative in its outlook and thinking around how to attract a new minister. At a time when there are so many other vacant charges within the Church of Scotland – within our own Moray Presbytery we are one of seven churches looking for our next incumbent – we knew we would have to work hard at ‘selling ourselves’ in order to be noticed.
One of the more unusual actions we came up with was creating a catchy song and video to make a direct appeal to clergy to “Come See What’s Going On” in our corner of Scotland.
The video provides a snapshot of kirk life, having been filmed during the day of our biggest annual fundraiser, the Christmas Fayre. This event is months in the planning and sees the wider community get behind us in our efforts, assisting at the many stalls or in serving morning coffees or lunch, donating goods or coming along and spending their money at the sales tables.
The story behind making our film generated a great deal of media interest, and the clip was widely viewed on social media by thousands of people both at home and abroad, resulting in lots of kind messages of support and encouragement in our quest to find a minister. I like to hope the video also reminded our own church folk what a happy, hardworking bunch we all are!
The nominating committee has tried more conventional routes, like advertising in the recruitment pages of the Church of Scotland’s Life and Work magazine on several occasions. We created fliers about our vacancy and had these have been widely circulated, too.
The vacancy helped us move forward on long-talked about plans of setting up a church website and since becoming fully operational this has provided a useful channel to share information and news to help provide a reference and vehicle for news, views and goings on in our parish.
So while we may not have a full-time minister at the moment, it’s still very much business as usual – you simply need to look at our weekly intimations sheet to see the wide range of things that are coming up.
There’s no such thing as a typical week but looking at a seven day period this month – May – and you’ll find a Christian Aid Coffee Morning at St Rufus Hall and the Guild’s annual sponsored walk and silence raising funds for Guild projects that same afternoon, which will be followed by the ladies meeting for a meal at the Grampian Hotel.
On the Sunday there will be services of worship at St Rufus Church, Grange Church and Weston View Care Home. On the Tuesday night is a Bible Study Group on the Thursday afternoon the Fly and Friendship Group will meet.
That’s a typical window offering a view on our week; there’s always lots of different things going on.
2018 is Scotland’s year of young people and looking ahead to June, we will a firm focus on the kirk’s youth with the youth group and Sunday Club prizegivings, the youth group meal and the eagerly-awaited family picnic to Hopeman.
The summer holidays are no time to rest up either, as the annual fun week for primary children, supported by youth group and adult volunteers, takes place from August 7-10. The theme this year is “Razzamatazz Robots”.
Rest assured, our efforts to find the next minister of our charge are continuing and to that end our nominating committee continues to meet, brainstorm and look at ways of attracting the right candidate. We are still meeting and looking at what other mechanisms we can use to keep our parish to the fore.
We feel that our parish, district and wider Moray area has so much to offer, and sometimes we need to remind the community – and ourselves – that there’s always room for more people to come along and join our groups or get involved in what we do.
There’s lots of ways in which people can volunteer, even on an occasional basis, without feeling tied and committed.
Naturally, we’d love to see more people coming along to our Sunday services, too, as that’s a great way to enjoy fellowship, keep up with what’s going on and it’s a chance to pick up the weekly intimations sheet which lists all that’s going on.