This session meeting was an extra meeting – mainly to consider the question of appraisal & adjustment. As you probably know – we are now facing a serious shortage of ministers and radical steps will need to be taken to resolve how the current supply of ministers is shared fairly among congregations.
There were a number of meetings held by presbytery to look at possible ways forward and at our meeting we were presented with the 2 most likely to work options.
1. The creation of Hubs (ours to be John Knox, St Columba’s and Kilmaurs)
2. A series of adjustments (Unions) to reduce the total number of ministries required (our local one would be John Knox & St Columba’s)
When discussed at session – there was merit in either, but we probably favoured the Hub idea.
Representatives of John Knox attended the final presbytery meeting and, after much discussion, the majority of presbytery decided to go for the adjustment (union) option. This means that the plan for Stewarton going forward is that John Knox will have a union with St Columba’s which will take place after Gavin’s ministry ends.
It should be noted that
There will need to be further discussion between the 2 churches as to how this takes place
The question of which buildings to use will be decided by a presbytery committee who will be conducting a review of all church buildings
The Stewarton churches made the point that this could only succeed and be radical if we had to pay less in Ministries and Mission (M&M) contributions to the church centrally as well as less central control of conduct of services
Finance – The treasurer confirmed our projected deficit of £13,000 for this year (this includes an increase of £3000 in our M & M payments to central church this year). We urgently need to find grant money for our youth work expenses.
Small hall – session agreed to go ahead with the replacement of roof in small hall
New elders – We have 13 prospective new elders undergoing some training before deciding finally if they wish to continue to become elders.
Graham Whitham, Session Clerk