Presbytery Update 6 May 2024

Hello everyone,

Last week I had the privilege of attending the first Scottish Church Planting Conference held in P’s and G’s in Edinburgh. Over two days hundreds of people gathered to hear from those who were planting churches, drawn from all denominations.  We had many workshops, key note speakers, worship, good coffee and lots of chat. There were a lot of people from the Church of Scotland there which was very encouraging.

A core question was what does it means to plant a church? Every denomination seems to have developed its own methodology and regulations but there was a basic understanding it was talking to other people about Jesus and those people coalescing into a group. So we are not talking about individual worship, rather corporate, not talking about building a tall steeple but rather coming together as a group of people in a persons home or the village hall or any space where you can be dry and warm. The atmosphere at the conference was palpably positive. People did not lament that less than 3% of the population now attend church, rather they thanked God for the chance to reach the 97% who don’t.


I was reminded of the scripture where Paul goes to the Areopagus in Athens, (Acts 18:22-31) He was in a city so pagan it even had an alter to the unknown God. He could easily have lamented how far down the pagan road they had gone but he didn’t. He could have castigated then and called them out as being under the judgement of God, but he didn’t. Rather he saw the opportunity.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.”


There is no doubt that we live in challenging times and being part of the Church in Scotland is not easy. Do you lament what we had yesterday or are you excited about what tomorrow might bring? We’ve never had so much opportunity to speak of Jesus to people as we have today. My hope and prayer is that we as a Presbytery will be brave enough to grasp the opportunity and not be scared of what we might have lost.

Below you will find various bits of news that should be of interest to you and your church. Remember we are happy for these emails to be shared far and wide.

If you Kirk Session has yet to respond on the question of what training you might need, we are looking for responses from everyone! These will feed into the ongoing training provided.
Not all Kirk Sessions have appointed a representative elder or suggested someone as a balancing elder, don’t forget please.

God Bless

Norman Smith
Presbytery Clerk

Whilst at the conference one of the workshops I attended was on funding sources for churches. Below is a screengrab of trusts you might find useful. Check out Christian Funders Forum For the list below just google individual trusts and remember Peter and I are here to help if you need help with applications.



Here is a video of a Church of Scotland minister engaged in church planting in Forres. Peter has particular expertise in this area so get in touch with him!!!

For prayer this week we have

Presbytery Prayer Calendar

May 5th      Dunglass

We remember in prayer this week the leadership and all involved in the life of this community:

Especially with the toil of selling two buildings and becoming part of a deferred union. For

the Moderator’s visit on a Christian Aid Sunday, to recognise the long service of several elders.


May 12th    Duns and District Parishes

We remember in prayer this week the leadership and all involved in the life of this community:

Give thanks for the growth in regular attenders at Messy Church and the link that is developing with Kirk Kids, the Wednesday toddler group.



‘Starting to Stir’ -Darin Stevens

Last Thursday Darin led us in thinking about how Christian faith relates to the lives & questions of folks around us today in 2024.

In a clearly argued talk Darin presents the idea that we need to start ‘further back’ and to consider stirring curiosity in folks by focussing upon our shared spirituality.

Link to the recording is here.



Anyone looking for supply in summer of 25 see below. Someone offering to cover if you let them live in the manse.

Dear Rev. Smith,


I got your name and contact information off the Church of Scotland website.


I am a United Church of Canada Minister in British Columbia, and I have a sabbatical coming up next Spring/Summer, and my family and I are looking to spend part of it in the U.K. Scotland is preferred, as my wife and I both have Scottish family roots.


I don’t know if you have the same practice in the Church of Scotland, but in some of our Canadian Reformed Churches, Ministers will sometimes do “Pulpit Supply” for congregations as their regular Ministers take vacation, or if the congregation is remote or doesn’t have a regular Minister.


We will be taking care of our flights and all expenses, but it’s accommodations that would be the more difficult cost. The arrangement I have in mind would be to spend say 1 month preaching and leading worship in a place in exchange for free accommodations. Or, alternatively, we could trade homes with a local Minister who might be interested in a “preaching vacation.” I could provide references for my preaching if quality is a concern!


Is this something you might be able to help me with, or could point me to the right person? We’d love to see your part of the country.


Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Ryan Slifka

Coordinating Minister

St. George's United Church

Courtenay, British Columbia
office: 250-334-4961 | cell: 778-585-2084




Attached is advance publicity for the Siskin Green Concert  7.30-8.30PM on Friday 10th May in Tranent Parish Church (doors open at 7PM)

  • a poster (PDF)
  • a JPEG for church website or Facebook
  • a WORD document which might be printed on weekly notices
  • a Powerpoint slide for church projected notices

The Group featured on BBC Songs of Praise and Reflections at the Quay with 2023 performances at the SOLAS Festival


It should be a fantastic Gig!


Folks can check out some of the videos and buy tickets on the Siskin Green website Home | Siskin Green


For car parking we suggest the best place is off the Bankton Junction at Tranent Mains Road by Tranent Cemetery with a short walk up to Tranent Parish Church



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