IPresbytery of St Andrew
Local Church Review 2017
CERES, KEMBACK & SPRINGFIELD
Rev Jim Campbell was inducted to the charge of Ceres, Kemback & Springfield in 2010. The congregation has a membership of 398 and a weekly attendance at worship of around 75. There are three places of worship serving seven small villages. Central to the plans for this congregation is the task of identifying the strengths of each place of worship and working to these strengths while not ignoring the need to review what buildings are required. In addition to the minister, the congregation has a Families Worker (until February 2018) and a part time Youth Worker (6 hours per week) plus some secretarial and pastoral support.
There is very varied programme of activity with 2 or 3 services each Sunday. Activities include Messy Church, Sunday Night Reflective, Open Air services, a Pet service, a ‘Woodland Church’ plus Sanctuary@Ceres – a time for readings, music and meditation. One united service is held in one place of worship on the 5th Sunday of the month and on some special occasions. A Worship Group helps with worship on a regular basis. We acknowledge that, the pattern of Sunday worship is complex with a service in Ceres every week and Kemback & Springfield in alternate weeks – hence the need to consider how the pattern of worship could be changed taking into consideration the strength and weaknesses of each place of worship. Other initiatives of the congregation are: Monday Soup Lunches, Church and Community Film Group, Bowls & Blether in Kemback, regular children’s workshop in the manse, an Easter egg hunt, and a youth club with 20 young people attending.
The congregation has an outward looking ethos. It has funded 7 houses for the Build a House campaign, it supports Christian Aid, Mary’s Meals, Cupar Food Bank, Smile Train, Mercy Ships, Leprosy Mission and Blythswood Boxes as well as Mission Partners in Zambia.
Pastoral care is provided by the minister and Families worker and by elders districts, though there is a desire to review this approach which is considered unsustainable. The Minister and the Families Worker are also involved in the local schools - Ceres Primary, Craigrothie & Springfield and the minister is also part of the chaplaincy team at Bell Baxter School. On a cluster level, the congregation organises a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne and participates in joint activity at Easter with the Cupar Churches.
Financial and human resources are an ongoing issue. The congregation benefits from the Springfield Bequest which funds the Families Worker but at the same time increases the commitment to Ministry and Mission.
The property owned by the congregation at present is 3 churches, 3 halls, a beadle’s cottage and a manse, though work is being done with the General Trustees to reduce the number of buildings. Plans are underway leading towards the sale of the Ceres Session House while refurbishment is planned for Ceres and Springfield – all dependent on funds being available. Plans are also in hand for the hall in Kemback to be taken over by local trustees.
A challenge for this congregation is to encourage people in each community to see themselves as one united congregation - with 3 places of worship.
The LCR Team were invited to work with the congregation on their Action Plan. Following that workshop a carefully thought through Action Plan was draw up in which main targets were identified and how to achieve them. We believe that will be a very helpful tool.
This is a congregation with a lot of activity and a great desire to develop in an appropriate way for the future while acknowledging the challenges that brings.
The ideas that emerged from this consultation were:
CUPAR ST JOHN’S & DAIRSIE UNITED
Rev Jan Steyn was inducted to the united charge of Cupar St John’s & Dairsie United in December 2011 and these years saw a growth in life and activity. The situation in the charge has, of course, changed with the departure of minister. However, the Local Church Review Team is grateful for the work that has been done on this LCR process and we believe that work can be of real benefit during a time of vacancy.
The congregation of Cupar St John’s & Dairsie United has a membership of 680 with a weekly attendance at worship of around 150. There are 2 morning services one in Dairsie and one in Cupar. On the first Sunday of the month in Dairsie this take the form of Café Church. There is a mid-week service taken by the minister and a small group of members in rotation.
The congregation has 5 Teams to lead its work: Faith Matters (which supports worship), Fellowship and Outreach, Property, Communication and Finance. A review of these Teams and their remits is planned but this has not yet happened. This, in part, has made it difficult for the Kirk Session to pull together a definitive Action Plan and we would encourage further work to be done on that.
The buildings of the congregation are in good condition and there is a five year property maintenance plan. Congregational finances are adequate for the current work of the church and there are no plans in place for a stewardship campaign because of major fund raising required in the last 4 years.
This congregation has an outward looking approach to the community. Activities include a Ceilidh for migrant workers employed at local farms, the blackboard at the front of the church used to share messages with the community and the encouragement given to members of the congregation to be involved in community organisations. The minister has also been chaplain to Dairsie Primary School and has shared chaplaincy at Castlehill Primary School, Bell Baxter Secondary School and Elmwood College. Ecumenical events include: Holiday Club, Messy Church, "5th Sunday" evening service, Easter Week services, a Town Christmas Carol Service and a meeting to which an Imam from Edinburgh was invited.
The congregation supports Christian Aid and a number of overseas partners – Keith & Ida Waddell, along with work in Uganda and Lesotho.
The deepening of faith is encouraged through the Bible Study, ‘a Bible book a month’ initiative and a fortnightly course for discussion and study on the basic themes of each book of the Bible.
One initiative led by the minister was to find funds to produce a book of stories from the life of the Church. Called ‘Inside Stories’ this has been a very successful project.
Pastoral care is provided through traditional elders districts, but there are many other ways in which the congregation respond to the needs of others. These include: the distribution of flowers each Sunday and the Drop-in for dementia sufferers and their families, the Busy Hands Group, House Group, Tea Dances, and Badminton.
A concern for the congregation has been a) the difficulty of growing the children’s and youth groups, and b) the missing generation of people in their 20’s and 30’s. The congregation has been willing to try new ideas to help with this task. For example, an application for funding for a youth worker to be shared by Cupar Old Parish Church and Cupar Baptist Church was made – to everyone’s disappointment, unfortunately turned down.
This is a congregation with a lot going on and we would encourage them to build their Action Plan and, as much as possible, keep up the momentum gained in recent years.
The ideas that emerged from this consultation were:
CUPAR OLD & ST MICHAEL OF TARVIT
Cupar Old and St Michael of Tarvit is a church with a long history seeking to serve the congregation and community in relevant and meaningful ways. Central to this is the church itself and the Old Parish Centre which is well used by church and community. Around 10 years ago, the congregation was in a time of huge development and activity with large sums of money being raised for projects at home and abroad. With that period of intense activity coming to an end, the congregation is now in a different situation and looking to build a new vision for the future.
The congregation was linked with Monimail in January 2015 and the present minister Rev Jeff Martin was inducted in February 2016. The staff team consists of the minister, and a secretary providing admin support – plus those in voluntary roles.
The congregation has a membership of 562 with a weekly attendance of around 150. There is one service each Sunday with an evening informal service on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. In months when there is a 5th Sunday, evening worship is held ecumenically involving all the clergy from the town.
The properties are well maintained and there is a five year plan for the church, Parish Centre and manse.
The financial situation of the congregation means that there are adequate funds for the work that needs to be done. There is an annual gift day although the last formal stewardship programme was 5 years ago,
Pastoral Care is provided through elder’s districts and a pastoral care team who work with the minister. New mums are visited and encouraged to attend the TOTS group. The Minister is involved with shared chaplaincy at Castlehill, Bell Baxter Secondary School, and Elmwood College and also in the local nursing homes where services are held on a rota basis.
Christian education and fellowship are supported by various activities: For children and young people there is a Sunday Club and Buddies (P4 – S1); several house groups, a branch of The Guild and a prayer ministry team. There is also a designated prayer area in the sanctuary and in the parish centre.
Involvement with the wider church in Cupar comes through shared ecumenical activity for Holy Week, a town Christmas service and Messy church which rotates round the churches in Cupar. At present the congregation has no involvement with the world church though they do support Christian Aid.
The Local Church Review coincided with the first year of a new ministry under Rev Jeff Martin. In some ways the timing was difficult, but in other ways it encouraged a task that the Minister and Kirk Session wanted to undertake, that of identifying priorities and goals under various headings. Meetings were organised on these areas of church life and a list of potential goals was identified. As things stand at present, the Kirk Session has not yet been able to decide on priorities because there is too much to take on at once. It was agreed that the Kirk Session needed time to work on these priorities and that the LCR Team would meet with the Kirk Session when that had been done.
This congregation plays an important part in its parish. It is clearly in a time of vision building for the future. We acknowledge the hard work that is being put into that task and would encourage them in it.
The ideas that emerged from this consultation were:
Monimail has gone through a period of change and transition leading to the linkage with Cupar Old and the induction of Rev Jeff Martin to the linked charge in February 2016. There are 93 members on the communion roll but it is a very dispersed membership with only 30 living in the parish and an average of 18 attending worship which is held weekly at 9.30 am. There is a regular Sunday School of 3 children of varying ages which makes programming difficult. There is a recognition that Monimail lends itself to a more traditional style of worship but there is also a desire to explore new approaches to worship that might be relevant to the community and of interest to a wider group of people.
Letham Primary School uses the church for some special and end of term services and there is a hope that links between church and school that have somewhat fallen by the wayside in recent years, might be able to be rebuilt.
The presence of the church in the community is important but there is a need to find ways to address the task of evangelism in such a rural context. It is understood that there is no easy answer to this question but we encourage the Kirk Session to continue exploring the issue and asking the questions that might lead to a plan of action.
Monimail is hopeful that being part of the Cupar Cluster will benefit them by making people more aware of what is going on in a wider area and perhaps allowing for the sharing of ideas.
Pastoral care is provided by traditional elder’s districts and visits although the nature of the community is such that word of pastoral need travels quickly.
The church is well maintained and the Sunday School hut behind the church is considered fit for purpose. Having a village hall in Letham is a benefit to the congregation who use it for larger gatherings. There is a maintenance plan in place for the church property – updated annually.
Finances for the congregation are not easy. They are currently dealing with a deficit which arose over the period of vacancy and they are working to reduce it. There has been no stewardship project undertaken.
The Kirk Session feels that if they can maintain the life of the congregation over the next 5 years that would be a positive achievement. It remains an ongoing challenge for this congregation as to how it can develop, grow and build meaningful links with the parish it serves.
The main activity is Sunday worship, although the Action Plan suggests some ideas that might allow other opportunities for fellowship and learning. The small numbers inevitably make this tricky. The hope is that the congregation can encourage the use of the church by the community and build on the links with the Primary School and also with the Cupar Cluster.
The ideas that emerged from this consultation were:
Strategy & Resources’ Assessment & Response to the Cupar Cluster Local Church Review
St Andrews Presbytery
28th June, 2017
On behalf of the S&R Committee I begin this report by recording a very big thank you to the Local Church Review team, and to the ministers, office bearers and members of congregations in the
Cupar Cluster. The LCR team has been led by Rev Iain Goring, aided by Elizabeth Bracher, Eleanor Black and Ann Fraser. The Review opened on 1st June 2016 with a LCR Team presentation to a Cluster-wide meeting, and concluded earlier this month. It has taken a lot longer to conduct than was anticipated, and we have all learned lessons. It is part of the S&R remit to review the Local Church Review, and the Committee concurs with words drawn from the congregations in the Cupar Cluster: Kind, courteous and gracious mark the experience. From the committee’s perspective we have appreciated the ease in communicating between the Team and the Committee, and for collaborative, consultative practice which has made this pilot review easier and, therefore probably more effective, across the board. We too, as S&R are under review here, and there were times when we have been conscious of making things up as we went along - for example, the timing and order of meetings were agreed as stages un-folded, as needed.
Given the not so positive Quinquennial experiences recalled by some of the congregations, this new form of review and reflection has been reportedly better. A response from Ceres, Kemback and Springfield reads, All in all, the LCR was a huge improvement on the old QV. Too often this ended up as a mutual back-slapping exercise. A quote from St John’s & Dairsie United reads, the QV was largely a paper exercise and with no follow-up from Presbytery in the intervening years. The fact that the team leader comes out-with Presbytery, proves to have been beneficial, not least because of the objectivity and healthy distance this allows.
The model of LCR we adopted was the Edinburgh Presbytery model, and we anticipated changes. We are grateful to the LCR Team for drawing up two diagrams. The first demonstrates what has been done, and the second details S&R proposals to Presbytery for the timeline and process to be adopted as the new St Andrews Presbytery model for 2017/2018. It makes sense to review and tweak as time goes on. Beginning the LCR process at the beginning of June has not been helpful, and we propose 1st September, 2017 as the start date for the next Cluster review. This experience has demonstrated the need to take a whole year in the first instance. Once each Cluster has been through the LCR for the first time, following reviews should be shorter, building on what has already been agreed, and is anticipated.
S&R is grateful too, to the ministers and representatives of the Cupar congregations who earlier this month, met with S&R and gave valuable feedback, followed up with written reflections. Cupar was chosen for the pilot review because this time last year the Cluster enjoyed the most stability throughout the Presbytery with all charges having ministers in post. Admittedly, Rev Jeff Martin had newly been inducted to Cupar Old & St Michael of Tarvit and Monimail on 26th February, and there is no doubt from Jeff’s and the congregations’ experience that the timing of the Review brought challenges and some benefits. In his written reflection Jeff notes that, Though there was some benefit in having this Review begin shortly after I arrived to provide an introduction to the ministries of Monimail and Cupar Old, we had not really developed a strong partnership to
navigate the visioning process, and its effectiveness was diminished by our need to learn to work together. There were, however some gains in that the minister reflects that, We appreciated the willingness of the team to allow each parish to go through the process in a way that seemed most fitting for each.
In the feedback meeting at the beginning of this month, all congregational representatives said they realise changes in personnel happen unexpectedly, at any time - as happened following Rev Jan Steyn’s call to the Scots’ Kirk in Paris. Such hiatus is a part and parcel of church life, and the key here, we believe has been the LCR Team’s flexibility and listening, allowing for different touches and different speeds, as needed.
A plea came clearly from the experience of St John’s & Dairsie United to alter the timing of such Reviews. The beginning of June heralds a slow down in the lives of most congregations going
forward over the summer months, and in a written reflection, elder Roma More made the point: This meant that any momentum gathered (at the June presentation) was soon lost in the (Summertime) gap before the work began. It was particularly noted from this parish that, contrary to
expectations Sections 1 (Facts & Figures) & 2 (Our Church) were helpful: They proved to set a
useful context and also set a baseline measure for some of our changes. It is also reassuring to know we meet legislation surrounding health & safety, e.g. Safeguarding etc …
Importantly, a request for on-going help and support from Presbytery came through the feedback form all churches. It begs the question, perhaps of how S&R (and a.n. others?) Is helpful, while not being a nuisance! We did agree at the feedback meeting that S&R would meet with the Cupar Churches again in a year’s time for more reflection on experience and practice. We also heard that congregations would appreciate knowing that ‘there is someone at the end of the phone’ in these very challenging times.
Appreciation of Presbytery’s encouragement was reinforced again in the written feedback from Ceres, Kemback and Springfield. Jim Campbell notes his appreciation of his minister’s meeting with the Team, and that, Another great strength of the Review was the emphasis on taking a long hard look at ourselves … and it was good having Presbytery’s encouragement to do this. The way ahead will not be easy … one issue then is the need for on-going support for myself and the Session. It is good that we have a clear plan of the way forward.
2. Thanks The Rev Iain Goring, Mrs Elizabeth Bracher, Mrs Eleanor Black and The Rev
Ann Fraser for their implementation of the pilot Local Church Review.
3. Thanks ministers, office bearers and members of the Cupar Cluster churches,
recognising their willingness and effort in engaging in this Pilot Review.
4. Affirms the overwhelmingly positive reactions by congregations.
5. Encourages future Local Church reviews to be led by convenors from out-with
St Andrews Presbytery.
6. Adopts the new model of Review.
7. Encourages the Mission Facilitator assigned to the Cupar Cluster to use the
findings of the LCR as a focus for congregations evolving mission and discipleship.
8. Instructs the Strategy & Resources Committee to do follow-up with
the Cupar congregations, and report findings to the June 2018 Presbytery.
9. Instructs the next Local Church Review to commence in September 2017 in the
North Fife Cluster, and for the LCR Team and S&R to report to the June 2018