Orkney Presbytery held an open conference, on Saturday 16 March 2019, to discuss the future of our churches in Orkney. A Presbytery facilitator clarified that there is no intention of closing centres of worship, but, with reducing numbers of ministers, the key aim is to share resources. Rev Macnaughton stated, “There is no agenda to close churches”.
The first group discussion session was about how people imagine the role of ministers in the future. Much of the feedback looked at ministers having a responsibility for spiritual leadership and leading teams, such as worship teams and pastoral teams, along with other duties.
The second group discussion covered redlines, i.e. things that we don’t want to see, like the loss of autonomy. Discussion also focused on three areas: -
- The idea of hubs which serve several centres of worship
- Technology to share resources and services
- The appointment of youth workers to support outreach to younger people.
There was a suggestion that small congregations could be relieved of some of the statutory duties imposed by the Presbytery. There was mooted the possibility of hubs providing and supporting administrative services such as accounts, safeguarding and other key roles. It appears that the Presbytery are looking at ways to share resources rather than adhering to the current situation, where some churches have a full time minister and others have to maintain their churches more independently.
The Orkney Presbytery will continue to discuss the way forward at their next meeting in April 2019.
Follow these links to read the discussion documents circulated by the Presbytry.