When the Strategy Group was set up our remit was:
To plan and deliver a vision day in early 2019 to engage the congregation in defining the future priorities of Houston and Killellan as a Church, and from these findings, develop a congregational strategy working towards 2025.
The Conversation Café took place on February 16th and then an online survey to gather more views. We are delighted to say the Report given by the Strategy Group at the Kirk session meeting in June was wholeheartedly approved.
We would now like to share with you our agreed priorities, which represent the common themes that emerged from both the Conversation Café, and online surveys, which we plan will be embedded within the core activity across all areas of the Church.
To ensure that Houston & Killellan Kirk:
meets the needs of our congregation and parish effectively, through a responsive and inclusive community presence
promotes and inspires the wellbeing of our congregation and parish through social engagement and activities
encourages and facilitates the skills of its members to further the work of the church in the community
Resources, Mission and Nurture
The findings presented a number of key actions that we as a Church need to focus on over the next five years; some of the these have been implemented already, or can be in the short-term, whilst others are much longer-term goals. This is not an exhaustive list and the expectation is that these ideas will develop and mature over the 5-year period.
The Resources team will be looking at:
a rolling 5-year maintenance programme, identifying projected work required to the Church, Halls and Manse. (West halls redecoration programme was specifically highlighted on numerous occasions).
To ensure the Church engages in the Stewardship Campaign, encouraging good use of time, talent and money.
To maximise the promotion and use of the halls for the benefit of the wider Parish, and increase the income stream available through this.
Mission will be looking for ways to support our congregation and Parish, to involve them in Church life, and to develop a sense of belonging through the best use of available resources to provide effective and accessible information.
The café and survey findings presented a wide range of social and club activity ideas which will be considered, being mindful of existing groups within the community which should be supported by way of collaboration and signposting. Some of the ideas presented could be taken forward as part of Talents Year in 2020.
Fitness/sport (e.g. keep fit for older folk, cycling, running etc.)
Creative (e.g. cookery and baking, flower arranging, art, reading, gardening)
Men’s shed (intergenerational, sharing skills)
Events (ceilidh’s, theatre groups, quiz nights, pie, prosecco/pint and parable)
Health & Wellbeing
The four key areas identified were loneliness, bereavement support, dementia and mental health. The team will be exploring and developing ways to engage, or facilitate engagement, in each of these key areas, recognising our limitations and the need for professional and specialist knowledge in terms of mental health treatment and medical support.
The two recurring themes within outreach was ecumenical work (currently being progressed) and work with schools. We are delighted with the growing involvement of our minister with various events at the local schools.
Communication was a common theme across all findings (event and survey), with the Kirk Record and Church website in particular being recognised as key tools for information sharing and linking with the community. Our online presence has improved through Facebook and we plan to develop and explore other social media platforms
There was a key focus on families and young people, and the Nurture Team will be considering ways to involve these groups in Church-led activities.
Children and Youth
Suggestions for children and youth included:
Sunday club in holidays (Behind the Scenes)
Development of a youth fellowship; outward bound events
Young woman’s group
3 out the 4 are now happening!
The Worship Team will be considering alternatives to the standard Sunday service, and how to provide support in delivering these alternatives to the wider community. Options for consideration, first and foremost by the Minister, included:
Alternative services (evening; café style; midweek)
Relevant bible discussion groups
More involvement of children/families (welcome teams; bell ringing etc.)
Junior Choir (watch this space for further information as one will be staring in the Autumn.)
Other recommendations that were widely supported were:
Investment in a support worker for the Church and Minister
Development of a green policy for the Church and halls
Commitment to becoming a true Fairtrade Church (in progress, with Kirk Session agreeing to the use of Fairtrade goods, where possible, for congregational events).
As you will see this is a very ambitious 5-year plan. Nevertheless, with the continuing support of our very active and involved congregation and the great backing we get from the local community we are optimistically confident that we can develop these ideas into action. We want to be a Church “ not just open on Sundays “, but to really work at the strands of faith and community coming together.
There were loads of other ideas, which could also be progressed, if people want to take them on…God calls us all to use out gifts and talents, so if you’d like to assist with anything or try something new, please speak to the Minister…who’ll be delighted to assist you!
We want this Church to be a place, which is inclusive, welcoming and loving to all people, regardless of their circumstances. A place where everyone can belong and grow together in their faith, knowing there is a place and community where they are safe and can explore life’s questions.
Check the website, Facebook, and future Kirk Records for updates on how we are progressing these ideas, and how you can get involved.
Come and join us on a Sunday morning or at any of the events we organise, everyone is welcome.