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CHURCH OF SCOTLAND GUILD update at 15th of may 2024

Updated: May 15


Looking forward to the General Assembly

Watching the General Assembly online over the years has made for absorbing viewing and has always been thought-provoking.I expect that being physically present will help me pick up on the sentiments expressed in body language, which often go unnoticed on screen. They are at times bound to be more telling than the spoken word in debate.I hope to reconnect with people whom I have known over the years, while forging new friendships during the week. In this setting, the way will be opened up for dialogue with others in the common bond of Christian fellowship. No matter where in the world we are, there is always a ready connection with fellow believers reminding us we have one Lord, one Faith, and one Church.I see my attendance in this particular forum as an opportunity to listen and to disseminate information about the Guild. This will help develop links which will enrich our knowledge of the life of the Guild and of the wider life of the world-wide Church.There will most likely be the possibility of learning more about aspects of Church life with which I am unfamiliar. As I preview the Reports and view the programme for the week, I am already planning to visit some of the lunch-time meetings which flesh out topics of interest.What is my role? I see this as an occasion to advance the influence of the Guild by networking widely on members’ behalf, and to inform others of the passion and vision we share for the Guild.I would appreciate your prayers as I deliver the Guild Report on Tuesday, when I am honoured to represent you, the members of the Guild, and of course our Lord and Master Whose we are and Whom we serve.Rae LindNational Convener.P.S. There are also some tickets available for our Guild Big Sing on Tuesday at 7pm when we will hear from our six project partners. We can add your name to the list, just let us know.

 



Spring Sing Success


It was a joy to be with folks from across the North West Highlands for their inaugural Spring Sing. The day brought together Guild members from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire and Lochcarron and Skye in a wonderful day of worship and celebration. It was so encouraging to have so many people make such an effort to be there and share in the day. It is hoped that this kind of event will become an annual one held in different parts of the new Guilds Together Group for the North Highlands.




Crosshouse Guild is 125 years young


Congratulations to all members of Crosshouse Guild who have celebrated their 125th anniversary. That's 125 years of commitment and service to people in their church, community and wider world. Well done to all of you.



Guild Weekend Away


Almost 20 Guild members enjoyed a time of fellowship and activities to help support their work in their local Guilds. It was also a chance to make new friends and share ideas and encourage each other.



The event was such a success that another event has been organised for 28th - 30th March 2025. If you would like to get more information when it becomes available please get in touch using the link below.




Pray this month


17th May : for Rt Rev Sally Foster Fulton as she prepares to hand over the reigns as Moderator, giving thanks for all the she has done and given to the Church over the past year.


18th May : for our Moderator Elect Rev Shaw Patterson as he prepares to take on his new role serving God and the Church of Scotland.


19th May : for our international delegates who enhance the deliberations of the Assembly and bring new and different perspectives to the debates this week.


20th May : for General Secretary, Karen Gillon, as she meets with representatives from across Scotland at Assembly to share insights into the work of the Guild.


21st May : for our National Convener, Rae Lind, as she presents the Guild report to the General Assembly asking that Commissioners will be open to supporting the work of the Guild.


22nd May : for our Mission Partner Fiona Kendall, working in Southern Italy with refugees and asylum seekers.


23rd May : giving thanks for the work of CrossReach who support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.


24th May : for past National Convener, Helen Eckford, giving thanks for the ways in which she continues to support the Guild in her local area.


25th May : for the work of the Scottish Bible Society, asking God's blessing on all their work here in Scotland.


26th May : for all members of the Scottish Parliament, past and present. Giving thanks for their contribution to Scottish political and civic life over the past 25 years.


27th May : for Guilds across the Lothians as they meet together today to share ideas and encourage each other for the year ahead.


28th May : giving thanks for the work of Christian Aid and their local partners and thinking particularly of their work in Burundi.


29th May : for probationer ministers who are seeking God's call to the right congregation. Pray for guidance and patience as they wait.  


30th May : for all involved in healing ministries across Scotland, praying that God will bless them as they support those in need of healing both physically and mentally.


31st May : for all involved in prison chaplaincy, asking that they are given guidance and courage as they work in our prisons and young offenders institutions.


1st June : for past National Convener, Elspeth Dale, who continues to be involved in her Guild and attending events organised by her Guilds Together group.


2md June : for all Guilds who are on their summer outings today, trusting they have a day full of fun and fellowship.


3rd June : for our four new project partners who will be announced on 4th June. Trusting that God will bless our new partnerships to His glory



local level. NC15-24

Regional Reorganisation

At its away day in October the Leadership Team looked at a potential new structure and agreed to bring the following proposals to the National Council as a result of the following considerations:

1. The current structure was put in place when the Guild membership was considerably higher and there were more Guild branches.

2. When looking at the functioning of current Guilds Together network, 18 do not currently function.

3. Of those who remain many are struggling either because of the number of people coming to events or are have difficulty in finding office bearers.

4. Guilds Together Groups elect representatives to the National Council, with 18 areas not functioning it results in many areas not being part of the decision-making process does not provide good governance.

5. The reform of Presbyteries and the union of congregations will result in a further reduction a

6. Many other parts of the church, be that Kirk Sessions or National Committees have reduced numbers on their decision making bodies to streamline and make decision making more effective.

With these considerations in mind the proposals are as follows:

New Area Component GT Groups Guild Branches New NC Representation

Lothians Edinburgh

Esk Valley

Lothian East

West Lothian 19

8

11

13

Total: 51 2 members

Borders Berwickshire

Roxburghshire

Upper Tweed 3

7

7

Total: 17

1 member

Fife Dunfermline & Dis

Kirkcaldy

North East Fife 7

15

15

Total: 37 2 members

Clyde Bute

Cowal

Dumbartonshire

Inverclyde

Paisley

Part of South Argyll

3

3

16

5

13

1

Total: 41 2 members

Ayrshire Ayr & District

Irvine/Kilmarnock

North Ayrshire 26

17

12

Total: 55 2 membersin the number of Guild branches and can potentially see us separated from structures at

Dumfriesshire Annandale and Eskdale

Nithsdale

5

4

Total:9 1 member

Galloway Machars

Rhins

Stewartry 4

7

5

Total 16 1 member

Lanarkshire Hamilton North

Hamilton South

Lanark

9

29

16

Total: 54 2 members

Glasgow Northern Glasgow East

Glasgow North

8

17

Total: 25 1 member

Glasgow Southern Glasgow South

Glasgow West 6

12

Total 18 1 member

North Highlands Caithness

Lochcarron/Skye

Ross

Ross/Tain

Sutherland

Lewis will also be part of this group but will operate separately in recognition it is impossible for them to come to meetings on mainland and representation will come from 1 rotating island member.

5

3

2

2

1

Total: 13 1 member

Moray Firth

(already established) Inverness and Nairn

Part of old Moray West

Abernethy.

Total 12 1 member

South Highlands Lochaber

Lorne

Part of South Argyll 7

1

3

Total: 10 1 member

Islands Lewis

Orkney

Shetland

Each island grouping will sit within a GT group but will operate separately in recognition of the fact they will not be able to attend events on mainland and representation on the Council will be rotated. 1

7

7

Total 15 1 member to rotate

Angus and Tay Angus East

Angus West

Dundee

Dunkeld and Meigle East 8

9

12

3

Total: 32` 2 members

Stirling and Perthshire Perth

Stirling & Clackmannanshire

Dunkeld & Meigle West

Falkirk & District

16

19

4

12

Total: 51 2 members

North Aberdeenshire Buchan East

Buchan West

Part Gordon

This area will also work closely with Moray and hold joint events wherever possible 10

7

4

Total: 21 1 member

South Aberdeenshire Aberdeen

K&D

Part Gordon

This area will also work closely with Moray and hold joint events wherever possible.

Orkney and Shetland will also be part of this group but will operate separately in recognition it is impossible for them to come to meetings on mainland and representation will come from 1 rotating island member. 10

8

6

Total: 24

1`member

Moray

(already established) Moray East

Part Moray West

This area will also work closely with North and South Aberdeenshire and hold joint events wherever possible.

6

7

Total: 13 1 member

This creates 18 Regionals groupings either based on new Presbyteries with a National Council of 26 members plus 1 additional member from the National Conveners area.

Within that you would still elect 4 National Vice Conveners.

So what now?

There is a realisation that these groups will not all operate in the same way however in whatever way they operate, at least every 3 years they will need to have a meeting of all Guilds to elect their National Council rep, Resource Coordinator and Project Coordinator. To reduce the number of formal meetings they may also wish to elect any office bearers at this time to serve a standard 3 year term. This will however be for each group to determine.

We will work with areas where there is more than 1 representative we will have a staggered time of service, i.e. someone will serve for 1 or 2 years and another for 3 years in the first term so that we have a both experienced and newer members on the Council so that not everyone changes at the same time.

In areas that have already moved to a wider grouping, they have a joint team from across their former areas that are organising events across their area, recognising that some people will go to all events, some to a few and some only to the events closest to them.

Timeline

April National Conference enables 3 reps from each of the current GT areas to come together, agree or amend structure and agree a 5 year prioritisation programme for the Guild.

Session 2024-25 Guilds Together Groups begin working together, through shadow teams if necessary

March/April 2025 New Guilds Together groups formally established and office bearers and representatives elected

Session 2025-26 New structure begins



National Guild Council (NC)H.

Notes of the meeting held online on Tuesday the 23rd of April 2024.

The meeting opened with a welcome from the National Convener, Rae Lind. Rae read from Matthew chapter 28 v 20, reminding us that Christ is ever present with us.

Apologies were given and the minutes of the last meeting approved. Matters arising focused on the future development of the Young Adults Guild and a reminder that Branch Treasurers receive their information in respect of Capitation fees via mailings to Branch Conveners.

Nomination forms are now available for the nomination of the new National Convener and two National Vice conveners. Members of the NC were asked to consider being on the nomination committee, please contact Karen Gillon in respect of this.

A financial update from the General Secretary indicated that our finances are better than expected for the first 3 months of the year. A positive and encouraging position.

Our membership is also up at 10,800.

The National Conference in Perth on the 13th of April 2024, was hailed as a very encouraging and enthusiastic meeting, which members new to the Guild found very uplifting and informative. A positive experience. The conference unanimously supported the Regional Reorganisation of Guilds Together Groups (GTGs) proposals. The Perth conference acknowledged that there were challenges ahead: Distance, time, new people, compromise, communication, age and office bearers were sited. The biggest challenge was transport issues. There will be a £500 grant available, from the National Guild to the New Guilds Together Groups to help with transport needs. The conference asked about: information leaflets on : the new structure, how the capitation fee is spent, the function of GTGs, job descriptions of various roles within GTGs and affiliation fees from GTGs. Moray GTG is to join with Aberdeenshire. Travel support, social media accounts, new look website, National leadership team speakers and access to high profile speakers were also some of the other ‘asks ‘expressed by the conference. The ‘Asks’ were approved by the National Council.

Other discussions included:

Branch closures are inevitable with Churches going into Unions and even closing. How best to do this is being explored. Perhaps a celebration of some kind to recognise the contribution of the closing Guild could be explored, to enable a ‘good’ closure. Guild closures need to be Kirk Session approved. Some Guilds may need support in the transitional period and when joining with another Guild.

Training may be needed for branch and GTG office bearers.

Guild branches should notify the Guild Office by the end of June, if there are any changes of office bearers or contact details.

IT links to be better. WhatsApp groups could be created within GTGs. Emails of all office bearers to be obtained if possible.

Guild website to improve and GTG events could be promoted via the website.

Public Liability Insurance for GTGs to be explored by Karen Gillon, to ascertain whether a central policy of some kind, for all GTGs could be achieved.

The National Council unanimously approved of the New Regional Reorganisation structure.

Reports: all reports from the National Convener, General Secretary, Vice Conveners and Development worker were all accepted as read.

General Assembly 2024: The Guild report will be delivered around 11am on Tuesday the 21st of May. Anyone who would like to attend the GA, please let the Guild office know. Support needed with the Guild stall at lunchtime each day. The Big Sing is at 7pm that same day. Tickets from the Guild Office. Stewards needed from 6.15pm. Four of our Project partners will be speaking, and the offering will be going to two areas of Malawi which have been recently struck by floods.

Guild Week 2024: Guilds having events or services, please send details and photos to the Guild office.

Malawi Update: Four, £1300 grants have been received to pay for the flights of our Malawian visitors. There will be five Malawian Guild members attending the Annual Gathering and then staying with hosts Guilds during Guild week.

Young Adults Guild (YAG): We now have 40 email contacts for members of the YAG. Santus Media are to produce a promotional video to launch the group.

Name suggestion: LIFT (Love in Fellowship and Trust). May ultimately be their strap line, with reference to the Guild alongside.

An event may take place in March 2025 at the Conforti Centre in Coatbridge.

There could be Presbytery involvement.

Regular online meetings to commence in September 2024.


Youth Worker to support YAG:  The Guild would like to explore the idea of providing seven hours a week of paid support to the YAG. The salary would come from legacy money and would probably be for a fixed term of three years. Annual salary would be in the region of £7, 248. A member of the group could join the National Council if at least one meeting was held of an evening. The YAG would have to link with the Guild Constitution. Karen Gillon to have a constitutional amendment for the General Assembly in 2025.

Someone already in a part time post as a presbytery youth worker may welcome some extra hours.

The National Council agreed that this was an area of work that they were happy to explore.

Reports:

Communications and marketing: Tartan covers for hand tissues to be explored, along with a friend of the Guild badge and a small flag was also suggested.

Outreach: Minutes of the Integrity Group to be forwarded. Domestic Violence group have promotional pop-up banners for Guild use.

Events: Big Sing on 21/5/24, GT Conveners conference on 5/6/24. Project Coordinators conference on 4/6/24. Encourage different members to attend other than NC members.

Annual Gathering 2024 on 7/9/24. Communion with the Moderator. The four new projects will participate. Malawian Guest will be there. Pop up choir, anyone interested in joining should contact the Guild office. Music to be sent out soon. Only choir practice will be at lunch time on the day. There will be dancing!!

Guild profile: Suggestion of Sanctus media doing a promotional video, to be used by Kirk Sessons and at Presbytery. A leaflet for Ministers and Kirk Sessions was also muted, to raise the profile and role of the Guild within Church communities and to emphasise that the Guild is a Kirk Session organisation.

Karen Gillon has been invited to be a member of the Scottish Bible Society. Will attend AGM.

A list of NC retirals was issued.

Highland trip: Karen and Rae briefly outlined their recent road trip to Fort William, Dingwall, Orkney and Shetland. The visits to all the Highland Guilds was well worth doing and appreciated by the Guild members they met.

Kay Coull closed the meeting with a reading from 1st Corinthians 2 v 9-10 , ‘No mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’, a focus on the future . The meeting closed with prayer.

The next meeting will be in person on the 6th of June 2024.


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