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LIZ’S UPDATE

Liz

Dear Mearns Kirk,

With half my familiarisation period behind me, many people are asking what comes next.  The short answer:  If you find out, please let me know.

A much longer answer:  The reality is, with the Church of Scotland in the midst of planning for what comes next, it isn’t at all clear what is next for me.  My Familiarisation placement with Joe at Mearns Kirk officially ends (all being well) 31 December 2022.  On 1 January, like everyone else, I hope to be rising late from my bed…but after the holiday there are several different things that could happen. 

  1. I should be free to pursue a call; so I could apply for any available churches and begin work at a new church. However, it is unlikely that any churches in Glasgow Presbytery will be granted leave to search for a minister by 1 Jan; so, as I’m geographically bound to the general area, I am unlikely to be able to do that.
  2. I could remain at Mearns Kirk while I wait for churches to be granted leave to advertise posts. The Church of Scotland has said that Familiarisation Candidates may possibly remain in their posts for up to 18 months while they search for a new post.  That’s a fine option.  I’m happy to stay at Mearns Kirk for as long as you’re open to having me, but we are not the only ones with a say. I serve at the pleasure of…well, Jesus, but beyond him, the Church of Scotland; so, I do what they tell me at this point, and they have told me:
  3. I could be allocated by Presbytery in a way that is helpful to Presbytery. That means I could be placed in a post while the details of the Presbytery Plan are worked out.  That post could last for as long as I do not have a formal post.  Or, it could be short term, meaning that I am moved about the presbytery to places of need as the presbytery sees fit.  Having talked with Presbytery Clerk, Grant Barclay, the latter is possible.  He does not envision the latter option being a completely itinerate role, preaching at a different church each week.  Rather, it would likely be longer placements for up to three months at a time.

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities ahead with few firm details beyond that the Church of Scotland is going to continue to sign my pay cheques throughout (thank goodness!), and I will not be sitting idly by waiting for something to do.

It is a time of change and uncertainty for all of us.  In many ways, the church ahead will be quite different from the church of the past.  That can seem worrisome as we think of letting go of something we have dearly loved.  It certainly isn’t the church I thought I was joining when I initiated the process of transferring from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to the Church of Scotland.  However, I believe God has something in store for you and for me. 

Like every future, we cannot see it until we are there.  But how we approach it matters.  If we approach it with apprehension and resistance, it will curtail the shape of the future we live out.  Conversely, if we approach with openness and see the change as an opportunity, it will impact the shape of the church and ministry of the future.  So, I am trying to embrace everything that comes my way as an opportunity - an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to be patient, an opportunity to be active, and an opportunity to be bold in the name of the Lord. 

I pray the same for Mearns Kirk and hope that, for however long we are together, we can live into the opportunities God is creating in the midst of the unknown.

Liz

 

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