We are all aware that churches across Scotland are furiously working on their submission to their local Presbytery on their contribution to their new Mission Plan for the next five years, which the “big church” (Church of Scotland) hopes to have agreed and “launched” for 2023 by the end of this year.
As Convener of Glasgow Presbytery Property Committee this is has been a major task as it has involved carrying out an “Asset Management
Building Audit” (AMBA) of every church building in our area, some 124 congregations and over 135 buildings.
I have been very grateful that I have an excellent Property Committee who carried out this task earlier this year, the results of which have now been passed to our congregations who, as you know, are working in local “clusters”. In our case this includes all the “Newton Mearns” churches and Eaglesham.
There are no surprises that we have too many buildings as congregational attendance has shrunk over the years, particularly after COVID, which has also had a “knock on” effect on church finances, something as Treasurer I am all too aware of at Mearns Kirk.
These changes are not particular to the Church of Scotland, I was reading an article in the Times that the Church of England are going through the same process as ourselves. The Catholic Church in Scotland is the same.
Notwithstanding this, we have to face up to difficult decisions over the coming months to agree on the number of congregations and buildings that we are able to sustain in the future.
It struck me from the AMBA work our Property Committee carried out over the last months that we still have a strong core membership in our churches at the local level, but difficult decisions have to be taken.
As a further example of the other challenges we face, which is outwith our control, is the huge challenge we face with the massive increase in
energy costs as well as big hikes in building and maintenance costs. Well….nothing constant but change!