January 2023_ Planting seeds within the metropolis

January 2023: Planting seeds within the metropolis

Every month, the Church of Scotland’s ‘Speaking Ministry’ collection will share a private story from these serving in Christian ministry within the widest sense, together with those that have responded to the decision to one in every of our 4 recognised ministries: Full-time Ministry of Phrase and Sacrament, Ordained Native Ministry (OLM), the Diaconate and Readership.

Alongside these private tales, there will even be month-to-month discernment sources full of questions, prayers and reflections to assist encourage your individual reflection on how God may be calling you right now.

My Ministry: Rev Alastair Duncan, Minister of St George’s Tron, Glasgow

When did you begin to contemplate your self a Christian?

I turned a Christian by Scripture Union at college in Edinburgh. It was a really honest dedication.

I went to school and put my religion and relationship with God on the backburner, however in my remaining 12 months I went overseas to review and I had an encounter that was the start of a journey again. By the point I graduated, I used to be a dedicated Christian once more.

What was your path to ministry?

I took a niche 12 months after college simply to see what God would present me. Folks requested if I had thought in regards to the ministry. I had little interest in that by any means, so I’d politely say ‘no thanks’ and that I did not imagine that was the place my calling lay.

However then plenty of issues occurred across the similar time. Ruth, who’s now my spouse, was somebody I knew in church. Her father, Rev Stewart Jeffrey, was working a vacation membership at his church in Aberdeen and was in search of volunteers, so I went to assist and stayed with the household. Whereas I used to be there, Stewart informed me that Christ’s Faculty in Aberdeen was holding an occasion for folks within the ministry. I went alongside simply to be well mannered and got here away with a bunch of utility varieties I had no intention of filling out.

After I bought again to Edinburgh, I went to a prayer assembly. One lady there, who was often very upbeat, was fairly downcast. Somebody requested what was mistaken and she or he mentioned: ‘I really feel actually burdened as a result of I’ve this sense that God desires Alastair for the Church of Scotland ministry.’

I had a really robust sense of pleasure and pleasure, accompanied by a deep and highly effective sense that God was calling me.

When she mentioned that, I had a really robust sense of pleasure and pleasure, accompanied by a deep and highly effective sense that God was calling me. I already had the varieties, so I utilized to Edinburgh College. I phoned on Monday and by Friday that they had supplied me a spot.

I did my probation at The Previous Kirk in West Pilton. I adopted that by working alongside my father-in-law in St George’s Tillydrone in Aberdeen for one 12 months, then was known as to Garelochhead the place I stayed for just below 24 years.

Why did you resolve to tackle the function of transition minister at St George’s Tron?

The earlier congregation had left the Church of Scotland and the transition minister submit was created to rebuild a congregation. A transition minister might be in submit for 3 to 5 years, sometimes, in a scenario that has skilled some vital change and, extra considerably, must endure vital change.

I learn the job description simply to see what they have been in search of. I realised I had expertise of all of the issues they have been in search of, however I had little interest in going there.

Then, a good friend emailed me the subsequent day saying he thought I’d be excellent for the job. I talked about it with Ruth, and she or he shocked me by saying: “Nicely, in my head, we’re already there!” Over the subsequent 10 days, one thing occurred daily to substantiate to me that God was calling me, so I put in an utility.

After I arrived in 2013, St George’s Tron was only a constructing. There was no congregation, so it was very a lot a case of planting a church within the metropolis centre.

How do you construct up a church from scratch?

By religion. We began by simply having a night service within the data that numerous church buildings do not have night providers and that the individuals who have been going to assist it had their very own church to go to within the morning.

By the top of 12 months there have been a dozen individuals who emphatically mentioned that God was calling them to be a part of the church, so I requested all of them to kind a management staff with me.

In January 2014 we began a Café Church service as a result of we felt {that a} conventional 11am service may not be what was wanted. Being within the metropolis centre, we thought we had a greater likelihood of attracting college students and younger folks, so we held it later in order that they did not must stand up too early and laid on a easy buffet lunch every week to offer us an opportunity to collect collectively and get to know one another. That took off and is now our principal service.

We opened the Wild Olive Tree Café in 2015 and have been ready to make use of cash from two legacies to make use of a services and improvement supervisor to assist set the café up. That enabled us to have the church open seven days per week and has been very a lot on the coronary heart of re-connectingthe church with town centre. It has allowed us to welcome folks and not using a church connection and the café has proved to be extremely popular. It’s a social enterprise that permits us to offer free meals to those that cannot afford to pay for it, to offer employability and coaching alternatives to individuals who would not get into work in any other case, and to offer our income away to Glasgow Metropolis Mission and Bethany Christian Belief.

We now have additionally developed inventive partnerships with others ministering within the metropolis centre, resembling Office Chaplaincy Scotland, Glasgow Avenue Pastors, Bethany Belief and Glasgow Metropolis Mission amongst others. We are actually at a spot the place now we have opened doorways to the assorted metropolis centre communities, which was all a part of the imaginative and prescient that I got here with.

The transition ministry was prolonged from 5 years to 7 and on the finish of seven years, the congregation was allowed to name a everlasting minister. I indicated that in the event that they needed me, I’d be keen to remain on, so one week after lockdown, I used to be inducted as parish minister through Zoom.

What are the benefits and challenges of a metropolis centre church?

The ‘ups’ are that there’s limitless potential for engagement. The church is in a main web site and everybody desires to make use of it, so it’s a nice alternative to have interaction with folks as a result of a whole lot of individuals come into the church every week.

The draw back is that, being metropolis centre, there’s quite a lot of motion and other people do not essentially keep long run. They may come for 3 to five years, do their diploma, and transfer on. However one of many beautiful issues about having a youthful church is that I may depend on one hand the variety of funerals I’ve carried out within the final 10 years, however I would wish greater than two fingers to depend the variety of weddings. There’s been a really wholesome dynamic of individuals assembly and getting married, and now infants are beginning to come alongside so we are actually having to consider crèche after which Sunday faculty.

What have been the highlights of your ministry?

Folks have appeared with simply the items that have been wanted to allow us to develop up to date, related worship.

I suppose the largest of the highs is simply the miracle of seeing a rising church emerge out of what was an totally hopeless scenario and seeing what God has finished. Alongside the best way, folks have appeared with simply the items that have been wanted to allow us to develop up to date, related worship.

I am actually not suggesting now we have ‘arrived’, or are the place we need to be but, however simply seeing what God has finished to allow St George’s Tron to be planted in 10 years has been an awesome encouragement.

What recommendation would you give to a brand new minister?

Solely do it if you’re known as, but when God is looking you, there’s nothing higher you possibly can do. If He calls you, then He’ll allow you and you will notice superb issues occur.

And do not assume that you realize what your ministry goes to be like, since you would possibly begin out considering you’re going to work in a metropolis centre ministry after which end up within the islands, or vice versa or someplace in between. Simply be open to the decision.

January discernment sources

Who am I?

Once we consider our Christian religion, it defines in some ways how we perceive ourselves in relation to God. It additionally underpins how we perceive ourselves in relation to others and the world round us. Understanding that we’re cherished and held by God affords us an id that’s sure up in one thing a lot better than the distinctive life we stay.

To know that we not solely belong to God, however are a part of the broader Christian household is a strong factor. How can we perceive our place, our half, our name to serve within the dwelling of our lives?

The God who made the world and all the pieces in it, he who’s Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t stay in shrines made by human fingers, neither is he served by human fingers, as if he wanted something, since he himself provides to all mortals life and breath and all issues. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the entire earth, and he allotted the instances of their existence and the boundaries of the locations the place they might stay, in order that they might seek for God and maybe grope for him and discover him — although certainly he’s not removed from every one in every of us. For ‘In him we stay and transfer and have our being’. Acts 17:24-28

We’re all known as by God to one thing…in all our looking for and looking, God is looking every of us to find who we most absolutely are on this relationship. God isn’t removed from us, and has revealed in Jesus Christ and by the Spirit this actual and refreshing presence that shapes our days and our vacation spot.

This name is at all times a journey, and motion is on the coronary heart of any journey. The place we’re right this moment in our relationship with God could also be fairly completely different than prior to now, and maybe God is main us on to one thing new. Our id is God is being regularly reshaped as we open ourselves to what God is doing and saying now.

O LORD, you’ve got searched me and recognized me. You already know once I sit down and once I stand up; you discern my ideas from far-off. You get your hands on my path and my mendacity down, and are acquainted with all my methods. Even earlier than a phrase is on my tongue, O LORD, you realize it utterly. You hem me in, behind and earlier than, and lay your hand upon me. Such data is just too great for me; it’s so excessive that I can not attain it. Psalm 139

To ponder/talk about

Starting from right here, how do I consider myself in relation to God?

Is that this relationship one in every of motion or does it really feel static?

What may I do to deepen and develop my religion?

What are the patterns which have formed my religion journey?

Who’re the those who accompany me on the best way?

Is God saying one thing new to me right this moment?


God of every second, I thanks that you’ve got given me a house in you. You hear me and maintain me, and supply a lifetime of fullness. Assist me to know your name and assurance in my life, and to maintain exploring with you the place that journey might lead. Amen

Extra data

“Now, with God’s assist, I shall develop into myself.” Søren Kierkegaard

If you need to think about how God may be calling you to serve right now, you could need to talk about additional along with your minister or be in contact along with your Presbytery to discover native alternatives.

If you’re excited about exploring a name to the recognised ministries of the Church, you could find extra data on our vocations web page and may contact ministry@churchofscotland.org.uk for a Discernment Dialog with one of many Recruitment Crew.