January 2023_ Planting seeds within the metropolis

January 2023: Planting seeds within the metropolis

Every month, the Church of Scotland’s ‘Speaking Ministry’ sequence 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 certainly one 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 may also be month-to-month discernment assets stuffed with questions, prayers and reflections to assist encourage your individual reflection on how God could 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 means of Scripture Union at college in Edinburgh. It was a really honest dedication.

I went to college and put my religion and relationship with God on the backburner, however in my closing yr 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 yr after college simply to see what God would present me. Folks requested if I had thought concerning the ministry. I had no real interest in that in any way, so I might politely say ‘no thanks’ and that I did not consider that was the place my calling lay.

However then a variety of issues occurred across the identical time. Ruth, who’s now my spouse, was somebody I knew in church. Her father, Rev Stewart Jeffrey, was operating 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 advised me that Christ’s Faculty in Aberdeen was holding an occasion for individuals within the ministry. I went alongside simply to be well mannered and got here away with a bunch of software types I had no intention of filling out.

After I obtained again to Edinburgh, I went to a prayer assembly. One lady there, who was normally very upbeat, was fairly downcast. Somebody requested what was flawed and she or he mentioned: ‘I really feel actually burdened as a result of I’ve this sense that God needs 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 types, so I utilized to Edinburgh College. I phoned on Monday and by Friday they’d provided 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 yr, then was referred to as to Garelochhead the place I stayed for just below 24 years.

Why did you determine to tackle the position 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 important change and, extra considerably, must endure important 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 no real interest in going there.

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

Once 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 information that a lot of church buildings do not have night companies and that the individuals who have been going to assist it had their very own church to go to within the morning.

By the tip of yr 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 type 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 won’t be what was wanted. Being within the metropolis centre, we thought we had a greater probability of attracting college students and younger individuals, so we held it later so that they did not must stand up too early and laid on a easy buffet lunch every week to present us an opportunity to collect collectively and get to know one another. That took off and is now our predominant 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 growth 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 individuals with out a church connection and the café has proved to be highly regarded. It’s a social enterprise that permits us to present free meals to those that cannot afford to pay for it, to supply employability and coaching alternatives to individuals who would not get into work in any other case, and to present our income away to Glasgow Metropolis Mission and Bethany Christian Belief.

We’ve got additionally developed artistic partnerships with others ministering within the metropolis centre, resembling Office Chaplaincy Scotland, Glasgow Road Pastors, Bethany Belief and Glasgow Metropolis Mission amongst others. We are actually at a spot the place we’ve got 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 might be prepared to remain on, so one week after lockdown, I used to be inducted as parish minister by way of Zoom.

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

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

The draw back is that, being metropolis centre, there’s a number 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 might rely on one hand the variety of funerals I’ve performed within the final 10 years, however I would want greater than two palms to rely 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 presents that have been wanted to allow us to develop up to date, related worship.

I suppose the most important 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 performed. Alongside the best way, individuals have appeared with simply the presents that have been wanted to allow us to develop up to date, related worship.

I am definitely not suggesting we’ve got ‘arrived’, or are the place we need to be but, however simply seeing what God has performed to allow St George’s Tron to be planted in 10 years has been a terrific encouragement.

What recommendation would you give to a brand new minister?

Solely do it if you’re referred to as, but when God is asking you, there’s nothing higher you possibly can do. If He calls you, then He’ll allow you and you will note wonderful issues occur.

And do not assume that you already know 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 assets

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 beloved and held by God provides us an identification that’s sure up in one thing a lot larger than the distinctive life we stay.

To grasp that we not solely belong to God, however are a part of the broader Christian household is a robust 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 palms, neither is he served by human palms, as if he wanted something, since he himself offers 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 isn’t removed from every certainly one of us. For ‘In him we stay and transfer and have our being’. Acts 17:24-28

We’re all referred to as by God to one thing…in all our looking for and looking out, God is asking every of us to find who we most totally 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 immediately in our relationship with God could also be fairly completely different than up to now, and maybe God is main us on to one thing new. Our identification is God is being frequently reshaped as we open ourselves to what God is doing and saying now.

O LORD, you’ve gotten searched me and identified me. You recognize after I sit down and after 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 already know it fully. You hem me in, behind and earlier than, and lay your hand upon me. Such information is just too great for me; it’s so excessive that I can not attain it. Psalm 139

To ponder/focus on

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

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

What might I do to deepen and develop my religion?

What are the patterns which have formed my religion journey?

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

Is God saying one thing new to me immediately?


God of every second, I thanks that you’ve 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 could lead. Amen

Extra info

“Now, with God’s assist, I shall grow to be myself.” Søren Kierkegaard

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

In case you are taken with exploring a name to the recognised ministries of the Church, you could find extra info on our vocations web page and might contact ministry@churchofscotland.org.uk for a Discernment Dialog with one of many Recruitment Workforce.