I am very conscious that some time has passed since we mentioned in worship and by letter that some of us had attended gatherings of our cluster group in February and March.
One of the things that emerged from those meetings was to try and collaborate with St Catherine's and Marchmont St Giles. Negotiations have started in earnest, and we have more meetings this month because a timetable has been framed that requires a draft presbytery plan by June of this year.
In essence the ministry allocation is being halved by 2025.
...This creates many challenges and I think it is fair to say that no congregation will be left unaffected.
Our conversations have been very positive and encouraging and we were working together through Holy week, at Christian Aid and will be worshipping together also. None of us know exactly what will emerge from these discussions, but it is certainly my desire that what is proposed and eventually realised is a plan that will be sustainable, and life-giving and see MUC very much engaged and involved in the mission of the surrounding area as we go forward together. We will keep you up to date with how things are progressing as we go forward.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you would like to discuss this further.
We will do our best to answer any questions or concerns as they arise.
With every blessing,
Falcon Road flat – Recently the elders voted to keep the flat on Falcon Avenue. As advised by the factors, the flat is currently being decorated and freshened up with new carpeting also. The plan is to re-let it in October.
Book Group - This begins in the third week of September. Can all who are interested let the minister know and details will be forwarded to them.
Children’s work - Rev Steven has been meeting with the Youth advisor from the Synod and we will be announcing details this month of a new programme for our younger people.
Flowers - If anyone would like to help do the flowers one weekend, either on Saturday for the service on Sunday or on the Sunday morning itself, please get in contact with Maggie McKenzie. Alternatively, anyone who would like to contribute money for someone else to do the arrangements please also get in contact. Thank you. - Maggie McKenzie (0131 261 4908)
The Guild – In the spirit of Parish clustering and on the initiative of the Rev Karen Campbell of Marchmont St Giles, the local churches in the Bruntsfield, Grange, Mayfield and Newington areas are going to relaunch a joint Guild. We have been invited to join in.
As you may be aware from our Lent edition of Link Magazine, over lockdown we took the opportunity to refresh the Main Hall. It has been painted, the wood sanded on the stage, the parquet floor varnished, and any loose wooden blocks mended.
Unfortunately, over the past few weeks weather conditions and possibly other factors have made the floor move and expand causing it to pop up in various areas. It is such a shame, as a lot of work had gone into renovating the woodwork and it was looking fantastic. The outcome of this is that the Main Hall is not usable for a period of time. We have had contractors come in, but as I’m sure you are aware the trades are extremely busy now and so it could take some time for the work to be carried out.
With so many groups coming back in September, we are doing everything we can to accommodate everyone using the Small Hall, the Church, and the Vestibule. Hopefully, this will only be for a short time, but we will keep everyone informed going forward.
As many of you may already know, the Kirk is facing a crisis and is following through with plans to radically reduce the number of ministers and Parishes in Scotland. Much of this work has come to its head because of the Covid pandemic, which has left the national Church with profound structural and financial problems. These are being addressed in a process called "Parish Clustering," which allows collaboration and the sharing of resources.
Morningside United Church has been participating in meeting with the South City Cluster. This group comprises Morningside United, Priestfield, Craigmillar Park, Reid Memorial, Mayfield Salisbury, St Catherine’s and Marchmont St Giles. Conversations have taken place to identify common mission goals and frankly - to look at the reduction and use of buildings. At the time of writing (21/4/21), the reports from all Cluster Groups have been received by the presbytery to bring forward a plan for Edinburgh.
We quote the report for this month’s presbytery:
"...there is a very real crisis now affecting the Church of Scotland, therefore the Strategy Team is looking to formulate a plan where the Presbytery will categorise each ecclesiastical building as either:
The Presbytery is also navigating its relationship to neighbouring Presbyteries, moving towards a union with West Lothian and into conversation with Lothian and three Borders Presbyteries with the potential for doing some work on planning together.
As you have read, change is afoot and this can feel disconcerting, particularly since many of us share some of the anxieties associated from the experience of lockdown. This said, we are an ecumenical parish and so any change must be negotiated with the United Reformed Church - our other denominational partner. This is helpful in that the URC can offer a wealth of experience in change management and clustering experiences.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those people who have volunteered to prepare clean and reopen the church. It's been great to see life in the building again . Thank you all who are involved.
Covid restrictions limit what we can do as a worshipping community. Guidelines now say that we can have up to 50 people at weddings or funerals, but numbers are limited further by the capacity of the building itself. Unfortunately we cannot sing, but we are allowed a soloist and so for the next few weeks we are very grateful to Max for arranging a wonderful soloist to lead us musically.
The service is shorter than usual for obvious reasons, but hopefully by the summer we will be back to some level of normality.
To this end the elders are planning for reopening fully to groups and hall users subject to Covid rules. We are also planning to upgrade our technology so we can live-stream our services rather than just use YouTube.
Thanks are very much owed to Max our organist for taking charge and going the extra mile with recording services. We are blessed with an average of 180 watching every Sunday!
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.