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!