Vacancy Update – November 2017

It’s now three months since we entered vacancy – it might feel longer or shorter depending on your viewpoint and how much you are involved in what has been happening…

Briefly:

  • The Kirk Session has met with the Vacancy Procedures Committee from Presbytery and been helped to understand the steps going forward.
  • Ian Baillie has been appointed Locum for the vacancy and is with us week by week.
  • Our prayer meetings now take place each week with every second one focusing specifically on the vacancy.
  • The Electoral Roll for the congregation (the list of who can vote for or be part of the Nominating Committee and vote on a new Minister when, in the fullness of time, they preach as Sole Nominee) has been drawn up and will be finalised in early November, then ratified by Presbytery.
  • The Kirk Session has voted and decided not to depart from the Church’s traditional stance on marriage and so not to open the current vacancy up to Ministers in civil partnerships or same-sex marriages.
  • Work has started on the Parish Profile.

What next:

  • The Parish Profile will be completed – this is like a job advert and will be available to any interested Ministers when advertising starts. It’s an important document as it needs to tell a Minister
    • What we as a congregation are like and what we are doing.
    • What our vision is for God’s work here at Brightons.
    • What we are looking for in our new Minister.
    • How we, as a church family, would support them as they come to Brightons.
    • What the parish and area is like and what facilities there are locally.

The Kirk Session has compiled a long list of points for the Profile and a small group is working on it – you can also help by speaking with your Elder or the Session Clerk or Deputy Session Clerk and letting us know the key things you think are important, good or not so good about Brightons Church and our congregational life.

  • The Vacancy Schedule documents and Parish Profile will be submitted to Presbytery.
  • The Nominating Committee will be elected – this group of people should be representative of the congregation as a whole – in age, gender, viewpoint – so that they reflect the real Brightons Church while choosing a new Minister.
    • The election will take place immediately after church on a Sunday morning and we will give plenty of notice so that as many people as possible can be there and take part.
    • If you would like to be on the Nominating Committee and you are on the Electoral Roll then find someone to nominate you on the day – if you know someone who you think should be on the Committee then approach them and check that they are happy for you to nominate them.
    • Up to 13 people will be elected – if more than 13 nominations are made then there will be a secret ballot.
  • Once the Parish Profile is completed and the Nominating Committee has been elected they will meet with the Presbytery Vacancy Procedures Committee and then they will start work, advertising the vacancy and seeking out God’s choice for us as our new Minister.

So there is a lot happening – and you can play your part:

  • By praying for all those involved.
  • By continuing to come along Sunday by Sunday and being part of our worship of God here at Brightons.
  • By continuing to support and help with the many activities and groups that take place here.
  • By talking with your Elder or with the Session Clerk and letting us know what helps you be part of our Church family here
    • What is uplifting and good about Brightons?
    • Are there things we might want to do better?
  • We want to hear from everyone – older, younger, those who have been here for many years and those who are quite new, those who are really involved and those who perhaps feel slightly on the sidelines but would like to be more involved.

The vacancy is a time to “keep on keeping on with God”, and more, to ask Him to show us ways that we can grow and flourish as a congregation so that each member feels that they can play their part and find the joy and reality of following God in our life and worship here in Brightons.

Eric Smith
Session Clerk