Peter's Blog

Around the houses and back home again

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Evacuating Crieff Hydro

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but today's session at Crieff just seemed to settle into the very familiar when we tried to flesh out the strawman. The only excitement came with a fire alarm in the middle of the session which meant we all had to traipse out (in an orderly fashion, of course) of the Hydro and hang around for the all clear.

It is always the same with these conferences that the best bit as a participant is the fellowship and conversations. The buzz of meeting with colleagues and sharing stories, ideas and support for one another is always refreshing and encouraging. 

As I listened to all the ideas being discussed I couldn't help but reflect on my experience in Hamilton Presbytery and through Clyde Presbyteries Planning Group and how so many of the things that were talked about are already happening: the provision of staff to encourage congregations with their mission, discipleship and work with young people, the sharing of resources and training opportunities, joint events, and so on.

What I did helpfully realise is how beneficial it is to be of sufficient size to be able to offer all these resources, something which the smaller presbyteries would find much harder to do. Perhaps there is an optimum size of presbytery that allows for these shared resources but is also small enough to foster a spirit of pastoral concern amongst its members? The highlands and islands are in a very different position which would need some kind of alternative model, it would seem, to be able to enjoy similar benefits to those we have.

I'm intrigued by how the Panel on Review and Reform will proceed. And, of course, after all this work when the General Assembly meets in 2010 to discuss the report it may all be thrown out... such are the workings of our church! I wonder whether Jesus would just roll his eyes at all this hand-wringing over structures and procedures.

Grow It! Share It! Do It!

The group I was in (which got on very well together and had perhaps too much jollity - the result of being right at the back of the meeting room no doubt) made one great contribution to the proceedings with our slogan Grow It! Share It! Do It! that followed a discussion on faith, community and resources. Though some did comment it could equally apply to cannabis - shocking!!