Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

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Tag: Future Focus

Constitutional Review- new Action Teams being formed

Following Future Focus, one of the big issues we decided to address was a streamlining of our decision-making structures.
We’ve abolished our Congregational Board (introducing a Unitary Constitution).
We are now introducing a small Leadership Team, which will report to the Kirk Session.
We’re also inviting congregation members to join the Action Teams- please get in touch if you would like to help.
Here is the full report which went to the Session.
A shorter version of this document will be in the September church magazine.
Comments are, as always, very welcome!

Unitary Constitution Information

On Sunday 24 March the congregation voted to adopt a Unitary Constitution.
We hope this will be approved by Inverness Presbytery on 2 April, after which the new constitution will come into force.
Here is some information about the new consitution.

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Future Focus 3: Our Community- a report on the day.

The third Future Focus session took place on 23 February.
The Minister gave a presentation on ‘Our Parish in Numbers’ which you can view here.
This was based on Scottish Governments which you can look at here.
In groups, people thought about what they themselves did in the community. We also identified issues in the community and thought about how the congregation could best respond to these issues. You have view a summary of what we did here, together with photos of the ‘post’ notes people produced.
The sermon the next day was about how we interact with our community.
The next Future Focus event is the ‘Vision Day’. This will be on Saturday 9 March at Trinity Church, Huntly Street, from 10am to 3pm. Bring a packed lunch and we’ll provide the drinks!
Note: all Future Focus documents are available here.

Future Focus Session 2: Our Congregation

We met at Trinity Church on Saturday 26 January for the Future Focus event about ‘Our Congregation’.
Groups of people created responses, which our facilitator Ian Hall has collated into documents which bring the results together. All of these summaries are now available online.
We looked back at our congregation’s history by creating a timeline of recent history of the congregation. Events were placed above or below the line according to whether they were ‘struggles’ or ‘celebrations’. This helped people see our current situation in historical perspective. For example, one person commented that they understood better how the ‘flight to the suburbs’ of the 60s and 70 had created problems for the Old High. Someone else commmented, ‘We can see that we have had some difficult times- but we’ve been very resilient’.
Another exercise asked us to describe our thoughts about our congregation and our community (or communities). Asked to think of a vehicle to describe the congregation, we had responses such as a CalMac ferry (Braving storms, sometimes turning back, sometimes stranded). Our buildings are valued for their history and their sense that they are places of worship. Our community is ‘Of Christian origin but alienated from the church’ and increasingly diverse. The best thing about the church is, ‘the people – friendly & dependable… the sermons… the acceptance of difference… it’s home to me for prayer’. But missing are young people, families and instrumental music.
Finally, we did a congregational health check. This looked at different areas of the congregation’s life: worship, fellowship, discipleship and service. The most positive score was for worship; and we thought we were strong in fellowship (looking after one another) as well. But discipleship- learning and deepening faith- was weaker, and we did not think we were so good at sharing our faith.
This has given us lots of food for thought! The next Future Focus sessions will take things deeper. Session 3 will look at our community in more detail. Many of us are involved in the community, but the community seems not to be engaged with the life of our congregation, and if we are to strengthen our congregation we need to enage more with the community. The our Vision Day will try to produce a vision for the future of the congregation, and specific plans for the future.
The next Future Focus days will be:
Our Community: Saturday 23 February 2013, 10am to 12 noon at St Stephen’s
Vision Day: Saturday 9 March 2013, 10 to 3pm (lunch privided) at Trinity Church, Huntly Street
Make sure you come along to help shape the future of our congregation!
Keep up with Future Focus under the category ‘Future Focus’ on our website:
http://oldhighststephens.com/category/news/future-focus-news/
Documents about Future Focus will be available here.
 

Faith for the Future: Sermon for 2 September 2012

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 2 September 2012: Year B, Proper 17

SERMON
Texts: James 1:17-27
Mark 7.1-8

Faith for the Future

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

The word ‘Pharisee’ is a word which, for us, seems to sum up the worst about religion. My dictionary says that a person referred to today as a Pharisee is ‘anyone more careful of the outward forms than of the spirit of a religion, a formalist [or] a very self-righteous or hypocritical person’. The adjective ‘pharisaic’ means ‘hypocritical’ (Chambers Dictionary 1998). So the Pharisees have a got a bad name.

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