Our Church: Mid Deeside Church - Entering a new phase

A thoughtful snapshot of Mid Deeside Church, a semi-rural parish, looking back at some of the successes and challenges of the last few years and to the future when their current minister, Rev Alexander Wark, retires.

By Mid Deeside Church

The outside of Mid Deeside Church
Mid Deeside Church

Mid Deeside is a semi-rural parish centred around the villages of Kincardine O'Neil, Lumphanan and Torphins, about 25 miles west of Aberdeen. We have recently completed the build of a new extension, and we have refurbished the Sanctuary.

Behind this building work lies the vision of the architect, who is one of our elders, of a church fit for the 21st Century. This means not only modern facilities (toilets, kitchen) but a high quality A/V system (which we are really only tapping into) and high standards of health and safety provision.

A building for the community

In connection with our buildings, we are mindful of the legacy we have received from the past which enabled us to raise much of the funding from the sale of properties. Readers may be interested to know that our community focus can be traced back to our Minister reading articles about 'Growing Church' in Life and Work (2011), especially the concluding article identifying the need for community engagement so our new facilities are accessible to community groups and activities from Tai Chi to our fantastic community choir, Notes from Torphins.

Further, the Minister was clear that the focus of worship was to be on the congregation not the leader - we have no pulpit now, for example. Finally, we believe have done a good job on realising the vision for the buildings and we are determined that this is our legacy for the future.

Young children and parents sat in a circle
Music Box, a fun weekly music group for parents and caregivers to enjoy together with their pre-school children

Over the last five years as this vision has developed we have not been totally pre-occupied with buildings. Our community focus has brought Bibleworld and Fischy Music to the schools. Holiday at Home provides a much appreciated summer club for the elderly. Music Box is a fun developmental group for pre-school children, and their families.

Church shop

We have leased a former baker's shop in Torphins, and opened a charity shop which has provided £25,000 for local good causes such as the medical centre, schools, clubs and activities for children and the elderly, and individuals. The shop also raised £5,000 toward the building extension.

Outside the charity shop run by Mid Deeside Parish Church. So far the shop has raised £5000 for church funds.

Experimenting with worship

We have also been experimenting with our worship. There have been an outdoor nativity (2015) and a Doric Nativity (2014) written by one of our elders. Torphins School P5's led a very moving telling of the Easter Story at morning worship (2015). A WW2 veteran (shortly to be 100 years old) fascinated us with his war-time experiences on Remembrance Sunday (2015).

The Minister regularly used CofS YouTube clips during our last Stewardship Programme (2017). Our projection screens have virtually replaced hymn books and pew Bibles.

A selection of decorated Christmas trees from the Christmas Tree Festival
The Christmas Tree Festival at Mid Deeside Church

Thriving

All the time we have kept the usual activities and groups going. The Guild remains strong. Our Banner Group thrives. The choir and praise band develop. The different groups formed by the Session under the Unitary Constitution do essential work. A newly formed/forming Pastoral Group will be an important benefit in the future. The very successful Stewardship Programme, Giving for Growth, should make us free of fund raising, and allow us to contribute more to the community, locally and globally, in the future.

All of this has involved hard work, dedication, asking difficult questions, and facing tough issues. There have been set backs, mistakes, doubts, and worries to overcome. There are unresolved problems like ministry with children and youth. There is potential to develop in worship, care, and mission. The whole story would take a book. We think all of what we do and have done amounts to mission - but the mission goes on with new opportunities and challenges.

Our Minister has decided to retire, and we are entering a new phase in our adventure of faith. We look forward with hope and excitement.