Edinburgh churches host big tent get together

The Aidan Project
The Aidan project works with youth in Edinburgh. Photo: Andrew O'Brien

Six different churches are collaborating to bring six fun-packed days of activities for all ages to Edinburgh this summer. The Tent project has been awarded £5000 from the Go For It Fund to pilot the week-long event.
The Tent will set up home in a giant marquee in Saughton Park from Monday 13 to Saturday 18 July. Six denominations Church of Scotland, Episcopal, Baptist, United Reformed, Roman Catholic and the Salvation Army will work together to offer:

  • A children's Holiday Club every morning
  • Sports groups for young people in the afternoons
  • All-age community events every evening
  • All-day family event on Saturday 18 July

At the end of the week on Sunday 19 July, some of the local churches will cancel their separate Sunday Services to worship together at a special ecumenical event at The Tent.
Marieke Klaasse, Skatepark Outreach Co-ordinator at the Aidan Project,saw a need for The Tent, after a Teddy Bear Hunt she helped organise at Saughton Park last summer attracted 250 local children. Listening to parents Marieke learned that children living in Saughton lacked organized holiday activities.
Marieke said: "We expect to learn about the community we serve and the people who live in it. We want to help people form new relationships and present God and the church in a fun and approachable way. We want to help families lead healthy lives. We want to help people understand the Gospel".
The churches surrounding SaughtonPark knew their congregations didn't represent the community living in their parishes. So to further their mission of nurturing Christian faith beyond the church walls, they developed The Tent project.

Peter MacDougall, project development officer for Saughton Park, supports the project and is keen to host more community events. He hopes to include The Tent in the park's five-year activity plan.
Rev Michael Mair, 26, is the minister at Edinburgh: St David's Broomhouse, one of the six congregations working within The Tent.
"I believe that the ecumenical workings of this project are something that the wider church could learn from," he said. "Already we have found the great benefits that a team of different people from different backgrounds bring to a project of this nature".
The Tent organisers intend to connect the families who come to The Tent to events and activities at the six partner churches. They will gather feedback over the six days, to find out why people came, what they enjoyed, and what will bring them back.
Michael said:"We don't want this to be a project that works for a week and then disappears, so we're going to make an intentional effort to invite those who come to The Tent to similar events and groups that meet in local congregations. These people will be sources of evaluation after the event has finished".

Related pages

The Tent website - http://www.thetent.eu/

About Go For It - http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/serve/go_for_it/about_the_fund

The Aidan Project is an Edinburgh-based congregation, which is receiving a Main Grant from the Go ForIt Fund: http://www.ssapc.org.uk/#who