The Steeple Church, Dundee
Published on 6 March, 2018
This month Rev Dr Robert Calvert, minister of the Steeple Church in Dundee writes about keeping the doors of the church open and life at the heart of the city.
The Steeple Church Dundee is in the heart of Dundee situated between the Overgate shopping centre and the Nethergate with its bus stops and route to the waterfront.
As the minister, I try to be available in the city centre where I have a role with Abertay University, the business sector and the shopping centre.
We try not to be like a normal parish church but to be present around the church which is open as much as possible. The public image of churches with closed (and even locked) doors has done a lot of damage.
Open Mondays ensure that people are ready to meet, pray or talk with people. Some come as visitors to the city (by cruise-ship or bus) while others come to see the historic tower (it is the oldest medieval church tower in Scotland).
Meeting local people has been a rewarding and strengthening experience. Regular refugee parties recently at New Year and on Mother's Day are building relationships with Syrian Muslims.
We are keen to develop our existing fresh expressions of church (lunchtime, café and messy) that are not seen as feeding the regular Sunday service.
Worship on Sunday mornings is participative with a different worship team each week and the chairs set out in a semi-circle around the communion table - but café church puts chairs round tables and is without singing and messy church is messy!
Serving the community
Our Parish Nurses run two drop-in sessions each week for the many people around the city centre, who live with the effects of poverty and often with all sorts of addictions that are deeply damaging to whole person health. The parish nurses are involved with the city council and other service providers in the third sector to work for a safer and fairer city.
Our attitude to being put in a city-cluster with congregations different from us theologically and organizationally has been a prayerful and willing one. We are eager to get to know them - and work in small ways: youth fellowship, an international café for Syrians trying to learn our language, carol singing at Ninewells hospital and drinking coffee.
With its missional vision for Dundee, The Steeple is "a church at heart of the city with the city at its heart".