The Priority Areas Committee is one of the main areas of the Ministries Council. It is responsible for the support, development and co-ordination of the Church’s work within its poorest communities.


'priority for the poorest and the most marginalised is the gospel imperative facing the whole Church, not just the Church in the poorest places'


'a reinvigorated and sustainable worshipping people and community life in all priority area parishes'

In our report to the General Assembly 2017 we reaffirmed our commitment to working in Priority Areas and to widening the work with our poorer communities; embedding the work of the previous 10 years and enabling new programmes and initiatives to develop.

It was never a short term investment and our 7 strategic outcomes remain as live and relevant as they were ten years ago. The story of the Church of Scotland in Priority Areas, even in recent years, speaks of resilience and joyfulness and real commitment in difficult times. However, it is also true that many Priority Area congregations are feeling "bowed low" - like the woman in the Gospel story - burdened with the effort of maintaining the Church.

Thus, we will work strategically to:

  • Increase our ability to take our work to the margins
  • Increase our ability to tackle the causes of poverty in Scotland
  • Increase our ability to widen the reach of our support
  • Increase our ability to make our buildings work for us, fit for purpose and be community lights
  • Increase our confidence and ability to place worship at the heart of what we do
  • Increase our ability to make our structures more straightforward
  • Increase our skills and abilities to develop more effective leaders

These outcomes will inform the existing and new programmes that will be developed in the next phase of our work. At an operational level, we will reassess our targets, break them down into milestones and implement a new monitoring and evaluation plan. We must not lose sight that poverty exists in many areas in Scotland that are not currently designated as a Priority Area. We are also committed to reaching our to these areas and widening our programmes so that we can offer more to them. Equally, we are committed to sharing the learning from our work with the wider Church, so that this vision can be shared further.

We are committed to creating a Church in Priority Areas which:

  • is indivisible from its local community, seeking to work with local people
  • sees local people as gifted, creative, resilient leaders
  • reaches out and stands with people in their most difficult situations
  • uses all ways possible to live the Gospel
  • seeks to be a family of church communities and encompasses the widest range of theology
  • is intolerant of and becomes prophetic about injustice

Find our more about the range of our work

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