Kirkcaldy church's name change offers new Hope to the community
Published on 13 September 2023 4 minutes read
A Kirkcaldy kirk is living up to its new name by offering new hope to its community.
Kirkcaldy Hope Parish Church officially adopted its new name at last Sunday's service, which included a ribbon-cutting service performed by the oldest and youngest members of the congregation.
Explaining the choice of name in a new video introducing the church, Rev Josh Milton said: "We want to be the beacon of Christ's hope and bring the promise of hope to everyone in Kirkcaldy."
The name marks a fresh chapter for what had been Templehall and Torbain United Church, a union of two Lang Toon kirks which became a unified congregation in February 2021.
The naming ceremony followed a series of thanksgiving services marking the legacy of both Templehall and Torbain churches and involving past ministers, and a final closing service at the Templehall building, which is now being put to good use for the wider community as a NHS vaccination centre.
Mr Milton, who was inducted as the first minister of the united parish last November, said that had been a very emotional event.
"There was the ending of something with a huge legacy and the beginning of a new, exciting venture and I think our name, Hope Church, really resonates with the community," he said.
Mr. Milton, with roots in Chennai, India, and a history in the film sector, is eager to embrace the challenge of conveying the Gospel's message in today's digital age. His strategy comprises in-person ministry, digital ministry, and community outreach. The church is already enhancing its digital footprint, sharing sermons and other content on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. This digital engagement includes heartwarming messages from local leaders and notable figures, including Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton.
"Post-Covid, the idea of parish has gone beyond its historical boundaries," Mr Milton said.
"People from different parts of the world can now access us and we want to focus on that."
The online element of Hope Church also aims to share its message with families in a form they are more comfortable and familiar with than a traditional service.
Mr Milton explained: "I want to offer videos that offer encouragement and life tips on how to overcome stress, depression and about relationships drawing upon the timeless wisdom and solutions found in the scriptures. I want to be able to speak the language of a modern-day person, and share that a relationship with Christ can often offer answers to life's intricate puzzles. By doing so, I hope to create a bridge that allows individuals of all generations to journey with us."
In the same way, Hope Church's community efforts are gaining good momentum. This includes the bustling "Bairns a Blether and a Brew" initiative for parents and toddlers, and active engagement with educational institutions. Additionally, they've rolled out the "Hopeline Kirkcaldy" programme for the elderly. Under this initiative, retired church members reach out to the elderly or those feeling isolated, making 20 to 30 weekly calls to ensure they remain connected and have someone to converse with.
Steps of Hope
"Hopeline Kirkcaldy, our walking group, convenes every Monday at Hope Church, serves as a intersection of friendship, fitness, and faith," Mr. Milton elaborated. "Beyond the physical benefits, these walks foster a unique environment for conversation. Walking side by side, with the backdrop of the parish allows participants to delve into deeper, more genuine discussions than they might in more formal settings. As these connections deepen, real friendships take root. As participants immerse themselves in nature's embrace, some find it spiritual and find themselves saying silent prayers to those at home confronting life's stresses. This communal activity truly embodies the intertwining of physical well-being with spiritual growth."
"Looking forward, our digital outreach initiatives will integrate with a forthcoming 16-week media production course tailored for senior secondary-age students. These students will have the opportunity to acquire creative proficiencies in Audio/Video production, live-streaming, and capturing various community events on film. In recognition of their efforts and learning, they'll also earn valuable credits."
However, all the outreach work at what is already a buzzing church with 100 families visiting every week will always have a clear Christian element.
"We as a church are consciously approaching every facet of our ministry with purpose, mission-driven intent, and courage, underlining our identity as a Church, Mr Milton stated.
"I want to be the minister of a church and not a well-being centre! Life's true joys are found through Christ, and that's what drives me and that is what I am called to do."
He added, "Even with all the changes around us, we aim to be a beacon of hope. Our church is full of energy and good vibes. Yes, there's a lot on our plate, but I'm genuinely excited about what's ahead."