Moderator will meet people across Clyde Presbytery during pastoral visit
Published on 14 April 2023 4 minutes read
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will begin a busy programme of events in Clyde Presbytery this weekend for a visit which will include an ecumenical lunch in historic Paisley Abbey and meetings with civic leaders.
Over the next week, Dr Greenshields will see some of the projects supported by the Kirk in the area, meet people from a wide range of backgrounds connected with the Church and offer encouragement and support to them as they serve their community.
Clyde Presbytery covers both sides of the Clyde to the west of Glasgow and was formed in 2020 by the merging of the former Presbyteries of Dumbarton, and Greenock and Paisley.
Dr Greenshields, who was brought up a few miles along the Clyde in Glasgow, thanked the Presbytery for putting together such a comprehensive programme of events over the week of 16 to 23rd April.
He commented: "Presbytery visits are pastoral in nature but it is also an opportunity to learn and I will be very much in listening mode to hear people's concerns and aspirations.
"As a Church, we seek to be active in the community and I am looking forward to meeting a wide range of people from different walks of life to discuss the issues that they face and assure them all that they are held in our prayers."
Projects for all ages
The official programme begins on Sunday morning, when Dr Greenshields will preach at Lomond Parish Church in Alexandria, followed by an evening service at Freeland Church in Bridge of Weir.
On Monday, he will join Clyde Presbytery mission officer Andy Reid in visiting mission projects at Bearsden Killermont and Cardross Village Hub on the north side of the river before lunch in Paisley Abbey with members of the Church of Scotland and other religious organisations. Those attending will include Catholic Bishop John Keenan, Bishop Kevin Pearson of the Episcopal Church, Colonel Peter McCarthy, the Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Phil Arbon of Churches Together Renfrewshire, the Rev Paul Whittle, Moderator of the URC Synod of Scotland, and Shabir Begg OBE Chairman of the Scottish Alul Bayt Society. Dr Greenshields will also meet Paisley Abbey's interim moderator, Rev Jim Gibson.
Tuesday will begin with an opportunity to meet local presbytery staff, before lunch and a short worship service at Paisley St George's Parish Church. The day will conclude with an evening civic reception with Argyll and Bute Council attended by Provost Maurice Corry and other local councillors, along with local clergy from the Church of Scotland and other denominations.
Wednesday morning will see Dr Greenshields visit Ferguslie Park Drop In Centre where he will hear from pioneer minister Rev Stuart Davidson about his work in the community before lunch at Dalmuir Barclay community café/food pantry. Dr Greenshields, who has a longstanding interest in drug addiction issues, will then visit The Haven drug rehabilitation project in Kilmalcolm, which encourages those with addiction issues to live a drug free, healthy and socially rewarding lifestyle in accordance with Christian principles.
Thursday's itinerary will include a visit to Lyle Gateway and Community Garden in Greenock, before Dr Greenshields meets the volunteers working with Starter Packs Inverclyde, a homelessness support charity which provides basic household items for adults and families starting out in a new home.
On Friday the Moderator will visit two projects run by CrossReach, the operating name of the Church of Scotland's social care council. In the morning, he will meet service users and staff from the CrossReach Oasis Centre at Garelochhead and get an idea of some of the activities offered for older people. After a break for lunch at Project 81, a youth and community enterprise project in Garelochead, he will visit Erskine Waterfront Campus a CrossReach project which serves children and young people.
In the evening he will attend a dinner with local serving ministers and interim moderators.
The following day, Dr Greenshields will visit Inverclyde Family Contact Centre in Greenock. It provides a child-centred neutral setting where children of separated families can spend time with one or both parents or family members. The project, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year, was set up by the Church of Scotland's former Presbytery of Greenock in response to a major report to the General Assembly on family matters.
The Moderator will later meet Rev Matthew Ritchie at Neilston Pioneering Lunch Club based at the village's parish church.
He will begin his final day of official engagements by preaching at the Sunday service at Renfrew North Parish Church before sharing lunch with the congregation and will close his Clyde visit with a farewell service at Riverside Parish Church in Dumbarton in the evening.
A chance to hear some good news
Clerk to Clyde Presbytery, Rev Peter McEnhill, said he was looking forward to introducing the Moderator to some of the work being done by the Church and its members in the area.
"Hosting a visit by the Moderator is a great honour and I am sure he will have an enjoyable, informative and fulfilling visit," he said.
"Everyone in the Presbytery is very much looking forward to welcoming Iain and his wife Linda and giving them an opportunity to see some of the work which is going on to support local communities across the Presbytery area."