Your opportunity to help shape the Church's plan for land and buildings
Published on 5 August, 2019
Over the next few months, the Church of Scotland General Trustees will be inviting your views on one of the most crucial issues for the future of our Church: how best to manage our church land and buildings. Every congregation and presbytery is encouraged to contribute through an online survey and a series of workshops across Scotland.
The online survey will run until Saturday 31 October, giving you the chance to express your views on the best ways to manage, use and maintain our buildings for the future.
Well-equipped spaces in the right places
Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, encouraged everyone to get involved with the process, saying:
“At the General Assembly this year there was an overwhelming endorsement of the need to change. The work of the Special Commission and the Radical Action Plan were adopted and work to implement them has already begun. However, it was stressed at the Assembly that there was a third aspect to this work which affects the land and buildings we use and the need for 'well equipped spaces in the right places' as a resource for worship, mission and outreach.
“Buildings are hugely important to everyone in the Church and we all have strong feelings about the buildings we know best. We need to get this right. So I very much welcome the General Trustees consultation which asks all of us to complete the online survey on how best to manage our land and buildings. This can be completed by individuals, kirk sessions and presbyteries and input at all these levels will be immensely helpful.”
“This consultation is important so I encourage everyone who cares about the Church to take time to work through the survey and make their views known. This will ensure that the plan that will go to the 2020 General Assembly will be the very best plan we can make for the future of our congregations as well as for the mission of the Church.”
Alongside the survey, which will be promoted through our social media channels and on the homepage of the Church of Scotland website, a series of workshops are planned over the period to help you make the most of the opportunity.
These events will allow you to find out more about the proposals, ask some of our General Trustees your burning questions, as well as to discuss the issues with other local churches.
To ensure the report is completely anonymous and impartial the General Trustees have engaged Built Environment Forum Scotland to manage the project. The full report will be made publicly available once it is complete.
The consultation follows the General Assembly encouraging the General Trustees to develop a plan for the Church’s estate with the view to recommendations being brought back to the Assembly in 2020. The General Trustees are keen to gather a wide range of opinions and views so the final consultation report is as useful as possible.
The overall vision is of a Church estate which has ‘well-equipped spaces in the right places’. We already know that there are many buildings which are getting this right, but there are some fundamental concerns that still need to be addressed to meet the needs of congregations going forward.
The plan that emerges from the consultation report will not be a detailed plan for each building in the Church’s ownership – but will steer the direction, principles, policies and processes for the future. It will act as a framework for action by presbyteries, local congregations and the General Trustees.
Like the Radical Action Plan which was agreed at this year’s General Assembly, it will be designed to liberate the local church to be as effective as possible.
Have your voice heard
Ready to start thinking about what you want to say? Here are the ways you can get involved:
- Read our land and buildings proposals paper – ‘well equipped spaces in the right places’
Firstly, we urge you to have a read through our land and buildings plan proposals paper to get acquainted with the ideas being considered. The proposals put forward have been prepared in consultation with fabric conveners, presbyteries and other church representatives, and many of them were also considered at seminars throughout 2017-2018 where over 1,000 congregational representatives were present.
- Book yourself a place at one of your local workshops
Next, book yourself a place at one of your local workshops through Eventbrite. During the events, you will learn about the proposals welcomed by the 2019 General Assembly and how to help shape the plan that will go to the 2020 General Assembly.
- Add the date of our live webinar to your diary - Monday 7 October
Can’t make a local event? We’ll be holding a live webinar on Monday 7 October where one of our General Trustees and a representative from BEFS will be answering questions. More details will follow on this nearer the time.
- Fill in our survey
Once you’ve had time to reflect on everything you’ve heard, it’s time to fill in the survey. It takes 25-30 minutes to complete. All responses recorded will be anonymous and will contribute to the final consultation report, which will be publicly available. The General Trustees and the buildings consultancy team will use the report to help shape proposals which will be presented and voted upon at next year’s General Assembly.
Attend your local workshop
Here are the dates of the land and buildings workshops taking place from 6 August-12 October. Please note, bookings will close one week before each event.
Queen’s Cross Church, Albyn Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1YN
Tuesday 6 August
Inshes Church of Scotland, Inshes Retail Park, Sir Walter Scott Drive, Inverness IV2 3TW
|Wednesday 7 August|
Edinburgh International Conference Centre, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
Friday 30 August
The Park Hotel, 2 Dundonald Place, Kilmarnock KA1 1UR
Wednesday 4 September
Trades Hall of Glasgow, 85 Glassford Street, Glasgow G1 1UH
Wednesday 11 September
St Matthews, Tay St, Perth PH1 5LQ
Saturday 28 September
Dryfesdale Country House, Dryfebridge, Lockerbie DG11 2SF
Wednesday 2 October
|Webinar||The Church of Scotland website||Monday 7 October||19:00-21:00||TBC|
Stirling Court, University of Stirling, Airthrey Rd, Stirling FK9 4LA
Saturday 12 October
For all queries related to booking or attending the events, please get in touch with Sara Deeks, the executive assistant for the General Trustees.
We know one-size doesn’t fit all so please come along to one of our land and buildings workshops and make sure your voice is part of the discussion.
Throughout the consultancy process, we are aiming to be as transparent as possible and will be sharing our subsequent findings in the coming months.
In the meantime, if you have any questions as to the land and buildings plan, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the General Trustees.