Who are we taking care of?
I was listening to a song a little while ago when I was struck by the lyrics,
“You take care of you for me, and I’ll take care of me for you.”
I immediately thought about the importance of self care in ministry, and the issues of wellbeing, flourishing, burn-out, work related stress etc that I witness regularly in my role as Pastoral Support Manager for the Ministries Council. On paper the idea of taking care of ourselves sounds straight-forward enough, so why can it be so challenging for those of us in ministry? I guess we only need to imagine how someone would feel if their minister was to offer them the response, “You take care of you for me, and I’ll take care of me for you” to see that clichéd lyrics don’t always provide us with all the direction we need... read more
Get Connected, Stay Connected
– or blood makes you related, love makes you family.
In the first few months since taking up the post of Priority Areas Secretary I have visited a number of congregations to find out more about the context in each area. Sometimes I have visited alone, or with a Priority Areas Committee member or with my colleague John Finch, our new Ministries Support Officer. Our approach is to listen, to offer and to ask. These visits have taught me so much... read more
Bearing witness to the harsh reality and violence of poverty, we recognise that many untruths are told in its name. Poverty is not about laziness and bad decisions, nor is it just about money.
It is about unfair choices or no choice at all. It is about poorer health, lower life expectancy, the threat of sanctions, choosing between heating or eating and children missing out on school because of increasing costs. It is about the slow stripping away of dignity and humanity... read more
I love New Year as an opportunity to look back and reflect. I’m not particularly bothered about ‘the bells’, changing the calendar or getting a new diary (unless, like me, you use an academic diary), but January 1st and the ensuing time is a good marker for reflecting on the year past and how things have changed, and might change again.
Over 2015, I went through a transition from a bad place of illness and stress into something much better – an opportunity for growth and service... read more
There is something about the opening to the nativity story in Luke 1 which leaves me a bit bemused. Elizabeth and Zechariah have longed to have a child of their own for many, many years. But no child has ever appeared and it seems that the time has run out.
One day, a glorious angel appears to Zechariah and announces that not only will they have a child, but they will have a top of the range boy child! (As the passage goes on, the angel seems to get more excited with each added feature.) This alpha male will be the answer to their every prayer!.. read more
Over the last few weeks, I have been repeatedly reminded what the word “family” means and who that includes. It all started when my flatmates and I went to the three day Priority Area* Conference with the focus of the meeting being “Family Matters.” Throughout the conference, we were asked to think about our family at home, in the church, and within the community. It wasn’t until these moments that I truly started to think of all of the different families that I have... read more
Maybe you are part of a team and wrestle with who does what and why, and how you can support each other. Maybe you are witnessing conflict in your congregation and are at loss as to why it’s happening. Maybe you are wondering how to work with your fellow elders in a way that feels supportive.
These are issues that we have been engaging with on this year’s Priority Areas’ Team Mentoring programme both in Glasgow and Dundee. Those who took part recognised that creating space to learn together has been of great value to understand how collaboration can nourish and deepen their work (including in congregations that don’t have a minister)... read more
When Pope Francis released his new encyclical letter, LAUDATO SI’: ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME, there was quite a stir, but since then I’ve heard nothing, not even when climate change is discussed. Perhaps the encyclical is too radical for people to deal with.
From the beginning, Pope Francis unites his care for the environment with an unwavering commitment to overcoming poverty. There should be no disconnect between our faith and our efforts to overcome poverty and the abuse of the natural world – two evils that are really one. He continues that an ecological approach always becomes a social approach. We are part of the natural world and not superior to it. Some people feel free to use and abuse it as if it belonged to them... read more
Starting last month as a full time “gapper” with ‘thegkexperience’ has been like a dream come true for me. The opportunity to work for what I believe to be a fantastic organisation that puts the young people we work with above anyone or anything else. This has had a very positive effect on my attitude towards work and motivates me every day to strive to do my best for our young people.
Due to my 3 years as a volunteer with ‘gk’ and as a participant on their Young Leaders Programme I have had no trouble settling into my new role... read more