Priority Areas

Priorities…. Questions

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

During Lent, we’re asked to take a long, hard look at ourselves; how we live our life, consider the choices we have made and look ahead to the choices before us.
In doing this there are, inevitably, questions – and with questions, we seek answers... read more

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Priorities…. A.B.C.

The A.B.C. (All-together Better Church) perspective on ministry and life in priority areas.

Often the approach we have in ministry is to work through the problems or needs in the context we are called to serve. The general perception of a Priority Area Parish (PA) is a place with deprivation, illness, and damaging social behaviour.

The church mission then takes the shape of serving the needs judged by demographic analysis, past experience and the reputation of the said community. While this understanding paints a picture it is a deficit identifying approach that starts from a negative premise... read more

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Priorities…. Serving!


A Year of Service – A lifetime a change – that’s the strapline for the PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) programme.  For the past couple of years, I have had the real privilege of acting as site coordinator for the four YAVs who have come each year to spend 11 months, from September to July working within different priority area parishes in Glasgow.  Scotland is one of the 6 international sites and there are 15 national sites around the USA working with partner agencies and within churches to address the root causes of poverty, violence and injustice within a global context and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ... read more

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Priorities…. Moments

In November, I went with a group of 18 others to Rome as part of the European Festival of Joy and Mercy.  We were a mixed bunch from Glasgow and Leeds, four different organisations, of different religious beliefs including Catholic, Muslim and Protestant.  To mark the Jubilee of Mercy Pope Francis invited people living in poverty to Rome from 11 to 13 November.  Our group leader, Martin, had successfully applied to take a group to the event and with much needed donations from some amazing and generous individuals and organisations off we set... read more

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Priorities…. Community

Tillydrone Vision, a joint project by Saint George’s Tillydrone Church, Tillydrone Community Council and Riverbank Primary School, has been running from the church for almost ten years. It’ll celebrate a birthday in the Autumn!

Working with every section of the community, Tillydrone Vision has been supporting a primary school and orphanage in the small town of Kamuli in rural Uganda. The school asked for a tractor. A strange thing for a primary school to want but it turns out that they could rent a bit of land very cheaply to plant food crops to feed the kids at school... read more

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Priorities…. Presence

Before becoming a Young Adult Volunteer in Glasgow, I read the blogs of the last year’s YAVs and I was introduced for the first time to the idea of a “ministry of presence.” It immediately sounded appealing to me- the idea that a person can just be in the presence of another person and let that be enough. I heard the term again more recently on a visit to Troon, where I met a woman who served as a YAV in Northern Ireland several years ago... read more

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Priorities…. Making Disciples

‘He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word.’

Mark 3:13-14

“How will we know when we have achieved what we set out to do? What will it look like? What are the markers along the way?

These are just some of the questions we have been grappling with in this discernment phase of the Path of Renewal.

.. read more
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Priorities…. With not For

Derek Pope’s paper BEYOND 2017 – A MORE EXCELLENT WAY is serious food for thought.  In May Derek will step down as Convener of the Priority Areas Committee.   He has so far spent forty years working in Priority Areas, first as a youth worker and then as a parish minister.   For most of those years he and his wife Helen and their family have actually lived in the heart of the priority areas.  So when Derek says the Church needs to display a new attitude, we should listen... read more

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Priorities…. Come and See

“Hello Mark, so what you been up to for the past 20 years?”

The opening line in the trailer for the imminent T2 Trainspotting movie. This time around the movie tackles the passing of time head on, where the characters 20 years on are all too aware of the cul de sacs and dead ends at which they’ve now arrived. They are to quote one of the movie’s lines “Tourists in their own youth” a description that perhaps applies to the audience watching it too... read more

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Priorities…. Lift up Your Heads

Stobo Castle keeps popping up on my Facebook feed telling me that the third Monday in January is the worst day of the year. I’ve never been to Stobo, but it’s very nice of them to care about my state of mind at this time of year. Most of the chat around New Year is about new beginnings, the chance to start over, a clean slate, a new you. But I think actually the hard part of New Year, which probably does sink in around about now, is that when you sit down at your desk and remind yourself who you are and what you do, you slowly realise most of the stuff you are engaging with is not new... read more

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