Church in the News: 27 February, 2017

Forfar dementia cafe going from strength to strength

Six years ago the congregation of Forfar East and Old Church of Scotland decided to do something to support people with dementia and their families. Now trainee healthcare workers visit the Church to see first-hand why it has gained a reputation for best practice in dementia support.

Every Monday afternoon the congregation of Forfar East and Old hosts a music cafe that brings around 40-50 people together to sing.

“It gives people with dementia a very caring environment where they can feel safe,” says Rev Barbara Ann Sweetin, who started the music café six years ago when she began her ministry at Forfar East and Old.

Mrs Sweetin had heard of ‘Singing for the Brain’ and wondered if the church could do something like that. She consulted with church elder Pat Brodlie, a dementia expert who works for Alzheimers Scotland, and they created a partnership that, she says, has been “crucial to getting it right”.

The cafe received some great coverage in:

The Courier
Dundee Evening Telegraph
Forfar Dispatch
The Scotsman

Online heroine vote

Two missionaries are in the running to become the first woman to be celebrated at a major landmark museum.

Jane Haining or Mary Slessor could soon be immortalised as a figurehead in the Hall of Heroes at the National Wallace Monument near Stirling.

They are among a shortlist of 14 “remarkable” women who have shaped and made a difference to Scotland's story through art, culture, sport, medicine, science and public life.

You can still vote for them online.

The story has been around for a few weeks, however it has most recently been covered in:

Stornoway Gazette

BBC online

Kirk in need of radical reform says leading academic

In a series of lectures held at St Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh, Rev Dr Doug Gay called for reform to the presbytery and central structures of the Church of Scotland.

His thoughts on the subject made the front page, page 3 and also a separate editorial in The Herald.

Under Dr Gay’s suggestion, the number of presbyteries would be reduced from the present 43 in Scotland to 12. The new, larger bodies would be given ‘substantial devolved financial responsibility for deploying and resourcing ministry within their bounds’ including the creation of new ‘congregational support posts’.

In the centre, the Ministries, Mission and Discipleship, Church and Society and World Mission Councils would be combined into one Church of Scotland Mission Agency. The number of people working for the central councils and bodies would be reduced ‘by up to a third’.

He said: “It seems to me we are long overdue a moment of refocusing, of streamlining, of simplifying. There is a kind of Victorian gothic quality to our institutional architecture. It’s time to knock some solid walls down, take out some pews, put up some new glass partitions, and create some cleaner, clearer, fit for purpose spaces.”

Transcripts of the Chalmers Lectures are available on the Church of Scotland website.

Minister launches fundraising bid to climb Machu Picchu

Rev Monika Redman announced plans to trek to Machu Picchu in Peru to raise money for charity.

Her fundraising effort was launched with the help of some alpacas based on BobCats Alpaca farm in Bonaly.

Mrs Redman, of St Leonard's Church, Dunfermline, is fulfilling a childhood dream to raise more than £3,100 for Blythswood Care. The charity runs a Christmas Shoebox Appeal to support vulnerable people across Europe, Africa and Asia.

See pictures on our website.

The story was covered by:

The Courier
The National
The Herald

Church Gender Imbalance

BBC Radio Scotland spoke to Rev Iain Sutherland, Mission Faciltator, Barclay Viewforth Church, on an event being held next weekend which looks to address why women attend church more than men.

The event on Saturday 4 March will feature a hog roast lunch, rubber dart guns and fast paced talks on topics including social media evangelism, sports chaplaincy and online gambling.

For more information please read our article about the event.

And a little extra...

Media talks

The Comms team recently gave two talks to The Guild looking at how members can promote their work on a local level. The presentations covered how to get media coverage, use social media and the importance of good images.

If your department or council would be interested in a similar presentation from us please get in contact!

Social media

Over the last few weeks we have experimented with removing our usual opening Facebook post line of 'Please consider liking and sharing' as we were concerned that some Facebook users might find this off-putting. However, we have have found that this reduced our audience overall so it has now been put back in place.