Rural roadshows seek to inspire and empower Kirk members

Church members in remote and rural areas are being urged to attend a series of free roadshows designed to help them overcome challenges and embrace opportunities.

The first session, organised by the Mission and Discipleship Council’s Rural Working Group, is being held at Lairg Parish Church in Sutherland on Saturday.

Dunbar Church
Dunbar Church

A suite of six inspirational new resources to support rural churches will be presented at the events.

They are intended to be a helpful guide for session clerks, ministers and office bearers seeking to make a parish church operate effectively.

One of the resources, titled Church Organisation from Scratch, takes account of circumstances where certain skills may be in short supply.


A total of 43% of all Church of Scotland congregations are classified as rural.

The commitment to have a worship presence in every parish means you will find the Kirk on a craggy rock top and among rolling green fields just as much as in the centre of a town.

The Rural Working Group helps connect, resource and inspire rural congregations the length and breadth of the country.

It is made up of ministers, elders, staff and volunteers who all serve in, or have a passion for, church-life in rural and remote communities.

Mandy Hickman, convener of the Rural Working Group, said: “Usually we meet in Edinburgh as a central point for our members coming in from areas like Inverness, Lochaber, Moray, Dumfriesshire.

“But recently we have decided to go on the road.

“One thing I have learnt, as convener, is that you are the expert on your community.

“Even though the working group might have some helpful resources and good ideas, we want to come alongside, listen, learn and hopefully connect people to others that will assist them to thrive in these challenging times.”

sheep farming
Proving pastoral support for the farming community is a keystone for rural churches

Rev Stephen Ogston, minister of Luce Valley Church at Glenluce, Newtown Stewart, said Ayr Presbytery had established a rural forum and run three well attended Rural Church Conferences.

“The rural forum is really helpful,” he added.

“It is a place for all those people faithfully serving out there in our churches to come together.

“That way we don’t feel so isolated.

“It is a great place to share best practice and hear how others are dealing with the same kinds of challenges I face.”

Roadshows are being held at.

  • Kilmonivaig Church near Spean Bridge in the Highlands on October 27.
  • St. Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church in Perthshire on November 7.
  • Melrose Parish Church in Melrose on November 18.
  • Aberlour Church in Moray on November 30.

People are invited to register to attend the events.