Path of Renewal invites more congregations to join

The Path of Renewal initiative, launched in September 2015, is about to expand. Set up to bring ministers and church members together to reflect on the big picture and explore new approaches to church life, Path of Renewal is now inviting 40 new congregations to join.

A Path of Renewal Group at Monkton Prestwick North Church
A Path of Renewal Group at Monkton Prestwick North Church

Rev Liz Crumlish, who coordinates Path of Renewal, said a letter has been sent to ministers, Presbyteries and session clerks to let them know the project is open for new nominations.

Mrs Crumlish came to her role after working as a hospital chaplain and in parish ministry where she had learned the value of peer supervision and support.

Part of her attraction to Path of Renewal, she says, is that it offers ministers mentorship and gives congregations an opportunity to “stand back, reflect and discuss.”

“It’s about depth. It’s about identifying the path God lays before us and taking those first steps that begin to change the culture of the church.

“We are looking for ministers and congregations who are open to reflecting and considering new ideas and ways of working,” she says. “Every minister will be connected to a mentor and will be working with a group of people who are interested in changing our church culture and in supporting each other.

“Ministers who have been part of the project say their mindset has changed and they are thinking more about the mission of God and how we can be involved.”

Path of Renewal ministers take a selfie at a training event
Path of Renewal ministers take a selfie at a training event

A time to rebuild

Congregations across Scotland can apply for Path of Renewal, and there will be no restrictions on the number of congregations from each Presbytery. The original 40 ministers who took part in the initial pilot project will continue to take part and will act as mentors and guides for the new members.

Rev Graham Duffin, Convener of the Church’s Panel on Review and Reform has helped create the Path of Renewal initiative.

“We are moving from a time when we sat back and expected folk to come to us to a time where we recognise we need to be out alongside people. We are open to sharing our faith no matter where we meet people.

“We recognise that we are living in a time of demolition and rebuilding where we need to change our mindset and focus on our Christian mission.

“This is not about keeping things going and it’s not about adding more activities. It’s about folk realising that God can use their lives in different ways no matter where they are.

“I think Path of Renewal offers people a safe place to take risks and experiment and to begin together to look at things in a new way. It is not an easy path, and not for people who want to take things easy. It is for someone who is looking for a challenging experience.”

Rev Robin Hill, one of the first group of ministers to take part in Path of Renewal, says the initiative offers congregations encouragement to move forward.

“It is less about structures and organisation than about an attitude of willingness to try something new,” he says.

“We don’t have to be constrained by church rules or because it’s never been tried before. So it is ok to try something new even if you do fail. The worst thing is not trying and failing, it is not to try.”

“I think it has galvanised a lot of people in very positive ways. Over the years I have felt some frustration that congregations looking for positive ways forward haven’t really had the guidance. Path of Renewal makes that possible.”

Follow Rev Liz Crumlish's Path of Renewal blog