Annual themes were introduced to encourage guilds to plan their programmes more effectively. These imaginative resources were introduced in the 1950s to give a focus for guilds but are sufficiently broad to allow for imaginative planning. The Theme for 2016 to 2017 is "Go in Joy".
Topics were a later introduction. They offer a chance to explore a particular issue of current concern, possibly leading to some local action.
Resource material for each theme and topic is prepared and circulated before each new session and training days are offered to help local leadership teams use the theme and address the topic in their local groups. Additional material and notes for speakers are available on our resources area.
Our Discussion topic for 2016-17 is "Let's talk about….working towards fulfilment."
From 2015 to 2018, the work, worship and focus of the Guild falls under the strategy: Be Bold, Be Strong!
All six of the current projects supported by Guild members relate to the theme of the three-year strategy. The current project partners are:
- Ascension Trust: Supporting the Work of Street Pastors
- Care for the Family: A project to support and encourage new parents
- Christian Aid: Supporting women and caring for the environment in Bolivia
- Feed the Minds: Breaking the cycle of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- Mission International: Helping rebuild a community in Haiti
- Prospects: Encouraging adults with learning difficulties into the life of the church
Guild groups are free to choose to support any or all of these projects, both prayerfully and financially, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the underlying issues presented by each project. Guild projects have often been at the leading edge of the Church's work - addressing issues such as drugs, prostitution and AIDS, as well as support for training and initiatives for young people. Since 1997 the Guild has supported 36 projects and raised more than £3 million.
National Groups of the Guild
The different National Groups within the Guild are made up of representatives from every presbyterial council. Each Group is chaired by a convener, with the National Council chaired by the national convener, Rosemary Johnston of Perth Presbyterial Council. The National Vice Convener is Marge Paterson of Ayr Presbyterial Council.
The National Council
The National Council is responsible for:
- The development of policy
- Relating to other Church councils and committees
- Appointing a general secretary
- Overseeing the work of constituent committees and working groups
- Participation in consultations for the Scottish Parliament, and response to immediate issues (for example the current campaign of women in Afghanistan and the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence
The National Council will be meeting on 24 November 2016, 15 February 2017, 20 April 2017, 14 June 2017.
The Leadership Team
The National Leadership Team is made up of the National Convener, the National Vice Convener and the Conveners of each of the National Groups.They have oversight of:
- Work of the National Groups
- National Council Agenda
- Ambassadorial and speaking work
- Formulation of policy proposals for the National Council, including oversight of finance and staffing issues
- Financial planning
The Leadership Team will meet on 17 November 2016, 2 February 2017, 19 April 2017 and 8 June 2017.
Communications and Marketing Group
- Newsletters, including e-news
- Social media
- Advertising and publicity
The Group convener is Marian MacIntyre from Shetland Presbyterial Council.
Oversight of the Guild’s connections with other bodies, including:
- Guild representation on other Councils and Committees of the Church of Scotland
- Project Partnership Scheme *(see below)
- Guild representation on outside groups, including:
- Inter-faith Group on Domestic Abuse
- ACTS Anti-human trafficking Group
- World Day of Prayer
- Jubilee Scotland
- Others as relevant from time to time
The selection of new projects will be considered by this group, with support from the Leadership Team for this purpose.
The Group convener is Sheila Bishop of Kirkcubright Presbyterial Council.
- Published resources, including the Theme and Discussion Guide
- Content of Resource Days
- Support of Resource Co-ordinators
This Group convener is Patricia Robertson of Greenock Presbyterial Council.
- Annual Gathering
- Logistics of conference events, including Presbyterial Council Conveners’ Conference, Past President and Conveners’ Lunch, Project Co-ordinators’ Conference, Regional Events
- Big Sing events, etc
- Guild Week
The Events Group convener is Jane Dargie of Aberdeen Presbyterial Council.