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 2021- 2022 is Lights and Bushels.
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 2021-21 is The courage to change
From 2021-2024, the work, worship, and focus of the Guild falls under the strategy: Look forward in faith.
All six of the current projects supported by Guild members relate to the theme of the three-year strategy. The current project partners are:
- Beat: Blether with Beat, suppporting people living with an eating disorder and raising community awareness
- Home for good: Finding a home for every child, supporting the Christians to be involved in adoption and fostering
- Pioneers: Chocolate Heaven, supporting the development of sustainable chocolate production in South East Asia
- Starchild: Finding the light in every child, supporting children with autism and other learning disabilities in Uganda
- Unida: Hear our voice, supporting and empowering women in Brazil through theological education
- The Vine Trust: Kazunzu Village of Hope, supporting the development of a sustianable village in Tanzania
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 the 1960's the Guild has supported projects and raised more than £7 million.
National Council Guild
The National Council within the Guild is made up of representatives from every Guilds Together group. The National Council is chaired by the national convener, Margaret Muir of Hamilton North Guilds Together. We have four National Vice Conveners:
- Helen Banks of Abernethy Guilds Together looks after Guilds in the North region and oversight of communications and marketing
- Andrea Houston from Nithsdale Guilds Together is responsible for the South region and oversight of outreach
- Helen Eckford from Inverclyde Guilds Together who has responsibility for the West region and oversight of resources
- Flora Buthlay from Gordon Guilds Together who is responsible for the East region and oversight of events
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
The National Council is currently keeping in touch by email as and when decisions require to be made.
The Leadership Team
The National Leadership Team is made up of the National Convener and the four National Vice Conveners. 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
- Our CORE areas, communications & marketing, outreach, resources and events
- Support for our regional groupings
To allow us to better support Guilds at a Guilds Together level a National Vice Convener has responsibility for a regional area. These area as follows:
Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness & Nairn, Ross, Ross/Tain, Lewis, Uist, Lochcarron and Skye, Lochaber, Abernethy, Moray East, Moray West.
South Argyll, Cowal, Bute, Inverclyde, Paisley, Dunbartonshire, Glasgow North, Glasgow South, Glasgow East, Glasgow West, Glasgow City Group, Stirling & Clackmananshire, Hamilton South, Hamilton North, Falkirk, Lanark.
Aberdeen, Shetland, Buchan East, Buchan West, Gordon, Kincardine and Deeside, Angus East, Angus West, Dundee, Perth & Kinross, St Andrews, Lothian East, Esk Valley, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Dunfermline District, Kirkcaldy area. Dunkeld and Meigle East, Dunkeld and Meigle West,
North Ayrshire, Irvine and Kilmarnock, Ayr & District, Nithsdale, Rhins, Machars, Stewartry, Annandale and Eskdale, Guilds based in England, Roxburghshire, Upper Tweed, Berwickshire.
Communications and Marketing
- Newsletters, including e-news
- Social media
- Advertising and publicity
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
- Others as relevant from time to time
The selection of new projects will be considered by a sub group of the National Council with support from the Leadership Team for this purpose every 3 years.
- Published resources, including the Theme and Discussion Guide
- Content of Resource Days
- Support of Resource Co-ordinators
- Annual Gathering
- Logistics of conference events, including Guilds Together Conveners' Conference, Past President and Conveners' Lunch, Project Co-ordinators' Conference, Regional Events
- Big Sing events, etc
- Guild Week