A new form of ministry, inspired by the Skeins of Geese that regularly fly overhead, has been evolving in the West of Angus. We believe that this will be a key form of 21st Century Ministry in the Church of Scotland.
This new form of ministry is based on the recognition that the geese fly far further in the v shaped skein; that the leadership of the skein changes with frequent regularity; that there is mutual support within the formation and that those at the back encourage the leaders to keep flying.
Motivated by a belief that we can achieve so much more and build stronger and more effective congregations when we co-operate with each other, a Group Practice Ministry has evolved.
Recognising, too, the potential loneliness and isolation of ministry and also the demands of contemporary ministry and realising that no one person can fully meet the needs of congregations Group Practice Ministry offers a team approach where a number of Charges and their ministers work in co-operation.
Essentially we do together the things that make common sense and we do alone the things that make common sense. Each Congregation still has its own minister and members still have their own minister.
The West Angus Area Ministry
A few years ago three of the charges in the Kirriemuir Cluster of theAngus PresbyteryPlan decided to form a Parish Grouping. This grouping is known as the West Angus Area Ministry [WAAM]. The congregations involved were the Glens and Kirriemuir Old, Eassie and Nevay l/w Newtyle, and the Isla Parishes. At the time the Kirk Sessions of the fourth charge in the Cluster, Kirriemuir St Andrew’s l/w Oathlaw Tannadice did not want to be part of the Parish Grouping. They have now changed their minds following the departure of their previous minister.
Also the Congregation of Glamis Inverarity Kinnettles which was previously part of the Forfar Cluster wish to join the Kirriemuir Cluster and become part of WAAM. They do so from November of 2011 under the new term of “Guardianship”. This basically means that the current WAAM ministers, led by Carleen Robertson, as Interim Moderator, will meet all ministry needs.
An additional Ministries post was added to the grouping within the context of the Presbytery Plan. This post was filled in January 2007 by the Rev Linda Stevens. Linda is based in the Glens and Kirriemuir Old and is employed by the Ministries Council as a WAAM Minister with a remit to work across the charges. Her appointment has been extended to 2017.
Following the retiral of the Isla Parishes minister,Angus Presbyteryagreed to an unrestricted Call on the basis of 70% of the time being spent in the Isla Parishes and 30% of the time being spent in WAAM. The RevIan Murraywas called to the Charge in 2010.
The Parish Grouping has access to the Administrator and Office facilities ofKirriemuirOldParishChurchand also to time from the locally employed Pastoral Assistant, also based inKirriemuirOldParishChurch.
During the past few years WAAM has developed in three distinct ways…
 The ministers of the team meet on a weekly basis to discuss ideas, share views and support each other. They also provide pastoral cover for each other during holidays, etc
 Congregations work together where it makes sense to do so and alone where appropriate. To date, examples of working together have included Bible Study, Joint Newsletters, Joint membership classes, a Web Site and various special services.
 Linda’s role evolves on an ongoing basis and she has identified and visited young families in WAAM. She supports primary school chaplaincy in WAAM, makes pastoral visits in WAAM and leads worship. She is also Chaplain to Webster’s High School S1 and is involved in Primary / Secondary transfer
The WAAM Team has identified the following as important key points underpinning our work. These are …
1.A commitment to work as part of a team with colleagues and seeing them as a support and a strength and not a threat
2.Flexibility in outlook to Parish Ministry and its development
3.A willingness to grasp the opportunity to identify, develop and share, personal areas of strength and interest
4.A recognition that Team work in the Church is in its infancy and a willingness to participate in this exciting development
Group Practice Ministry in action
- Appointment of a Team Minister
- The Ministers meet weekly for a “Team Meeting” and offer Pastoral Support to one another and enjoy regular, open discussion of Professional Practice issues like Baptism and Holy Communion, dealing with difficult issues and so on.
- Joint Newsletters has been circulated to members of all three Congregations
- The Kerygma Bible Study Course has been run twice by congregation members and also a Job Bible Study
- Team Training Days have been run on Vision, Leadership, Team Work and Spirituality
- Vacancy / Interim Moderator,Holidayand Illness Cover is provided within the group
- There is one central printing / admin resource
- Personal areas of strength are being shared across three Congregations
- The Congregations have reviewed what it means to be a 21stCenturyChurch
- There are new members course with one service of joining, but to each of the three Congregations
- The identification of a family database across the three congregations [200+ families]
- Relationships are building between congregation members
- There is aWest Angus Area MinistryWeb Site
- The visiting of members across traditional parish boundaries
- Sharing of school chaplaincy
- Agreed common Aims and areas of work
- Skein Tryst lunch club for the elderly in the three parishes
- Regular Pulpit rotation
- The “Guardianship” of Glamis Inverarity Kinnettles
- Plans to read Brian McLaren’s “A new kind of Christianity” as a study book