Letter from Interim Moderator for St Ayle
From the Interim Moderator
It is my hope that I can do what I can to assist the parish in this time of change and transition. We are facing a lot of changes and challenges at this time and none of them, internationally, nationally and in our local community are going to be easy to resolve happily or easily.
I have recently, on the departure to retirement of my colleague, the Revd Brain Oxburgh, become the Interim Moderator of both Crail and Kingsbarns in addition to my ongoing appointment at St Ayle. It will be a change for both the congregation and myself and we will all have to adjust accordingly.
Change is not something we are very comfortable with, as it disturbs our equilibrium and removes our certainties and our security. Change, however, is a natural part of life, in all of God’s creation and in our human bodies and relationships. Children grow up to be teenagers, then young adults, develop relationships with others, often become couples, and sometimes parents, and then in God’s good time, may become grandparents.
Change is now affecting the Church very dramatically. Perhaps the challenges we are experiencing are as great as the events we know as the Disruption or the Reformation. There is a major crisis in the number of candidates now in education and training for ordination, and a large number of ministers about to retire in the next five or so years. More and more is being demanded of the Church members, especially those willing to take on leadership roles with the civil legislation of data protection, safeguarding, charity trusteeship and financial responsibility under the Office for Scottish Charity Regulation. Many are finding the burdens expected of them in Church far more than they bargained for and are feeling under pressure.
In St Ayle the church has been vacant or, in less ecclesiastical terms, without a minster for over 18 months and the congregation has been well served by the excellent leaders of worship who have willingly and enthusiastically responded to the invitation to come and work in the congregation at this time.
A Nomination Committee is now looking actively for a minister for the linked charge, but despite some serious possibilities, no one has been identified as the right person to be called to the congregation in this vital role. Given the number of vacancies through the Church of Scotland, it is not easy to predict when the right person may be discovered.
In the meantime, there is a role for everyone to be patient and understanding. Some things may not be done as they were in the past, and there may be new ways and some difficult changes to adjust to in the time ahead. Some will believe, or think, that the Church of Scotland is not what it should, or could be, and perhaps they will be right, but the Church and community can be confident in the guidance and care of God in this time. It is important that the Church still, in this time of vacancy tries to respond to the need of the people of this parish.
I look forward to continue to work with the elders and others of the parish in our joint endeavours to serve the mission of the Church in this place in the time ahead. I am the Presbytery Clerk of the Presbytery of St Andrews and am aware of many of the tasks and difficulties facing the parishes throughout the whole Presbytery. In this time, I commend the Kirk Session and the Nomination Committee to your prayers and trust that their work will in due time, bear fruit.
Nigel J Robb (Revd.)