Moving Forward with Confidence

Mary McKenna (Convener of Council) reports

As the days are getting shorter, we can reflect on a great summer, not for the weather, but on all the good things that happened. Maud’s final service, with her multi coloured patched jeans, was a unique take on her rich and varied ministry, and a fitting farewell. Thankfully the sun shone for Maud’s party afterwards, and a great time was had by all. Especial thanks to Bryan Wade for graciously hosting this occasion in his lovely home.

This summer we have had the largest and most successful Fringe programme at artSpace@StMarks, with more than 5,000 people attending performances, bringing in over £4,000 income to the church. The factors which created this success are largely due to the very successful Book Festival production, The View from Castle Rock, which used us for rehearsals as well as their three week show. We are now operating at full capacity during the Fringe, as our volunteers will confirm. The challenge is that we have is to build up regular bookings for the venue throughout the year, and thereby generate additional income. Ann Sinclair oversees the bookings, and supports performers, events and meetings. She is ably assisted by Ida Silkenat who diligently invoices all those who use the venue. As a result, we are now generating a reliable source of revenue which substantially assists us to maintain our premises. Thanks also to all our volunteers who assist Ann when requested. We are looking for more people to use our building on weekdays, when we still have capacity, so if anyone knows a choir, yoga group or a club seeking to hold regular day time meetings, then we would like to hear from them. We are continuing to upgrade our facilities, and now that the Fringe is over, plans to carpet the upper hall and install new projection equipment will be progressed.

The Ministry Team have an interesting programme of services planned until the end of the year. The Minister from the Unitarian Church in Prague, Rev Petr Samojsky, will be with us for the month of November. Petr will bring new perspectives to us, and may help forge the links between two great European cities, Edinburgh and Prague. John and I remember being warmly welcomed by Petr, when we visited his church in Prague twelve years ago. We were impressed with his preparation and thoughtfulness, as he had an English translation of his service, just in case there were English speaking visitors. A number of members have signed up for the Worship Studies Course, which should increase the skills and confidence of members to lead future services.

While we are without a full-time minister, Council has identified that we need administrative support. In particular, we are seeking to recruit someone to provide five hours support to the Treasurer, and facilitate the day-to-day running of St Mark’s. More details of this opportunity have been distributed by e-mail, and more information is available from Brian Robertson or me.

I am mindful of Maud’s final message to us to support our beloved community and look after each other. Please let Council and the Ministry Team know of any ideas, suggestions or concerns you have at this time, as we continue to move forward in confidence.