Mary McKenna (Convener of Council) reports
I am mindful at this time of the year, as the trees begin to lose their leaves, we are losing light and the darkness as winter looms ahead. It is not all bleak though. I love getting out my warm winter clothes, casting on some knitting and staying cosy at home.
The seasons are changing too at St Mark’s. We are shaping up without Maud; our services are well attended; and a number of our members participated in the Worship Leaders’ Course. During this period of transition there will be more opportunities for members of the congregation to lead, and contribute to services. So far we have had a range of different themes and have been introduced to new service leaders, both from within our own congregation and from the Glasgow church. We have also welcomed visiting Interfaith ministers. This variety may help clarify what we are seeking in our new minister.
In November, we are also having the opportunity to develop our link with the Unitarian Church in Prague, as Rev Petr Samojský is joining us as a visiting minister for the month. Petr is fluent in English, and it will be interesting to hear his perspectives on being a Unitarian and connecting us with some of the sources of the Unitarian church in Transylvania. There will be a chance to meet Petr informally at the Bring and Share Supper on 4 November, as well as other events during the month.
At a much more mundane level, we are making short-term savings while not paying a full-time minister’s salary. We are using this to address the sound problem in the upper hall through insulated carpeting. We have also secured the support of an assistant who will relieve the Treasurer of some of the time-consuming responsibilities of their role, and provide some administrative backup in the absence of a minister. We are initially purchasing this service for nine months, and will review at the end of that time.
New opportunities are also emerging for Unitarians in Wales, as Maud has confirmed that she will become the new minister in Cardiff. This is a small congregation, but I am sure that they will grow under Maud’s leadership. Rob has also taken up his ministry in the Cotswolds, and together they are settling into their new home on Ross–on-Wye.
It seems to me that we have taken to heart Maud’s parting message to ‘continue ministering and loving each other’. Our choir is gathering in strength under Lesley Hartley’s guidance, and Lynsey and Elizabeth organised our most successful Bring and Share Supper in September. We hope to have our next Bring and Share Supper when Petr joins us on the 4 November. This will give Petr a chance to meet members and friends informally before he leads his first service on Sunday 6 November.
Without change there would be no opportunity for new growth, new season, and new opportunities.