Elders Meeting Together
A majority of the Free North elders met in Smithton Free Church on Saturday 17th May from 8am till 1pm. The purpose of this informal meeting was to allow us to spend time together discussing issues that have been addressed at Kirk Session meetings in the past but which we felt needed more time to be more thoroughly dealt with. In addition to this, it was also a time for us to pray together and for the Free North church.
The day began with breakfast provided by a small group of folk from Smithton.
Thereafter, for the first hour we discussed formulating a mission/vision statement for the Free North which would serve a dual purpose. Firstly, what it is we are doing as a church and secondly, what as aspire to be doing as a church. We addressed this issue thoroughly together and then agreed that I would try and summarise our thoughts and subsequently, with formal Session approval, they would appear on the web site. Torquil MacRitchie, our current web master, is in the process of upgrading and updating the website and our mission/vision statement will be found on the new website once approval is gained and the web site is up and running. This statement is by no means exhaustive but I do hope it captures what we are about as a church in Inverness.
The next hour was devoted to discussing the Home Bible Studies (HBS). There was an idea of continuing the HBS throughout the year, but the elders, having gained feedback from the various groups, felt that to continue within the present time frame rather than extending the Studies to once an month all year round (perhaps with the exception of the summer months) was the preferred option for the majority of folk.
However, following lengthy discussions about material used and the need to expand the groups to include as many as possible in the congregation, it was agreed to consider using Christianity Explored as the basis for each Study group for 2014-2015. This was formally agreed at a subsequent formal Session meeting and a small sub-committee are in the process of planning the introduction of this which will include the training of Study leaders.
The third area we discussed at length was our current communion practice. The Session had agreed to discontinue the practice of issuing Communion Cards largely because it had become less meaningful and practicable with the passage of time. Furthermore, the Session had agreed to the dispensing of the Lord’s Supper for those confined in Homes or at home if they so wished, as long as a representation of the Church were also present, including the Minister. It was reported that this took place in the Highland Hospice with Isobel Taylor two weeks before she passed away and that proved to be a real blessing to her.
Having evening Communions was discussed and it was agreed that this is not desired at present.
The matter of dispensing both the Lord’s Supper and Baptism in Madras Street was discussed at length and it was agreed that as the Church meets there as much as it does in the Free North building the practice of baptizing and dispensing the Lord’s Supper should be considered in Madras Street. At a subsequent Session meeting this was formally agreed and was referred to the Madras Street Committee to plan how best to introduce both into Madras Street.
The time that remained was given over to a time of prayer together.
It was felt that the hours spent together that day were beneficial for us and we hope for the congregation.