Trustees’ Annual Report (Year ended 31 December 2016)
Structure, Governance and Management
The Kirk Session adopted the Deed of Constitution (Unitary Form)
Recruitment and Appointment of Trustees
Members of the Kirk Session are the charity trustees. The Kirk Session members are the elders of the church and are chosen from those members of the church who are considered to have the appropriate gifts and skills. The minister, who is a member of the Kirk Session, is elected by the congregation and inducted by Presbytery. The Interim Moderator is appointed by the Presbytery Clerk
The Kirk Session which met 7 times in 2016, is responsible for spiritual affairs within the church. Certain responsibilities are delegated to the Fabric Convenor, Treasurer and Session Clerk. The Stated Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday 26th March 2017 following the Sunday morning service.
Objectives and Activities
The Church of Scotland is Trinitarian in doctrine, Reformed in tradition and Presbyterian in polity. It exists to glorify God and to work for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom throughout the world. As a national Church, it acknowledges a distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry. It co-operates with other Churches in various ecumenical bodies in Scotland and beyond.
The primary objectives of the Kirk Session are to sustain congregational life and providing the ordinances of the religion to all who live and work within the Parish. This is made more difficult since our Minister Rev. John Macgregor left on 9th May 2016, but we endeavour to increase the number of Members in our Church.
Our aim would also be to organise a Sunday Club.
Worship is held every Sunday at 12.00noon in the Main Church building.
The Knitting group meet in the transept weekly. The knitting group’s aim is to outreach into the Community and promote the charitable and caring work of the Church.
Bible study/ Prayer group met weekly in the Church Hall, sadly this ended when the Minister left in May. One of our main objectives is to restart the weekly Prayer group meeting as this is a vital part our Church’s life, particularly in a time of vacancy. This will be discussed at Kirk Session meetings.
It is our intention to keep contact with the local Primary school, Rev Mary Stobo has agreed to help us with School Assemblies, during our time of vacancy.
The local Primary school were to attend our Church for 3 School Assemblies, Easter service, Harvest and Christmas unfortunately we had to cancel the Christmas service due to bad weather. A few of the congregation went to the School to support them with a hastily rearranged service.
The Easter service was taken by Rev John Macgregor, all the children were given a knitted chicken with a chocolate egg inside. Invites were given to all the children to take part in our Easter Sunday celebration and competitions for both Easter Bonnets and painted eggs, about 8 children did join us at the Sunday service. Tea, Coffee and Simnel cake were served in the Hall, the Easter celebrations were concluded with the “rolling of the eggs.”
Rev. Mary Stobo conducted the school Harvest Thanksgiving service, the children brought many items for the local Highland Food Bank. Tea was served at the end of the service, a number of parents waited, and a time of fellowship was enjoyed.
The proceeds of our Sunday Harvest Thanksgiving service were donated to the local “Helmsdale Hub” This is a place in our Community Centre for people to meet for lunch, games and entertainment, it is also a designated Dementia Friendly meeting place.
We hosted a service for the Fisherman’s Mission on 4th September, this was well attended, including our friends from the local Free Church, about 50/60 attended. In 2017 the date is to be changed to the second week of September to avoid a clash of dates with the Sutherland Convention which takes place on the first week of September, a number of people would like to attend both services.
The Kirk Session conducted the morning service in Church after the laying of the wreaths at the War Memorial. The Kirk Session conducted the Watch night service at 8.00pm, it was very well attended about 40/50 people including a number from the local Free Church, refreshments were served after the service the collection was given to the Tear Fund, Yemen Crisis Appeal, a time of fellowship was enjoyed by all.
The Kirk Session conducted our Christmas day service at the normal time of 12.00noon
Saturday 16th April, we hosted an afternoon in which the community were encouraged to bring thoughts and memories of the late Rev. Archibald B. Scott, who had been our Minister in Helmsdale form 1894- 1947. A number of “Scott’s babies” attended, Miss Audrey Munro gave us a talk on the work and research she has done on the writings of Rev. Dr .A.B. Scott.
This year we held a Book sale for Christian Aid during the Christian Aid week and raised £600s. We also hosted a “Soup and Sweet lunch” with a sales table which raised £333s. The proceeds were specifically raised for the Malawi Food Crisis Appeal, this was matched by the Scottish government. As a Church we find this a good way to outreach to our Community and it shows we are actively helping and caring for the less fortunate people in the world.
On our Annual Gift Day we held a “Soup and Sweet” lunch, with a sales table.
In December we had Coffee morning/ sales table. A time of fellowship was shared with both our congregation and people out with the Church at both events.
In September we hosted our annual sponsored walk for the Scottish Bible Society raising over £1,500 again with the support from both Clyne and Alness Church of Scotland and the local Free Church, helping raise the monies. There is always a lovely time of fellowship after the walk, for both the walkers and the people who helped with the organising, catering and especially the walkers.
The Church is unable at this time to host a children’s summer club, however we donated money to the Clyne holiday club. One member of our Session helped the Helmsdale Free Church with their holiday club it was very well attended and a great time was had by all!!
We support Blysthwood with a number of Christmas Shoe boxes, a considerable amount of knitted items and monetary donation. This year we actively helped the local Primary School to help with filling “Shoe Boxes”.
The Church also collected for the Highland Food bank.
We support Tear Fund with an annual collection of money boxes.
Used stamps are collected by the Church to support the World Mission service
Achievements and Performance
It has proved difficult to find an organist, although Mr. Sydney Barnett and Jan Murray both help us out.
The Kirk Session agreed to purchase a Nano Pod with a complete Church |Hymnary, although it is not as good we have all settled into the new system and mostly it works well.
The Church has had another very busy year, although our numbers are down we were very happy to welcome 4 new members and must try to encourage more people to come to Church. By Resolution of The Kirk Session we were very happy to add Mr. and Mrs John Macdonald, Mr. and Mrs. Sandy Cowie into the membership of Bunillidh Church of Scotland
This year Janys Wetton made beautiful Easter and Christmas cards which were distributed about the village. They included a message and details of the services, this has proved a good way to invite people to our services, and get into the heart of the Community.
Although we have a Face book page for the Church it has to be updated.
We have kept up with most of our activities and raised money for Christian Aid, Fishermans Mission, Scottish bible Society, Tear Fund and maintained contact with our local primary school. A few of the ladies from the knitting group helped them to cover and fill the Shoe Boxes. A shopping trolley was asked for and donated by the local Co-operative store in Brora, this made a very good collection point for items for the boxes, and indeed helped to deliver them to the Church.
The school came to Bunillidh Church for an Easter Assembly and the Harvest Thanksgiving Assembly in October. The School Harvest Thanksgiving service, the children brought contributions for the local Food Bank.
The Sunday Harvest Thanksgiving service donations were given to the local Hub, it is a good way of keeping in touch and showing them we care.
The School Christmas service was cancelled due to bad weather. However the school were able to hastily arrange a service for the end of term. A few ladies were able to attend and we handed out Mini Christmas stockings knitted by the knitting group with 2 chocolate coins inside. This is just a wee present from the Church to all the children in the school
The Fishermans Mission service was well attended, we raised money and also donated a number of knitted items: hats, polo necks and slippers for the fishermen. Many are foreign and feel the cold in our country.
This year the knitting group gave 13 prayer Shawls to people in and around the village. Each Prayer shawl has a card from the Church and a Prayer in the form of a Book mark included. They have been well received.
The Watch night service this year was again well attended supported by our friends in the Free Church. The Kirk Session led the service and introduced some new readers including some young people. Tea followed the service and a lovely time of fellowship was enjoyed by all. The collection went to Tear Fund Yemen Crisis Appeal.
A bus trip to Dornoch Cathedral was enjoyed by 15 ladies from our congregation where we learned about the Cathedral stained glass windows. Lunch out and then some retail therapy, when is the next trip, was the request from all!
The knitting group is very busy and as well as the various items mentioned previously, we sent a number of Beanie Hats, cardigans and Fish and Chip dresses to a Charity for refugees. This year we intend on knitting a variety of items for the shoe boxes, as most of our wool is donated by the community we like to put it to good use. Knitting is also a good talking point in the Church and shows we are a working active Church.
All aspects of Safeguarding are in place within our Church.
Thanks to our Fabric Convenor our property continues to be well maintained and hopefully the Manse will be sold this year as that has taken up both time and money.
The congregation employs a cleaner who does an excellent job.
We have a team of volunteers who keep the Church, Manse, grounds, buildings and floral arrangements to a very high standard.
Our Church is in good health, although we are a small congregation we have a big heart, sadly we have lost some of our older members , but with the help of our Kirk Session we will prayerfully be able to attract new members and be able to make a difference in the local community.
Approved by the Trustees and signed on their behalf,
Ina D. S. Macpherson
Date 23rd February 2017