In my regular newspaper I found myself reading some information on our elected Scottish political leaders. This is something I wouldn’t normally do especially if the sun was shining and the ice cream shop was open. On this particular day both were. However before I set forth to buy my raspberry ripple I skimmed the set questions which each of the politicians were asked to answer. Most of the questions were pretty trivial, for example, what is your favourite TV programme, book, meal etc?
I suppose the survey was done to make politics and politicians more human. If we discovered that one of them watched Coronation street whilst skimming the People’s Friend would that merit our vote? However one question caught my eye – do you believe in God? What was the relevance of that eh? The answers given by the Labour, SNP, Lib Dem, Conservative and Green leaders were, yes, yes, yes, yes and no. Out of the four that said, ‘aye’ all of them said that unfortunately they didn’t get to the church that often.
Not that many years ago there was an expectation that if you wanted to gain any promotion in your career you not only HAD to believe in God BUT you were expected to be seen at the Kirk. And if you were made an elder then you had reached the pinnacle of your ecclesiastical commitment. Ministers didn’t count. Today thankfully we are much more liberated and we go to the Kirk because we want to, NOT because we are expected to and that can only be a good thing.
Why do we go?
I think there are a whole number of reasons .
The Kirk is an institution which has been part of our lives. We may have gone when we were but knee high to grasshoppers and it’s always been important to us.
We have a strong faith and seek to exercise that faith in worship.
We enjoy the camaraderie, the singing, being part of a fellowship and maybe even the sermon – careful now.
We may have been inspired through a specific service or an event in our lives which has caused us to explore what Christianity means.
We may not believe everything, indeed maybe we question a lot of the Bible and Theology but we want to feel included within a body of people where doubts and questions will never be mocked nor ridiculed.
We like the church building.
Whatever category you come under the church is for you for it is our belief that no one should ever be excluded for we are all pilgrims together seeking to make sense of the nonsensical.
If you are interested in becoming a member or joining Cullen and Deskford there are a number of ways to go about it.
The first step towards full membership is baptism. Most people in the Church of Scotland are baptised as babies so many of us can’t remember the big occasion nor the party afterwards. When a person is baptised it means that either the parents or a sponsor (or if it is an adult baptism the person themselves) will make certain vows. This sacrament symbolises that the individual becomes part of the Body of Christ ie the Church. However unless we are baptised as adults we would be expected to make vows before the congregation when we get to an older age.
If you are new(ish) to the Church of Scotland there would be an opportunity to attend some ‘classes’ (probably held at the manse) to explore the basic Christian beliefs, ie Jesus, God, the Bible, Church etc. This isn’t a pass or fail test but sharing ideas about what these things mean to us. After the course you would then decide whether you wanted to make a ‘profession of faith’ before the congregation during Sunday worship. To ‘join’ the Church you would need to be baptised – it only happens once so if you were baptised as a child you do not need to undergo the sacrament again.
If you have been a member of a church outwith the parish of Cullen and Deskford and wish to join our congregation you would simply ask your minister or session clerk to transfer your church lines to you. This simply means that you are taken off their roll and added to ours. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. However if you haven’t been attending your old church for a while or have lost your ‘lines’ there is another way to become a member – see below.
A fancy title which means that the Kirk Session will (at their next meeting) admit you to full membership without you having to do anything. In order for this to happen you would be expected to be attending the church on a regular basis and at an appropriate time the minister would simply welcome you as a member during an act of worship.
Well if you join any organisation there is often an expectation that you are committed to this. The Church is no different and most Christian organisations would expect something along the lines of – Time, Talent, Money.
To be seen at the Kirk gives all of us a psychological boost. It is so much nicer seeing more full seats (or pews) than empty ones. The more people on Sunday the less chance I have of seeing folks putting their soor plums into their mouths. That would be nice. Giving of your time at worship, helping with fund raising, the garden, buildings, flowers, youth work, mission can make such a difference to the Kirk and the wider parish. That is why every person is vitally important.
Money is always a sensitive issue. Without it we can’t manage and unfortunately there is no big next egg secreted down in Edinburgh which we can dip into. What we have to spend comes from our contributions. [RETURN TO TOP]