Inverness Presbytery has published its Presbytery Plan, which sets out its strategy for the next 10 years. The detailed document can be viewed by clicking on the above link and is summarised below.
The factors behind the plan are:
- Income to the Church has declined (not, however, in Kiltarlity or Kirkhill)
- Church membership has declined (also not in our churches – e.g. Kiltarlity’s membership has increased from 44 to 57 in the last 2 years)
- The number of ministers is expected to decrease by a further 20% in the next 5 years
Inverness Presbytery Planning Committee believes that there are too many buildings for the church to sustain. Their focus now seems to be on new and developing areas of population (e.g. St Columba New Charge and Tornagrain – and the General Trustees have indicated that a new church in Tornagrain can only go ahead if charges and buildings are reduced elsewhere).
What does this mean for Kiltarlity and Kirkhill?
The Presbytery Plan, if approved, will make the following decisions:
- The linkage of Kiltarlity and Kirkhill will become a Union. This means a joint Kirk Session, etc and one combined parish
- The two congregations need to decide between ourselves which building would better suit the on-going worship and missional activity of the united charge
- There will continue to be a full-time minister to look after the united parishes of Kiltarlity and Kirkhill but this will be on Reviewable Tenure (i.e. not a permanent post)
Nothing will change until there is a vacancy (or unless the minister agrees to the change), but if a decision has not been made on which building to close by that time then Presbytery will make a determination and the vacancy will be “sisted”. This means that if we have a vacancy, Presbytery will not allow us to start the process of finding a new minister until we have decided which building to close.
Presbytery meet on Tuesday 6th February 2018 to discuss and vote on the plan. Both churches have been invited to send a joint delegation of 3 people to represent the two churches. We have the opportunity to speak for 5 minutes and to propose an amendment to the plan. The two Kirk Sessions are meeting on 10th/11th January to discuss how we plan to respond. We have until 23 January to submit any amendments.