To all Members and Adherents of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church (SCO04853)

Please find a letter from Rev Jenny Adams concerning the future of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman church buildings, in the context of resourcing God’s mission for this part of Moray into the future.

To all Members and Adherents of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church (SCO04853)

Dear friends,

There will be a congregational meeting of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church on Sunday 15 May 2022 in Hopeman Church at 11.15am, following Sunday worship.

Following a short Annual Stated Meeting for the presentation of the 2021 accounts, the meeting will discuss the proposals in the draft Mission Plan of Moray Presbytery, which affect the shape of Church of Scotland ministries and the future of our church buildings.

Moray’s draft Mission Plan suggests disposal of Duffus Church and Spynie Church buildings. In discussing those proposals, members of the Kirk Session have also raised questions about the practicalities and sustainability of retaining Hopeman Church building. This congregational meeting will therefore discuss the future of all three church buildings, in the context of resourcing God’s mission for this part of Moray into the future.

Moray Presbytery has just shared a Draft Mission Plan for the next five years. It is a draft for discussion, encouraging amendments so that the whole of Presbytery might discern God’s will for the Church of Scotland in the area. Amendments can be proposed up till 30 June, and will be debated and decided upon by the whole of Moray Presbytery at its meeting on 6 September 2022.

In the plan and any amendments to it the priority has to be the mission of the church, which is the mission of Christ, which can be expressed as:
1) To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2) To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
3) To respond to human need by loving service
4) To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
5) To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

The mission for the Lossiemouth Area recognises that we share mission with many denominations and fellowships in Lossiemouth and with Hopeman Baptist Church. Key aspects of mission locally are: hospitality; pilgrimage; creation care and social justice; and children’s and youth work. The subsequent proposals are shaped to support those aspects of mission.

It is proposed that the congregation of Duffus, Spynie & Hopeman go into a union with the two Church of Scotland congregations in Lossiemouth – St. Gerardine’s High and St. James’. That new united congregation would serve the whole area together, with one Full Time Minister of Word and Sacrament and one half-time parish assistant to help with pastoral and funeral work. (Overall, the Mission Plan requires a one-third reduction in nationally-funded ministry posts.) In addition, local leadership will be trained and equipped, and it’s hoped there might be an Ordained Local Minister too.

In order to retain local identity and leadership, there’s a new model called Local Mission Church which is proposed within the union, for the villages of Duffus and Hopeman. A local leadership team can develop worship and witness wherever and whenever best fits their context, without the burdens of governance or needing duplicate officebearers.

The Draft Mission Plan also makes proposals about church buildings. The draft suggests disposal within the next 5 years of Duffus Church and Spynie Church, with the community halls available as a resource for gathering people together. Kirk Session discussions recognise the benefits of Duffus Church and the value of Spynie Church to many people.

The Presbytery’s draft plan suggests retaining Hopeman Church and Hall as a large sanctuary space serving the communities. However, concerns have been raised within the Kirk Session about the practicalities of Hopeman Church building, for example the challenge of heating it sustainably, lack of parking, and too large a space for most activities. Therefore, there will be further Session discussions on whether to propose the disposal of Hopeman Church and Hall, reducing burdens and undertaking mission in more suitable spaces.

You are invited to the congregational meeting. You are also invited to give feedback on these proposals to your Elder.

The draft plan is offered to Presbytery trusting that God is still at work in the Church of Scotland in Moray, so there can be hope for new growth as well as lament of loss. However, this is difficult. I hope and pray we will go through the coming weeks and months together, through pain and hope – as Jesus’ disciples have always journeyed together through great uncertainty.

With love and prayers,
Rev Jenny Adams
jadams@churchofscotland.org.uk (01343) 830276