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University Pioneer Ministry Role Begins

Friday November 25

The Church of Scotland has appointed a new Pioneer Minister to work with the students and staff at the University of Stirling.
 
Rev Dr Janet Foggie (above), who has been the minister at St Andrew’s in Dundee since 2009, says she is excited about her new role, which begins next month.
 
She said: “This is a unique and visionary opportunity to build a new church community which is part of the Church of Scotland and is shaped and created for the University which it will serve.
 
“It will be my job to reach out to the students, lecturers and staff at the university and to work with them to create worship opportunities and a church that is inclusive, loving and open to all.
 
“This won’t be about just me; it will be a cooperative effort  and we will shape our church around the ideas of everyone involved and the needs of our respected and valued university community.
 
“We will be asking what it means to have a Christian faith in the 21st century.
 
“How can we express our Christian faith in the modern world, how can we as Christians build a church that fits us and meets the needs of our world?
 
“Should we be working on climate change…hunger?
 
“What would Jesus be doing today?
 
“It might mean coming together at different times, in different places. It could include art, music, poetry, or any number of activities that we choose to do together.
 
“What is certain is that it is unlikely to look a traditional church.”
 
Dr Foggie’s appointment comes after the General Assembly of Church of Scotland allocated £1 million over five years to fund five pioneer ministers to develop new faith communities across Scotland.
 
Jill Stevenson, head of student support services at the University of Stirling, said: “The University’s team of Honorary Chaplains give valuable support and guidance, be it emotional, spiritual or practical, to students and staff of all faiths and none.
 
“We welcome Rev Dr Janet Foggie to the team and to the wider University community and look forward to working with her and our existing multi-faith Chaplaincy team to guide and listen to any student who needs support.”
 
The Presbytery of Stirling successfully developed the idea for a ministry to work with students and staff at the University of Stirling.
 
Other pioneer ministers are working with the Ayrshire farming community and the Glasgow arts community.
 
Two other ministers–yet to be appointed—will serve a new housing development in Midlothian and a deprived area in Paisley
 
Rev Alan Miller, clerk to the Presbytery of Stirling, said: "We were delighted to be among the first to pilot a pioneer ministry, and we are looking forward to Janet Foggie taking up her appointment on December 12.
 
“The vision of the Presbytery in applying for a Pioneer Minister is to find new ways of renewing and strengthening the relationship between the Church and the University, working ecumenically in collaboration with the existing multi-denominational and multi-faith chaplaincy team.
 
“The University has more than 12,000 students with a large number of international students—20% of the student body  are international students and they come from 120 different countries—living both on the University campus and in accommodation throughout the wider city area.
 
“Our hope is that through the appointment of a Pioneer Minister the church will find new and creative ways to engage members of the University community in exploring questions of faith and spirituality, to bring about a new expression of ecclesial community centred around the University community on campus and in the city."
 
Graham Astles, acting convener of the Pioneer Ministry Project Group, said the posts are an investment by the church in looking at new ways of engaging with Scottish society.
 
“It’s a genuine privilege to welcome someone with the calibre and experience of Janet into the post of Pioneer Minster at Stirling University,” he added.
 
“We look forward to seeing what Jesus builds though her ministry there.”


Comments

Mrs Mary J Dixon - Friday, November 25th, 2016

“Is there a chance that the Church will appoint Chaplains at other Higher Educational establishments. I am thinking particularly of the University of Strathclyde which currently, as far as I am aware, has no University Chaplain. ”


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