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'Follow Me': Heart and Soul preview

'Follow Me': Heart and Soul preview

Friday May 17 2019

The Rev Bryan Kerr previews this year’s Heart and Soul, taking place on Assembly Sunday.

In the heart of Edinburgh during the weekend of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland people will see a very visible sign of the Church in action

For the ninth year, Heart and Soul, with the theme Follow Me!, will take place in Princes Street Gardens on Assembly Sunday, May 19. This great celebration of our Church life offers a warm welcome to commissioners, congregations near and far, local residents and visitors who are simply curious to see something of what the Church is about. Around 5,000 visitors join Heart and Soul each year.

The project board have continued to make changes to the event, seeking to ensure its relevance and fresh feel for those who come along. Last year visitors saw significant changes to the layout and many commented that the ‘villages’ of stories allowed them to engage with more exhibitors and congregations sharing their work. 2019 will build on this layout and promises to offer even more opportunities for encounter and conversation.

The “In Conversation” tent was an incredible success last year when it was introduced and will be back bigger than ever. There will be a wide range of speakers from church and civic life on a diverse range of topics, including the BBC’s Hugh Pym, Ruth Davidson MSP, the Rev Dr Richard Frazer, the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood OBE, Anas Sarwar MSP, and Dr Alison Elliott OBE.

Once again a number of musical groups from congregations across the Church of Scotland will be offering their talents as part of the event. Fischy Music and others will entertain on the Heart and Soul Family stage and closing worship will feature a massed choir with voices from around the country already rehearsing using technology to beat the miles. As part of closing worship Edinburgh Castle will play a unique role, but to find out what you will need to come along. Heart and Soul 2019 will again have something for every age and stage and allow visitors to feel a sense of belonging to something bigger than a local congregation.

In an effort to include more people in the event, there has been a greater investment from the existing budget into Heart and Soul Local. A live broadcast of different parts of the event, including closing worship, will be available on the General Assembly page of the Church website. This broadcast will be hosted with interviewers speaking with stall holders, visitors and performers to bring a real flavour of the event to people in places where travel times do not allow easy access to the event. The organisers hope that congregations and members from further afield may gather together in church halls and homes, to watch with friends and be a part of Heart and Soul.

It is likely that 2019 will be the last year in Princes Street Gardens for the foreseeable future due to significant plans for redeveloping the space. The project board would like to give the gardens, which have been home to the event from the very beginning, a huge send off . To do that we need you to attend. Come along yourself, bring your family and friends … you could even organise a trip from your church. We know of some churches even having morning worship on the coach coming along the M8. However you get there … do come and experience all that Heart and Soul has to offer you … and the Church.

Full details of the event can be found on the dedicated Heart and Soul website

The Rev Bryan Kerr is the convener of the Life and Work project board

Full coverage of the 2019 General Assembly