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Features

Pioneer Ministry: 'I Rely Upon His Help'

Pioneer Ministry: 'I Rely Upon His Help'

Tuesday November 19

Pioneer Ministry, a pilot project launched by the Ministries Council of the Church of Scotland in 2015, places ministers in a variety of new settings and locations.
In a weekly series, the five Pioneer Ministers share their experiences.


The Rev Stuart Davidson, Pioneer Minister based in Paisley North End incorporating Ferguslie Park

“This was my experience on seeing the job description for Pioneer Minister some two years ago. My wife (Lesley) and I had begun to sense a move from St Mark’s in Stirling. The next step took us from congregation, manse, unrestricted tenure, into a place financed by the central church, overseen by the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley, working almost alone, purchasing our own house, an end of employment date of December 2021, ministering within a geographical area across parish boundaries.

“As I reflect on these two years, I recognise that I enjoy an element of freedom. Although I have preached on Sunday, carried out funerals, baptisms, celebrated communion and helped in congregations I am connected with, some of the expectations of parish ministry no longer come my way.

“What I focus upon is re-engaging with the One who keeps my faith relationship with Jesus alive and well. I try not to be so work driven and through faith, His word and prayer, I rely upon His help. I’ve moved from being surrounded by Christians to having a balanced life connecting with people and the culture outside of church in the places I walk and talk.

“Some things remain: housegroup; informal family church and an annual holiday club. Other things include: giving out copies of ‘Father’s Love letter’; a weekly ‘Drop In’ at the Tannahill Centre, attended by friends with addictions as I, and others, seek to embrace them back into community and into His kingdom; offering a ‘Listening Ear’ weekly in the town as I build relationships with those I meet.”


Peter Gardner, Pioneer Minister to the Visual Arts Communities of Glasgow
Chris Blackshaw, Pioneer Minister to the Farming Community in Ayrshire