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Home  >  Features  >  Pioneer Ministry: 'A Person-Centred Ministry'


Pioneer Ministry: 'A Person-Centred Ministry'

Pioneer Ministry: 'A Person-Centred Ministry'

Monday November 25 2019

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 Janet Foggie, Pioneer Minister, University of Stirling

“Pioneer ministry at the University of Stirling is a person-centred ministry reflecting the life and teaching of Jesus to the students of the university. I do this by trying to live the gospel message that Christ has no hands in our modern world but our own. Based in chaplaincy, I work with the whole Presbytery of Stirling, the Students Union at the university and, of course, the students themselves.

“I came to this role with experience in both busy, city-centre parish ministry and Mental Healthcare Chaplaincy which gives me a range of gifts and skills to bring to those students who are struggling or need to talk. It is also good to understand university life, through my own studies, and through walking with and listening to staff.

“I base my work in community building by gardening with the students in their community garden run by the Students Union. Teamwork, co-operation and caring underpin the values we share as we tend the plants. Here we see the plants grow as we grow together in better relationships and in a mutual appreciation of the created world. The garden has a polytunnel in which we are growing carrots, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumbers, a cucamelon and a row of cheery sunflowers.

“The story of Dorcas in Acts inspired the Patches 4 Peace sewing group where I teach the students to sew and we upcycle and repair items together. God gave us a beautiful planet, and it is up to us to ensure as little as possible of our clothing goes to landfill, so repairing and repurposing is vital to keeping our consumption of new items down. The sewing group students filled in feedback forms for me at the end of term and everyone gave the group a positive score with comments such as: ‘Talking to someone or as a group is the high point of the meeting.’ And ‘Always we have interesting conversations, it’s a good place to relax and enjoy sewing.’ And finally, ‘I look forward to them every week. It’s like a society but you learn something as well as making friends.’

“The quality of the conversation, the feeling of inclusion expressed by the participants shows how we build our faith in each other as we find activity together. In all this we care for our world, care for each other and share our resources as the early church did.”

The Rev Stuart Davidson, Pioneer Minister based in Paisley North End
Peter Gardner, Pioneer Minister to the Visual Arts Communities of Glasgow
Chris Blackshaw, Pioneer Minister to the Farming Community in Ayrshire