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Home  >  Features  >  Pioneer Ministry: 'Every Day is a Blessing'


Pioneer Ministry: 'Every Day is a Blessing'

Pioneer Ministry: 'Every Day is a Blessing'

Wednesday December 4 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 Elisabeth Spence is Pioneer Minister at Hopefield Connections, Bonnyrigg

“Working and living as a pioneer minister in a new build housing area of 1,200 houses with a primary school as the only other building is quite a challenge. So finding an identity and making a presence are key. To help do this the project is called Hopefield Connections – Making Connections, Building Community, Sharing Faith. I use social media extensively and the title Hopefield Connections is key to establishing an identity to the work.

“When people move into a new build estate they often begin with no real connection to the area. Getting into your car and driving out of the area to work, for leisure activities and for shopping is very common. To help develop some sense of community I began organising community events such as car boot sales, pop up picnics, Christmas carol singing around the estate and Easter Egg Hunts. For a week we organised a Pop Up Coffee Stop on the school car park , where we served home baking and coffee all day. These activities have brought people together and begun to help develop a sense of community and have helped give Hopefield Connections an identity and a presence.

“Hopefield Connections Does... is a Sunday afternoon event taking themes such as Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas, Easter and bringing people together to share activities and crafts on the theme and then come together for a shared time to explore further in terms of faith and belief.

“Finding ways to connect with people is key to the work of pioneer ministry. I use the principle of ‘Let’s follow this idea and see where it takes us’ to develop the work. Every day is an adventure. Every day is an opportunity to share the Gospel message in one way or another. Every day is a blessing.”

Janet Foggie, Pioneer Minister based at the University of Stirling
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