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Church Recruiting Minister to Glasgow Arts Community

Monday April 25

Iain Campbell (left) at the unveiling of The Last Supper with John Wallace, one of the men depicted in the painting


The Church of Scotland is recruiting for an innovative ministry among Glasgow’s arts community.

The Pioneer Glasgow Arts minister will be charged with engaging with artists – especially visual artists – across the city and exploring new forms of worship and ways of expressing faith.

Fiona Crawford, strategy officer at Glasgow Presbytery said:

“Glasgow’s art scene is vibrant and cutting edge, producing many Turner prize winners and finalists. The city has always attracted and nurtured artists and so we’re really excited to be advertising this post, not least because it coincides with Glasgow City Council announcing significant investment within the East End to create a cultural quarter 

“Glasgow is such a great place to live and work as an artist.  Arts hubs and collectives are producing internationally recognised work, design practices are blossoming, there are several independent film production companies and art is being used across the city to facilitate social change. 

“Many artists would describe themselves as spiritual but the institutional form of the church doesn’t always leave enough room for people to be creative and, as a church, we are aware that we’ve not taken enough time to connect. 

“As part of this Pioneer ministry, we want to engage with the fine-arts community in a way that has greater resonance with their practice.  We see this new church community being a place where art and worship will be closely entwined

“The possibilities for how this goes forward are so exciting – we already envisage a lot of collaboration with other congregations so that we can share what’s explored and allow the whole Presbytery to benefit.”

The long-term goal for the Pioneer Ministry is to build a supportive Christian community of artists that will ultimately be self-sustaining.

The Arts ministry will build on creative work already underway in Glasgow churches. At Renfield St Stephen’s, for example, Heidi and Peter Gardner have been creating inspiring art installations inside the Church for the last decade.

One permanent installation is the Peacemakers loom (right), which has greeted thousands of people as they walk through the open door of the church, finding space to stop, weave, pray or meditate on peace.

At St George’s Tron, artist in residence Iain Campbell works in public and displays his art in the church. Iain recently completed a painting of The Last Supper, portraying homeless men from Glasgow City Mission.

The Rev Norman Smith, vice-convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council, said: “The Christian faith is alive and well, but people today don’t always connect with the Church as we have known it. This exciting pioneer ministry will reach out to Glasgow’s artistic community and build a church based on the needs and talents of artists.

“We also hope that this ministry will connect with the artistic work already underway in churches across the city and help strengthen the visual arts in our congregations and communities.”

“Church of Scotland ministers have always been pioneers, but in today’s Missionary context we need to take the Gospel to people who may never have been inside a church building. We have always understood that the Church is the people and not the building. By creating these pioneer ministries we are planting new churches that will be centred on people and the communities they live in.

“Let’s not forget that every church at one time was a new church. These pioneer ministries are new churches for the 21st century.”

The 2014 General Assembly allocated £1 million over five years to pilot five pioneer ministries across Scotland, and is currently accepting applications to two - the Glasgow Arts Community ministry and a ministry to the farming community based in Ayrshire.

Applications for both will close at noon this Friday, April 29. More details on the Church of Scotland’s vacancies page.


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