Arrived back yesterday from my week in the UK. It turned out to be a really worthwhile trip. Meeting up with family and friends again was cool. I had no great sentimental feelings about being back in Scotland. But returning to Princeton feels like an exercise in tying up loose ends. I have effectively got four weeks of work left to do here. And this morning I discovered that I have less to hand in than I had anticipated this time last week.
Why encouraged? Well, the Church of Scotland conference I attended was fairly standard. But I got to know one or two colleagues a little better. On top of this I learned, and began to realise, that there is a real melting pot situtation in the church in Scotland at the moment. This may or may not end in some greater uniform good. My optimism comes from believing that I can stir the pot, and add a little seasoning of my own. The plan is to choose an area, perhaps a presbytery, and focus on reforming and reviving that area with the help of colleagues I have got to know in the last year or so.
You read it here first. Wherever I end up late 2008 or early 2009 will indicate the strategic choice for this plan. Chances are this place will not be one of the big cities in Scotland. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and perhaps Dundee are well served by churches. Why duplicate effort?
Preparation for this project will be 15 months probation ministry at Partick South Church of Scotland in Glasgow, working with Rev Dusty Dunnett. I had a great conversation with Dusty last week - the most encouraging chat I have had with a potential supervisor/boss. Bring on July 2007!