Sarah helps spread the word in At­lanta

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - Jonathan Ged­des

The min­is­ter of Castlemilk Parish Church was spread­ing the word about the church’s new build­ing to a new au­di­ence re­cently - in At­lanta.

The Amer­i­can visit saw Sarah Brown speak at the Na­tional Gath­er­ing by Next Church, con­tin­u­ing links be­tween churches in the USA and Scot­land.

Sarah spoke for seven min­utes at the con­fer­ence, dis­cussing the im­pact of the new build­ing at Castlemilk Parish Church, which will open in Septem­ber.

She also stressed the im­por­tance of serv­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar wood­work pro­ject the church started last year.

Sarah ex­plained: “I wanted to get a story of hope about churches that need to be­come united in or­der to bet­ter serve their com­mu­nity.

“That the ex­pe­ri­ence of a union can bring pos­i­tive things and not just sad­ness at the loss of build­ings or de­cline of mem­ber­ship.

“For us the story of our wood­work pro­ject - Castlemilk Car­pen­ter’s Work­shop - has con­nected us more deeply to our com­mu­nity and meant that it is lo­cal peo­ple who are build­ing our new church, both lit­er­ally in the fur­nish­ings and fit­tings, but also our church made of peo­ple is grow­ing at the cre­ative lo­ca­tion of a work­shop.

“It was also im­por­tant to me that the story of the vol­un­teers was shared, to show how im­por­tant they all are and what gifts they bring, which are of­ten hid­den in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“We have some amaz­ing vol­un­teers who are so com­mit­ted to the pro­ject and take a great pride in what they have to of­fer be­ing shared with the team.”

Sarah had pre­vi­ously vis­ited Amer­ica be­fore, and her lat­est trip tied into how Amer­i­can churches are look­ing at what’s hap­pened with churches in the UK and what could hap­pen in Amer­ica.

Sarah added: “The Amer­i­can group see their church chang­ing as ours has - just a few decades be­hind.

“The changes they see us ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and pre­dict they will too - in­clude more com­pet­ing de­mands on Sun­days, a de­cline in mem­ber­ship be­cause so­ci­ety is no longer pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian, and the sec­u­lar­i­sa­tion of so­ci­ety that means church is no longer given a priv­i­leged sta­tus in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

She found time for a lit­tle sight-see­ing too.

“I got to see the city when go­ing be­tween events, and we spent a day out of the city at a monastery. At­lanta’s also fa­mous for hav­ing an amaz­ing bak­ery.

“The big ex­cite­ment around At­lanta it is where Martin Luther King Jr had his church and it is still an in­spi­ra­tion to­day.”

“It was also im­por­tant to me that the story of the vol­un­teers was shared”

Look­ing to the fu­ture Sarah Brown at the bless­ing of the ded­i­ca­tion stone last year

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