March 2018

I am sure you will all understand that there are a huge number of matters that need to be dealt with concerning the union of Chapelton, East, Glassford and Rankin churches to form Strathaven:Trinity - it’s not straightforward, from an administrative perspective, merging four congregations.

There are currently four sets of office-bearers, four sets of finances, four sets of buildings and four sets of everything! However, it has been a very positive experience as the group (made up from the four congregations) tasked with progressing matters has been discussing and planning to ensure as smooth a change as possible. The hope is that everything possible is done to complete the process by Trinity Sunday (27th May).

The process of merging the finances is well in hand. Certain property matters are now being investigated and planned. One of the most visible changes that will take place is at the entrance to the current Rankin building. The Congregational Board at Rankin have been discussing ways of reducing the heat loss in the vestibule when the church doors are open, which in turn cools the sanctuary. The possibility of adding a second set of doors made of glass, which can be opened and closed on a cold day (or fixed open) has been the preferred option. However, these plans were put on hold during the union discussions until the decisions over buildings were taken. At a recent meeting, it was agreed to seek estimates for this project and to tie it in with the union by having the glass panels etched with the Strathaven Trinity logo. This, it is believed, will help to remind everyone of the new beginning for the church and a united congregation. [In case you are wondering the outer doors will look exactly the same when these doors are closed.] In the entrance vestibule the current East Church Communion Table will replace the table currently being used and the wall above will have the memorial plaques for both world wars from Rankin and East.

Inside the church and around the halls there will also be some changes, all of which are to ensure that elements of both Rankin and the East fabric are incorporated into Trinity. More about these in due course. The most significant change that all of us need to be prepared for is the fact that we will be a new congregation worshipping in three places. We all have the habit of going to the same building and sitting in the same seat. After the union, I hope everyone will feel comfortable visiting our three buildings and sitting in different seats. We need to ensure everyone feels welcome and I would hope everyone who visits one of the buildings which has not been their usual place of worship receives the kind of welcome they would expect and, in turn, everyone thinks about how we will welcome (not new people or visitors) but members of our new congregation to a location which might be new for them.

I have also learned that the half time post (0.5 FTE) for a children’s/youth/family worker has now been advertised. Hopefully this will be filled in the near future.

This is an exciting time in the life of Chapelton and Rankin as we prepare to become part of Trinity. It may take some time to get used to all the changes but with God's blessing our union (like our linkage to date) will be something to be proud of and be an example for other congregations around the country.

With every good wish,
Shaw J Paterson

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