It might not seem like it from reading this blog, but since we've moved to Scotland for this two year stint, we actually have begun the work we came here to do.
The church we are working with is called the Dornoch Free Church. Free Church refers to the denomination, you can read about it's history here and here. And you can check out their website if you'd like more details. Our main focus is youth work, and there are other areas we will be involved with as well.
A couple of weeks ago we sat down with the DFC pastor, Angus, and outlined what the main areas of our ministry will be.
These items are currently in place:
-Youth Fellowship (YF): Sunday evenings from 7-9 at our house, mostly kids from the church who hope to make it a group that is welcoming to other kids in the community; includes planning monthly events with them, weekend trips, outings, etc.
-Youth Clubs: Event started by the church 2 years ago; meets every Friday during the school year; 6:45-7:45 for ages 5-10, 8:00-9:30 for ages 11+; Games, snack, place to hang out, short message; in the past they've averaged about 70-80 kids a Friday; Youth Club starts up again after the October school holiday on Oct. 26th.
-Scripture Union: lunchtime Bible Study for students who choose to come; Held weekly in schools, one in upper school (ages 11-18) and one in lower school (ages 5-10)
-Assemblies: Also held in each school and weekly; 20 minute assembly for varying ages; pastors, youth workers in the community are invited to speak on a theme that the students are studying; freedom in what we can say, unlike public schools in the States.
--James is involved in an existing adult men's outreach group that meets twice a month. One week is a speaker, the other week is a games night.
--Afternoon Tea: monthly; held in church hall; community-wide tea and desserts for elderly and retired people; also includes a talk on something or some sort of entertainment (singing, guitar playing, etc.)
These are some of the ideas/hopes/dreams we have:
-Begin a Young Adult Fellowship group: hopefully to be held in our home for ages 18-late 20's; possibly twice monthly
-I plan on working with ladies in the church to begin a group to meet monthly; time for ladies to get together, have some tea and dessert and get to know each other; would like for ladies to invite neighbors and friends from work so a network can evolve from many areas of the community
-Look into having a branch of a pregnancy resource center (located in Inverness an hour away) in Dornoch; a phone hot line, local volunteers, a resource for women to have use of or buy discounted/donated baby supplies.
-Work with church to compile a welcome packet for new members of the community (a 200 home development is in the works in Dornoch) outlining various services they offer.
Our unofficial title is "congregational support worker." It changed from "youth worker" since we're here to help out in any way we can, primarily focused on kids, but available for tons of other areas.
Here's some proof that we hang out with kids. These are the pastor's three kids, we took a walk on the beach after we had dinner with them at our house. James was teaching them how to play American football. Then one of the kids threw the ball when he wasn't looking and gave him a swollen, slightly blackened eye.
And here's me trying to injure myself.