Walking Together with Colinton

The pace towards Union has increased in the last couple of months. We are targeting the Edinburgh and West Lothian Presbytery meeting on 30 April 2024 for approval of the Union. For the Union to proceed, two documents “Basis of Union” and “Basis of Reviewable Charge” will need to be approved by both Kirk Sessions, both Congregations and the Presbytery. Drafts of both documents have been prepared and the latest drafts have been provisionally approved by the Juniper Green and Colinton Kirk Sessions.

As a Facilitation group we have agreed on the final details of both the Basis of Union and Basis of Renewable Charge with the Facilitation Group members from Colinton and the Deployment Group of the Presbytery. These have now been sent to certain committees of the Church of Scotland nationally, and if they agree then we can proceed to formal votes by the two Kirk Sessions and the two Congregations – we expect the Congregational votes most likely to be in February or March 2024, but late January or early April are still possibilities.

From the congregational surveys the preferred new name of the congregation is Edinburgh Pentlands Parish Church. The Church of Scotland Law Department have agreed that this is fine as long as Currie and Balerno are happy with us using the name. They have been consulted and are also happy that we use that name.

The Juniper Green Kirk Session agreed in October that the prefered way forward with manses was to sell both and buy a new manse for the new minister. Colinton also decided this at their November meeting. Now both manses will be sold and a new manse will be purchaced. The Colinton manse is a complicated sale but as part of the sale they hope to retain some of the extensive garden grounds to be used as parking for the church, this will be subject to Council approval though.

Once the Union is approved by Presbytery then we will be able, as a new united congregation, to proceed to call a new Minister. That will require a Nominating Committee to be elected by the congregation. This would probably be done by a number of people being elected at Colinton Church and a number of people being elected at Juniper Green Church to form the Committee. The current provisional timeline for this process is that if the Union is approved on 30 April 2024 then the election of a Nominating Committee would happen at the end of May 2024 or sometime in June 2024. The recruitment of a new Minister could take between 6 and 9 months.

All the new Unions are required to have Ministers with Reviewable Tenure. This means that after a suitable defined period (usually 5 years) the progress of the Congregation against some suitable objectives will be reviewed and theoretically the Minister’s tenure can then be terminated. The purpose of the Basis of Reviewable Charge document is to set out the objectives for the review and the framework of the reviewable charge.

The main items addressed by the Basis of Union document are the name of the new congregation, the sharing of the assets of the two existing congregations, Sunday worship (to the extent that the Basis of Union defines that Sunday worship will continue in both Colinton and Juniper Green Churches), the merging of the two Kirk Sessions and the way forward to providing a Manse for the new Congregation.

Questions can be sent to junipergreenparishchurch@gmail.com or ask the Facilitation Group members, Tillie Boulogne, Sarah Rhynas, Martin Elliot, Michael Merriman and Alison Robertson.

 The Facilitation Group