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Priority Areas News
June 2021
General Assembly: on reflection...
We heard a lot of support for the work of Priority Areas from the “floor” of the online General Assembly last week and were encouraged by the questions and comments from commissioners. It showed us the real interest and concern that people have for this work.
 
The Assembly affirmed again the commitment of the Church to place priority for the poorest at the heart of all that it does, recognising the mission of Priority Area congregations in this. The Faith Nurture Forum was instructed to continue to develop and deliver this key priority within the Church's developing Faith Action Plan; supported in this by the work of our Priority Areas team and implementation group.
 
Sometimes the workings of the Church and the General Assembly can seem remote or a little removed from the work we are all engaged in, but this affirmation matters to us in Priority Areas; it frees us to focus on our communities.
 
Our report to the General Assembly was approved and, as part of this, we updated and revised our list of Priority Areas based on the most recent figures from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). As a result of this work, we have identified an additional 14 parishes which now sit within the 5% most deprived rankings in the index. The list cannot remain static, of course, and some parishes have moved out of the most deprived ranking.
 
We will be publishing the full list shortly, alongside SIMD statistics, FAQs, and links to our team, and look forward to making this information more widely available.
Wee Conversation Lifeline
We have loved having our Wee Conversation each Friday morning over the past 15 months. It’s been a great place to talk, share news and just hang out together with people who understand. Sometimes it’s a small group, sometimes it’s a large gathering – particularly when a natural focus rises to the surface that many people want to discuss.
 
Generally, though, it’s been a place where folk have just enjoyed meeting up - there have been moments where everyone has cracked up at some of the stories we’ve shared. Equally, it’s been the best place to garner support and express concern.
 
We are gathering again this Friday as usual at 10:30am. Email us by clicking the button below, and we'll send you the link to join us.
 
We’d like to extend a special welcome to folk from our new Priority Areas who have just come on to the list. Come along and begin your journey with us as part of the network, we’d love to see you.
Email us
Sanctuary Sunday
Churches across the UK and worldwide are encouraged to celebrate Sanctuary Sunday (also called Refugee Sunday) on 20 June, which this year coincides with World Refugee Day. There are more displaced people in the world today than at any other point in history and the Bible is clear in its expression of God’s loving concern for the stranger and refugee.
 
Celebrating Sanctuary Sunday is an opportunity to express our prayers and solidarity, but also to raise awareness again of our Christian calling to welcome the stranger and do this openly and proudly.
 
Below is a link to some resources to help you prepare for this day if you wish. The majority of the resources have been written by people who have personal, lived experience of having to flee their home country and finding refuge in Scotland, or of people with lived experience of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in their congregations and communities.
 
Please join us as we celebrate our diversity and multiculturality.
Link to resources
Don’t miss out on the 2021 Small Grants Fund Pilot
The rolling application process for the Priority Areas’ pilot of the 2021 Small Grants Fund will now close on 13 June (from 31 May).
 
The new fund provides grants of up to £1,000 with £10,000 being ring-fenced for Priority Areas congregations in this initial phase.
 
So far, there have been over a dozen expressions of interest but only a handful have completed the application process.
 
Details of the funding criteria along with a Word copy of the application form and the accompanying guidelines can be found on our website.
 
Once you have completed and reviewed your draft form offline and have an approved extract minute (a sample is available on our web pages) you can then proceed to complete the form on the new online grant platform.
 
Get your application in now!  

The application process is open to Church of Scotland congregations in general and to presbyteries throughout June with £30,000 being available. Two other calls for applications are planned throughout August and September, each with £30,000 being made available.
 
If you have any questions, please contact the 2021 Small Grants Fund via email.
Email the 2021 Small Grants Fund team
The Robertson Trust
There are a variety of funds available through The Robertson Trust. There are no set closing dates, so you're welcome to apply any time.
Find out more
Vacancies within Priority Areas
 
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