ABERDEEN has been voted one of the best places to live in the world, according to a global survey. It has been ranked higher than the likes of Prague, Philadelphia and Houston in a global survey of the cities with the best quality of life. And it is second only to London in the UK, according to the prestigious Mercer survey.
Aberdeen has good travel connection by road, rail, air & sea. As a city it is large enough to provide all the amenities of a major conurbation, but the countryside is only a short journey away. The major industry undergirding its prosperity is oil production and it is known as the “Oil Capital of Europe” In recent decades, Aberdeen has become a much more cosmopolitan city.
High Church, Hilton has a very prominent location at the six roads roundabout.
It was built in 1935 and is at the centre of the Parish. It is situated in the middle of a suburban area of Aberdeen with a range of private and council housing. There is easy access to the city centre, Primary and Secondary schools, University, shops and the hospital.
High Church, Hilton was the first church extension to be built. The congregation of the High Church above the Denburn in the centre of town was moved to Hilton in 1935 to serve the needs of the expanding population in the area. It is a beautiful cruciform shaped building. It has chairs rather than pews because it was originally designed to be a multi-purpose building. The observer might not realise this because the sanctuary has the feel of a place solely intended for worship High Church, Hilton was the last large public building in Aberdeen to be of granite construction. The church has an excellent suite of halls, comprising a large hall, a big hall, a comfortable lounge/meeting room, a church office, vestry, a large catering kitchen, a small tea kitchen and adequate toilet provision. Apart from the lounge, the buildings are all wheelchair accessible. The buildings are in a good state of repair. There is a good quality Walker organ. The church is surrounded by lawns which are suited to outdoor events.
There is a comfortable manse, situated a short distance from the church. It has 2 public rooms, a study, and four bedrooms and is served by gas central heating. It has a manageable garden and a garage.
The past few years have been a difficult time for us – some of the leadership team found themselves at odds with the Church of Scotland after the call to a homosexual minister was upheld by Aberdeen Presbytery and then by the General Assembly. Part of the protest took the form of withholding payments to central funds. (see Appendix 1) Eventually, at the end of 2011, the Minister informed the Session and the congregation that he could no longer function within the Church of Scotland and was demitting office at the end of November. A significant number of the Session also resigned at that time. They have since started a church of their own which meets in a local hotel, and a significant proportion of the worshipping congregation joined them.
Immediately following the demission of the minister in 2011, an Interim Minister was appointed.
During 2012, 7 elders were added to the Session. Both existing and new elders participated in a series of training sessions.
The uniformed organisations had not been included in worship for over 16 years. During 2012 they participated in worship on two occasions in large numbers and the congregation were heartened to see the re-establishment of the link with the organisations and the young people in church.
Surprisingly we have found that our sense of family and fellowship has deepened and grown. At present we are busy trying to re-establish links to the local community. In the course of 2012 we delivered two leaflets to every home in the parish inviting people to our Harvest and Christmas celebrations. We were heartened to see an almost full church at our Watchnight Service. The minister is chaplain to Kittybrewster Primary School, and we expect the new minister would be invited to join the chaplaincy team at St Machar Academy. We have become involved with the Donside Christian Partnership (the local ecumenical network of churches) and are beginning to forge links with the other churches in the partnership.
The programme of social events we have run in the past year have included a ceilidh, soup & sandwich lunches, coffee mornings, a quiz night and a beetle drive and these have fostered a good feeling of fellowship within the congregation.
The congregational roll stands at 380 plus a small number of adherents. We reckon that around 40 on the roll have left but have not yet asked for their lines. Although the average age – like that of most churches – is on the high side, we think there is the potential through our organisations and the nature of the parish to engage with younger people.
Sunday morning services are at 11.00 am. The average attendance now is 80-100 and there is provision for a crèche and Sunday School. We have an excellent young organist. We changed to using CH4 as our main source of praise in the course of the past year.
There is also a small singing group which participates occasionally in services. In the course of 2012 we added 10 to the roll; 6 through transference and 4 by resolution of the Kirk Session.
We have a full complement of organisations attached to our church: Guild, bowling and badminton clubs, a senior citizen’s club, a mother & toddler group, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, all sections of the Boys’ Brigade, and Scouts and Cubs which meet in their own premises at the top of the road. The Boys’ Brigade and Guide Association connected to our church have around 130 children.
Over the course of 2012, our income slowly increased. Our total income for 2012 was £51,500. We are awaiting a new Ministry and Mission contribution figure for 2013 which will be based on our actual income for 2012. We are expecting all shortfalls up to 31st December 2012 to be written off. We have set ourselves the aim of achieving a level of income where we would effectively be self-supporting. We have a good fabric reserve fund. Details of our finances can be seen in the attached accounts.
In the appendices there are 3 documents. The first details the financial history during2008-2011 and was presented and discussed at a meeting of the congregation. The second and third documents are summaries of views expressed at congregational meetings during which the congregation split into groups for discussion. They are a summary of views expressed at the meetings but they are not necessarily the opinions of all the congregation, so the views may reflect our diversity.
The Appendices can be made available on request via the above Contact Tab.
High Church, Hilton: Financial History – an account of the past
Aims and Objectives for the period of interim ministry from a meeting of the Congregation on 1st February 2012
Responses given at a meeting of the Congregation on 3rd September 2012
We are a friendly and welcoming church family which requires a like-minded Minister to maintain, strengthen and increase our congregation and encourage our organisations and groups.
High Church, Hilton has been given permission to call a minister on an unrestricted basis and we are looking for the person who can lead us forward and encourage and inspire us with hope for a brighter future.
High Church, Hilton is the process of rebuilding our fellowship and so offers the next minister an unusual opportunity to help us in shaping the future of our church.
On 14th January 2013, the congregation were consulted on the kind of ministry that would be appropriate for High Church, Hilton. The congregation’s views have been summarised below.
The Preaching should be understandable to ordinary people, relevant to everyday life, use appropriate illustrations, challenge, encourage and uplift.
We have just changed to CH4 and like it as the main source of praise.
We look for prayers that are understandable and cover areas such as approach, confession, thanksgiving, intercession etc. We value the regular use of the Lord’s Prayer.
We would like the major Christian festivals to be celebrated.
We would value a relaxed friendly atmosphere with an emphasis on the Church as a family.
We are open to innovation but would prefer change to be done gradually. We are keen to see the development of our relationships with our youth organisations.
We would like a minister who has a strong faith, who listens to and respects those with differing views, who is not overbearing, whose leadership skills allow people to use their skills and who will work for the unity of the Church.
We would like a minister who is a competent pastor, who gets to know the congregation, who visits in times of anxiety, who oversees the pastoral care of the congregation to ensure it is well done and who encourages the younger people.
We would like our minister to take the opportunities for chaplaincy at the local primary and secondary schools, to help us develop our participation in the Donside Christian Partnership, and to look for ways of engaging with the people of the parish.
As moderator of the Kirk Session we would like our minister to conduct meetings in an orderly way, enabling all to contribute, allowing openness in discussions and ensuring all decisions are made in a transparent manner.
Among the qualities we would value in our next minister are:
Approachable, Caring, Humorous, Dedicated, Unifier, Communicator, People-person, Supportive, Trainer, Trustworthy, Organized, Creative, Mature, Team player, Good listener, Enthusiastic, Innovative, Flexible, Professional, Honest.
Please send your CV, with the names of two referees, and an account of why you have applied to High Church, Hilton to the clerk to the Nominating Committee, James Christie, 60 Ash-hill Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5HJ; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 07957 688937.
Interim Moderator, Jim Davies. Home tel: 01651 862281, mobile: 07921 023144,