Rev Rhona Cathcart has been the minister at Inverurie West Church since February 2017.
I came to the West church in 2017. At the time I remember telling people that exploring a call to a particular church was more like online dating than applying for a job. I still believe that. Along with shared values and beliefs, a good ‘match’ between minister and congregation is about chemistry as much as it is about qualifications.
I was drawn here by the strong commitment to hospitality; the clear teamwork; the willingness to take risks and to continue to grow and change; and the feeling that this was a place that really sat at the heart of its local community.
Being locally rooted but having an outward facing attitude is important to me. As a first generation Scottish Canadian (or these days more of a Canadian Scot), I have always felt part of more than one world at once. I arrived in ministry via a circuitous route including working in theatre, gaining a few degrees, being at home as a single parent, teaching drama classes, and working in corporate communications.
In all those years I never once imagined I would find myself as a parish minister in the North East of Scotland, but from the moment I first came here, Inverurie and the West church have felt like home.
I was particularly attracted to the way that the building, with its busy cafe, small town setting, welcoming atmosphere, and central location, has allowed me to further develop a ministry of presence. By this I mean being able to simply ‘be’ around people on a regular basis - whether members, volunteers, staff, customers - available to minister as and when needed, rather than by appointment, picking up on the small day to day things.
These day-to-day relationships matter. One of the wise voices I often turn to in ministry is American pastor and writer Eugene Peterson. I love his description of ministry as being about ‘growing the local topsoil’ e.g. being involved with your people as they are and where they are, working organically to help them recognise what God is doing in their lives, rather than trying to impose from on top a particular vision or way of ‘doing ministry’.
The global pandemic has challenged us all recently - in church and out of it - as we’ve had to adapt to different ways of doing things. Some of these have brought unexpected blessings, like developing relationships with folks who worship with us who don’t live locally. We continue to learn and to grow and to try to fulfil God’s calling to us in a changing world.
I’m still doing my best to be ‘present’ for my people even when we can’t be physically together. I fail sometimes of course, as we all do, but folks here are gracious and kind and really do work as a team. I remain deeply grateful to God and to the congregation of Inverurie West for calling me here to serve.
Rhona can be contacted by email (click here) or by phone on 01467 620285. She also tries to spend part of most working days in and around the Acorn Centre where she is always happy to chat.
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