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Aberdeen St. Mark’s Church of Scotland is a newly united congregation which brought together Queen Street Church and Aberdeen St. Mark’s Church on 3 November 2017, both being the product of various earlier unions. We see worship and the proclamation of the Gospel as central to our faith and we need help and encouragement to develop new ways which will help us grow in faith and involve the Parish and city centre community in the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
We believe that God has a vision for his Church in Aberdeen city centre. It may not be what we are used to or even what we anticipate it might be, but if like Paul we are willing to walk through the doors which open for us, then we are sure to find that God not only walks through those doors with us, but that He has already gone before and prepared the way.
Skene Square Primary School lies within the parish boundary and therefore offers the potential for Chaplaincy as does Aberdeen Grammar School where the previous minister worked in a team with other ministers.
The Church was designed by A. Marshall McKenzie in 1892 and comprises a giant portico surmounted by a drum and a high leaded dome, modelled on St Paul’s Cathedral. The name “St. Mark’s” came into being in 1972 as a result of the union of the South and East & Belmont Churches and in 1981 it was joined by the congregation of Trinity Church following a period of joint worship and a major fire in their building. After 100 years of airborne pollution, which caused severe deterioration to the leadwork of the dome, a major fund-raising effort was undertaken just after the centenary celebration in 1992, enabling the dome to be re-leaded and the slated roof to be repaired. There has been subsequent redecoration of the building outside and inside, installation of a lift and a re-fitted kitchen.
In 2005 Aberdeen Presbytery created the Aberdeen City Centre Parish Grouping, consisting of St. Mark’s, Queen Street and the Kirk of St.Nicholas Uniting, (Aberdeen’s “Mither Kirk”), and all three congregations worked together to serve the city centre and built up good relationships. After consideration by the Kirk Sessions of St Mark’s and Queen Street churches, it was agreed that the name “St. Mark’s” would be retained.
The Church along with the Central Library and His Majesty’s Theatre “forms the most distinguished grouping of major buildings in Aberdeen” (Historic Buildings Council for Scotland, October 2000) and provides the “salvation” in the weel kent “Education, Salvation and Damnation” frontage on Rosemount Viaduct. The buildings can be seen from Aberdeen’s principal thoroughfare, Union Street, at Union Bridge looking across Union Terrace Gardens.
The Minister has secretarial assistance in the church office weekday mornings. We have the services of an organist, a part-time church officer/hall keeper on weekdays and Saturdays and a church cleaner. Beadle duties on Sundays are performed by a rota of office-bearers.
Financially St Mark’s performs well with our 2017 Accounts still out for Audit. This arises from the Union where our year end normal income of £140,665 was supplemented by the transfer of £284,897 of Net Assets from Queen Street Church together with Investments valued at £242,868 (Total £688,430). Our normal year end outgoings amounted to £131,674, resulting in a surplus of £8,991 together with an overall net income of £536,756 plus investment gains of £21,846 giving total net assets of £558,602 with funds brought forward of £409,736, resulting in total funds for 2017 of £968,338. This was an unusual year.
This is a terraced granite and slated house in Osborne Place in the West End area of Aberdeen with accommodation on two floors. It comprises a Lounge with Dining Room on semi-open plan, Sitting Room, Toilet, Study, Kitchen and Utility Room on the ground floor. Upstairs there is a Master Bedroom with en-suite Shower Room, three further bedrooms and a Family Bathroom. There is an Attic storage area accessed by a folding aluminium ladder. There are gardens to front and rear and a large detached single garage. The house is double-glazed throughout and has gas central heating.
The Manse is about three-quarters of a mile from the Church and is in the Ashley Road Primary School and Aberdeen Grammar School catchment areas.
We are a group of people who believe in Jesus as our friend, role model, Lord and King! We are people who are on the journey of learning how to be more Christ-like. We aim to be kind, friendly, accepting, loving and to grow in faith. The roll of the united congregation stands at 449 with attendance at Sunday worship around 90-100. The Kirk Session consists of 41 elders and under the Unitary Constitution, which we are obliged to adopt, we hope to have our new team structure in place very soon.
Currently there is one service each Sunday at 11 a.m. There is a rota of members giving Bible Readings and an enthusiastic choir. Refreshments and fellowship are provided after the service. Communion is celebrated four times annually (January, post Easter, June and October) with three additional services at 2.00pm on Palm Sunday and in June and October when members of our “Circle of Care” are transported to Church and served afternoon tea in the hall following worship.
An OAK service is held annually for the benefit of the Scottish Bible Society. We also worship with Crown Terrace Methodist Church during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, alternating between the two churches. In past years joint Holy Week services were held within the Grouping. Special services are held at Christmas. We ‘Celebrate Aberdeen’ and hold Guild Dedication, Boys Brigade Dedication and on Easter Day morning an early service is held at The Well of Spa, an open area behind the church, which is well attended by members and visitors.
The area of our Parish consists mainly of residential properties; housing is a mix of privately owned flats, terraced houses and granite tenements which includes public and social housing, and student accommodation. In the city centre area, there is a wide range of Commercial and Retail properties.
News of the Church events and other notices appear in the weekly order of service, our website and the “Messenger”, our quarterly Church Magazine, which is delivered to every household.
The church is a member of OAK (Organisation of Aberdeen Kirks) and in a joint venture with Crown Terrace Methodist Church a café is open 10am – 1pm weekdays in the hall for teas, coffees and light lunches and is served faithfully by volunteers from these churches with help from the Kirk of St. Nicholas Uniting. Cooked breakfasts are given for a minimal Payment (£1) to those in need and other costs are covered by a fund available to St. Mark’s. Special Lunches are served four times a year by way of fundraising.
Once a month, the Supper Club, an initiative set up at Queen Street by volunteers in 2013, provides a freshly cooked evening meal in a safe and welcoming environment for the homeless, lonely and vulnerable.
The ‘Big Issue’ magazine is distributed from St Mark’s, served by volunteers from all three former Grouping churches and will celebrate its 10th year in July 2018.
Services are held at Constitution Court (a sheltered Housing Complex) on the first Sunday of the month.
The Foodbank run by ‘Somebody Cares’ is well supported by regular generous donations from our members.
St John’s Church for Deaf People has the use of our Session Room every second Sunday of the month for their services, joining with us for refreshments afterwards.
Two of our members are Street Pastors working in the city centre.
The St Mark’s Players meet for rehearsals on Sunday evenings and regularly present Cabarets & Plays on our well-equipped stage in the Church hall. The Guild meets on alternate Monday evenings and Thursday afternoons and is well attended. The Men’s Club meets weekly on Monday evenings and joint meetings are held with the Guild from time to time. The Guild of Friendship meets weekly on Monday afternoons. The Scottish Country Dancing class meets every second Wednesday evening and includes non-church members. Our Pastoral Priority Care Group receive visits from volunteers – this is presently under review. The Ramblers, as the name suggests, meet outwith the Church building for their principal activities which range from city-based walks to hill climbs. The Chapel Chimers, a hand chime group meet on Tuesday mornings to practise although most of their performances are given elsewhere, eg at local Guilds and Care Homes. The Lamp Associates (Former members of the Girls’ Guildry) meet once a month on a Monday. The 30th Boys Brigade Company is attached to St Mark’s but meets in the nearby BB Headquarters.
Many other events take place in the hall during the year. These include a Burns Supper and St Andrew’s Night (both bi-annually), Student Show Concert, weekly Coffee Shops from June – September, Christmas Coffee Shops, Indoor Garden Parties, Sales and many others. Many outside organisations also use our premises and provide a welcome source of revenue.
In recent years both churches have supported projects abroad. St. Mark’s was in a twinning arrangement with a church in Blantyre Synod, Malawi, and visits were made to Malawi and to Aberdeen. Support was given for an orphan feeding kitchen, a hall and various items for worship. Queen Street contributed to the building of a Nursery at a church in South India and for many years supported a girl in Dr. Graham’s Homes, Kalimpong. Christian Aid is supported, at present by an annual Coffee Morning. Stamps are collected for World Mission Council. Arising from the union we have new overseas partners in Rev. Daniel and Grace Rugut in Eldoret, Kenya. Daniel studied at Aberdeen University and attended Queen Street Church. In association with Abigail Ministries we fundraise for Daniel and Grace to help support their projects. One block of SEED School (Seiyo Education and Enterprise Development) has been completed and the second block should be finished before the end of the year. Funds raised also provide school uniforms, books, stationery and meals for the children. The Rugut Fund was set up in 2005 and Daniel and his family have been visited by a member of the former Queen Street Church three times over a period of six years.
The Kirk Session has decided to depart from the Church of Scotland’s traditional position in relation to human sexuality in order to be inclusive. We seek a Minister of deep Christian faith who will encourage spiritual growth and help us to develop our vision of mission and outreach to the community and beyond. We are a committed, caring and welcoming congregation who offer friendship, fellowship and active support within our church and the wider community. We have a deep love and concern for all, and work hard to ensure that everyone feels cared for, appreciated and encouraged in all they do. We are looking for a Minister who is open – minded and a good listener who will build strong relationships with the congregation and the community and help us to provide pastoral care. We would like our new Minister to be a team player who has good communication skills; is approachable and offers strong, collaborative leadership. Presbytery sees Aberdeen St Mark’s in partnership with St Nicholas Uniting, in a central role in developing the future of city centre Ministry. We seek a Minister who will share our passion for the city centre and with the promise of extra staffing resources from Presbytery, will work along with us to shape the future of Ministry and Mission in the city centre.
We hope that our Parish Profile will help you decide if you might be the Minister to lead Aberdeen St Mark’s and can assure you that you will have our support as we work together.
VACANCY CONTACT DETAILS
Interim Moderator Rev Duncan Eddie (Holburn West Parish Church) 01224 325873 DEddie@churchofscotland.org.uk
Convenor of Nominating Committee Mrs Gail Hogg 01224 868924
Clerk to Nominating Committee Mrs Helen Burr 63 Fairview Manor, Danestone, Aberdeen AB22 8ZY 01224 824805. Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Written applications, including CV and names of two referees, should be submitted to the Clerk to the Nominating Committee.
Informal enquiries can be made to the Interim Moderator.