Session Meeting Minutes

      Page 478

Stated Annual General Meeting of Houston and Killellan Kirk  Sunday 23  March 2014 


The Congregation of Houston and Killellan Kirk met in the Church at close of worship on Sunday 23 March 2014, with the Rev Donald Campbell, Minister in the Chair.  The Chairman thanked all of those who had stayed to participate in the Annual Meeting.

Sederunt and Apologies:

The members who attended the Meeting are as noted in the Sederunt Book, with apologises noted therein.

Previous Minutes:

  • The Minutes of the Stated Annual General Meeting of 17 March 2013 were circulated, approved and signed.  Proposed by Mr David Fulton and seconded by Mr Ian Jackson.
  • There were no matters arising.

Moderator’s Address:

I often wonder if many of our Church family here in Houston & Killellan Kirk know how much hard graft and hours of time freely given by so many people go into the work that constitutes a Church year.

None of us should take for granted the dedication of those in our congregation and church community who within various vast and diverse areas, use their expertise, effort and involvement as their acts of ministry within this Kirk and in service to Almighty God.

It is a tribute to all those fully involved in the various Kirk Session teams that the ‘work’ gets done.  But there is far more to this Kirk than just the Kirk Session – important though that is.

In terms of Worship there is the leading of our praise; unfortunately we are yet again without an organist, the search goes on.  So while thanking our Choir for their musical abilities I wish to record my thanks and the thanks of the congregation for the unstinting dedication of Peter McKerrell in again stepping into the breach during this vacancy.

Our Sunday Club: I don’t think we fully appreciate what is being achieved Sunday by Sunday in the Kirk Hall.  With around 45-50 young people involved weekly more encouragement and support is something I wish we gave both our young people and their teachers more of.  Yes it would be fantastic to have more children join us and be more involved in Morning Worship and soon that vision may just become a reality as the final aspects and details of the Church Extension are drawn together by our own ‘professional steering group’.

Sound, Vision, Web site, The Kirk Record, Flowers, Cleaning, Maintenance, Door duty, Teas, Offering count, Beadling and outside the grounds are kept immaculate, all undertaken enthusiastically by various teams of volunteers and what a superb effort this entails from those dedicated in their various tasks.

Beyond our place of Worship there are so many aspects that are needed for our church’s place within the Church of Scotland.  None more so than the generosity of the congregation in enabling Houston & Killellan Kirk to play a full part in the ongoing ministry and work of the Kirk.  Indeed the excellent stewardship of our funds monitored by our Finance team ensure that our ‘giving’s’ help other less well-off churches in Scotland.  There are also our Pastoral visitors who do sterling work among those who now find it difficult to attend church.  Outreach beyond is undertaken by representatives on Friends of Adams House and those ladies who are faithfully involved in the continuing support of Ida and Keith at Mwandi Mission, our ongoing support for Christian Aid and of course just last Sunday we saw our congregation give great support to our Fairtrade team.  Our Guild, probably one of the largest in Scotland continues its good work in support of so many causes chosen by them and also supported by the National Guild.


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The Social aspects of church life also continue well and we look forward to the ‘ongoings’ in our Social calendar over the coming months.  Alongside their efforts other groups also do their bit!  The Wee Blether, Country Dancers, ROAR Lunch  club, Chix with Stix, the Walking Group, Kirk Creations, our Senior Citizens club (they are always looking for more members, all welcome).  What also of our annual Kirk Carnival, this year to be “Caledonian Capers”, a fun day for all in the community and we give thanks for the wonderful support from folks from Houston and beyond.

Our Youth Organisations, BB, GB and 1st Houston BB & GB Pipe Band are also enjoying good numbers and so continue to be supported by the church in all they do for many young people across the community.

There are times in a minister’s everyday ongoings when you have to stand still and take stock.  I am so grateful to my wife Liz for being that buffer that makes me take time to think things through, and for all she does in her own quiet way, my deepest thanks.

As you can see ministry is not about one person.  It is about answering our personal call from God to serve where we can, when we can, and in any way we can.  I thank my Session Clerk, James McBeath for his very efficient organisation of business, ably assisted by Helen Dunn in her Deputy Session Clerk roll.  But it is to everyone involved that I pay tribute, for this Kirk would be a poorer place without so many who put great effort into the everyday aspects of Church for Church is not a ‘one day a week’ scenario.  In what has been achieved in what is still to be achieved we need people of dedication and vision, at this time may we remember those of our Kirk who have ‘gone home’ since our last annual Stated Meeting and thank God for their time among us in our Church.

To you who have remained behind today after worship, thank you and may God’s Blessing continue to light and enhance Houston & Killellan Kirk – Thank you.

Treasurer’s Report:

Mr John King gave a short report on the Accounts which had been previously circulated and invited questions from the Congregation, as there were no questions, John finished his report by thanking Mr Graeme Finnie for his help and expertise.  John also thanked Jack McKechnie and the Finance team for their support throughout the year.  A big thank you was also given to John’s wife Margaret for the help she provides.

As well as thanking John and his team, the Moderator praised the Congregation for their support - as it had been a concern when fundraising commenced for the Annexe Project that the ‘ordinary givings’ could have suffered but this has not been the case –  well done  everyone.

KirkBuildingExtension/Annexe Report:

Since last year’s Stated Annual Meeting there has been substantial progress in the Extension Project.

A design team lead by Jewitt and Wilkie as managing architects was appointed last April, and has developed the design to achieve a Building Warrant last September.  A Tender package was developed and issued in last December to 6 selected Contractors. All 6 Contractors duly returned Tenders on the due date at the end of the third week of January 2014. Unfortunately all of the Tenders received exceeded the current building work budget.

Whilst some increases in the building work budget was expected by the Steering Group following the additional insulation, fire compartmental, drainage outfall and service supply works imposed by Building Control and other Service Authorities,  the increase was more than anticipated. We are currently undertaking a cost reduction exercise with the two lowest contractors – the aim being to delete a number of “nice to have” features without compromising the overall objectives behind the extension.  However it will be necessary to increase the overall budget to achieve an acceptable solution.


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The remaining graveyard archaeological investigative works within the footprint of the rear hall annex was completed in January 2014. Nothing significant was revealed by these digs with the result that no disinterment and subsequent re-interment of human remains will be required prior to the installation of the foundation piling. The only remaining archaeological involvement will now likely occur during the installation of the drainage and service supply pipe work within the graveyard when the Archaeologist is required to have a ‘watching brief’ during such works.

Project Funding continues to be received both from pledges, fundraising activities and external grant awards. To date the total sum secured to date is £498,000 comprising £365,000 from our own internal fundraising to date and pledges through to December 2017, plus £133,000 in external grants awarded to date.  We have identified the additional funds required to meet our original budget from future events and internal sources, but now need to work to identify the funding sources to meet the increased budget required to allow the building contract to be placed, hopefully within the next two months.

There are several external grant funding applications awaiting a decision and a number of others to be followed up by the Steering Group. Hopefully the additional funding can be mainly met from external sources with minimal additional demands from the congregation.  Fund raising will continue throughout the building phase to enable us to reduce the demand on our internal resources.

Finally may I thank the members of the steering group for all their hard work, and a big thanks to everyone who has supported the extension project through pledges and fund raising events.  It is not too late for any further pledges. Any ideas for fund raising events would be welcome and passed to Jack McKechnie, Ina Jefferson or me.

We now need one last push to turn our dream into reality – Thank you.

A question was raised re the actual cost increase – Allan replied that at present a figure could not be given as the Committee were still working on proposed cost cutting plans.

The Moderator assured the Congregation that they would be kept fully up to date with the decisions by made with the Project.   Donald thank everyone who has helped to raise the funds we have already secured and he has a number of projects in mind for further fundraising events and would appreciate the help of a few people to  help him with the organisation of these – please let Donald know if you can help in anyway.

Session Clerk’s Report:

MODERATOR, Members of Houston and Killellan Church,

Under the unitary form of Constitution our Kirk Session is responsible for both the spiritual and temporal affairs of our Kirk.

Today the Kirk Session has 57 Elders and 14 co-opted members. Planned meetings are held every 2 months with additional meetings as deemed necessary.

Two weeks before each Session meeting there is a Group Co-ordinators meeting which involves the 6 team leaders and the management group.

Minutes of all Session meetings can be found on the church web site

My thanks to all members of the Kirk Session and the congregation for their help and advice.

There are currently 664 members on the Communion ROLL and on the 2nd March, 334 members partook of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

During the past year, there have been 16 baptisms and 14 weddings. Sadly there were 37 deaths but on a brighter note we welcomed 16 new members.


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It is encouraging to note that attendance at both church worship and at the early morning Communion services remains healthy.

Donald, Roy Anderson, our Presbytery Elder and myself represent our Kirk on Greenock and Paisley Presbytery and are involved in property, finance and vacancy issues respectively.

We thank Presbytery and the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland for their financial help and support for our extension project

I am sure that most of you will be well aware of the current shortage of ordained Ministers in the Church of Scotland and sadly it is planned to further reduce number in future years.

My experience on Presbytery work has made me acutely aware of the difficulty in attracting a Minister, indeed any Minister to a parish. Indeed some congregations, even successful and attractive ones, have struggled along for years without a Minister.

Needless to say, Ministers with Donald’s attributes are even harder to find – Please take good care of him because there are poachers around!

We acknowledge and appreciate the work Donald does and his utter dedication to his calling in this parish and on your behalf I thank him most sincerely.

Donald and Liz form an excellent team and we thank Liz for her contribution to our Church life and we ask for God’s blessing on Donald, Liz and their family

It would be remiss of me if I did not recognise the work done by our ever faithful AND TEMPORARY Beadle, Iain Cameron.

Finally my thanks to Helen, Ina and Norma – Thank you.

There being no further items for discussion the Stated Annual General Meeting closed with the Benediction.

Rev Donald Campbell                                                                                Mr James McBeath

Moderator                                                                                                    Session Clerk                                

Page no 472

At Houston and within Houston and Killellan Kirk, the Kirk Session met at 1040 hrs on Sunday 16th February 2014 and was constituted in prayer by Rev Donald Campbell, Moderator.

The Kirk Session agreed to ratify the following Safeguarding appointment, following successful recruitment to the PVG scheme, regulated to work with children viz

Miss Louise Diduca, 48, Locher Crescent, Houston  -    (Girls Brigade)

Proposed by Adam McCartney and seconded by Iain Cameron.

Rev Donald Campbell, Moderator,                                              James McBeath,  Session Clerk.                                                


  Page no 471

At Houston and within Houston and Killellan  Kirk , the Kirk Session met at 1030 hrs on Sunday 9th December 2013 and was constituted in prayer by Rev Donald Campbell, Moderator.

Being satisfied as to the life and doctrine of the following persons, the Kirk Session agreed, by resolution, to the admission of

a) Alexandra Munro,  (E Bowie’s District)  .

b) Brian Munro,  (E Bowie’s District)

c)  Kirsty  McKay,   (Ronnie Anderson’s District)

d) Lesley Jackson,    (A Gilfillan’s District)

e) Ross Jackson,     (A Gilfillan’s District)

f)  Laura Jackson, (K. Jackson District).

Proposed by Janice Anderson and seconded by John King.


Rev Donald Campbell                                                                   James McBeath

Moderator                                                                                     Session Clerk

Page 470

At Houston and within Houston and Killellan Kirk, a representation of the Kirk Session met at 10.30 on Sunday 26 January 2014 and was constituted in prayer by Rev Donald Campbell, Moderator.


Following successful recruitment to the PVG Scheme, regulated to work with Children, the Kirk Session was asked to ratify the following appointments:

Dr Caroline Elizabeth Morrison – to work with Starzoneand

Mrs Madelaine Hewitson –to work with the Girls Brigade.

Proposed by Irwin Jefferson Seconded by Ina Jefferson.

The appointments were approved.

Rev Donald Campbell                                                                                 Mr James McBeath

Moderator                                                                                        Session Clerk

Page 468

At Houston and within Houston and Killellan Kirk, the Kirk Session met at 19.30pm on Tuesday 3 December  2013 and was constituted in prayer by Rev Donald Campbell, Moderator.

1.  SEDERUNT/APOLOGIES – The Sederunt book was passed and apologies received.

2.  MINUTES – Pages 465, 466 and 467 were unanimously agreed.  The Minutes were adopted by the Session – Proposed by Mr Bob Ross and seconded by Mr Allan Dawson.

3.  MATTERS ARISING– there were no matters arising.


  • A letter had been received from the Guild to thank the Session for their contribution of the Christmas Hampers for their Christmas Victorian Market.  The Guild raised a magnificent sum of £2734.
  • The Clerk had received an Elder’s Visit Report for the Girls Brigade which did not arrive in time to be circulated prior to the Meeting; it will therefore be taken forward to the next.

5.  SAFEGUARDING: - no questions received.

6.  TREASURER’S REPORT– the Report had been circulated and there were no questions with regard to this. The Meeting agreed to John’s request to seek professional help with regard to a Corporation Tax issue.

7.  PRESBYTERY REPORT – no action required from the circulated report.



  • Photocopier – the Committee intend to place a notice beside the copier to highlight that it is only in an ‘absolute emergency’ the Manse should be contacted re problems. Donald and Norrie are intending to visit all the organisations to speak to them re their photocopy usage.
  • Repair work had been carried out to a rectify a problem in the Disabled Toilet
  • Following a problem with a radiator falling off a wall during a BB meeting, Norrie requested that letters be sent to all of the organisations to reiterate that no ball games are allowed in the small hall.

ROLLKEEPER– no questions received re the circulated report. Donald requested that  William Peter Manley and Catherine Jane McFall be admitted to the Congregation by Resolution of the Kirk Session – this was agreed to.

ELDERS VISIT TO THE BIBLE CLASS  - May and Helen had visited the Bible Class and were very impressed during their visit, as per the circulated report.  The Session are very grateful for the work being done by Fiona and Valerie.  Fiona was invited to make further comment if required and she did indicate that the room they use in the Church Hall is cold – the Property Committee will investigate this problem.


  • Information Consent Forms- should now have been received by all Session Members. All members should complete the form giving as much or as little information as they wish to be made available on the Web Site, and return these to Ina or Helen.
  • Consent to Photograph – by Law,before publication of any photographs in the Church Record or on the Web site etc., permission should be received from the people involved.  The exception to this is where photographs are taken where ‘implied consent’ is given i.e. the Session posing for a group photograph or similar.


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10  GIRLS BRIGADE– Sandra highlighted to the Meeting the staffing difficulties the Girls Brigade are currently encountering, the numbers in the Unit have increased which is good news but obviously more staff are now required. Two of their parent helpers are intending to resign at Christmas time and one of these has been dealing with the Accounts, this task will taken over by the Finance Committee on a temporary basis.  Any help the Session could provide would be appreciated by the Officers and anyone who feels able to give up a few hours on a casual basis should contact Sandra directly.

11.  ELDERSHIP QUESTIONNAIRE – of the 9 questionnaires sent out to Elders 8 had been completed and returned, Helen thanked those Elders for their help.  The answers have now been collated and  the results sent to 121 George Street, who will produce a report in due course.

12.  KIRK ANNEXE REPORT - no report was circulated in advance of the Meeting, as Alan had indicated that he would give a short slide presentation showing the current position and identifying the next steps to be taken.  This was received well by those in attendance.

Alan intimated that the General Trustees had encouraged us to claim the full £40k of their grant this year contrary to the split of £20k this year and £20k next as originally awarded. Alan sought a resolution from the Session that this be taken forward. It was agreed that we submit Forms A and C to Presbytery for a further grant for 2014 – proposed Iain Cameron seconded Roy Anderson.

13.  DISCUSSION TOPIC – Draft Overture – Selection, Training, Ordination and Induction of Ministers, Deacons etc. in Civil Partnerships – Helen opened the discussion on the above documents which had been previously circulated and  clarified a number of points raised by members. Helen emphasised that Kirk Session Members were being asked as individuals to comment on the wording of the document, and not as a Session.  Any comments should be submitted to 121 George Street by 12 noon on the 16 December.

14.  AOCB:

4 Churches Together– the Moderator indicated that he had been very disappointed by  the lack of  response to the request for a volunteer to take offer the position of Committee Member being vacated by Bob Finnie as intimated at the last Session Meeting.  There had also been a lack of response to participation in a Quiz to help raise money towards the costs of the Bible Bus Project.  John Melrose has agreed to take on this role and will liaise with Bob and Ian Jackson our current representatives.

Church Organist/Choir Master– the Moderator had received an email on the afternoon of the Meeting re the appointment of a new Church Organist, the Moderator said that he had been upset by the late submission of the email and hurt by the implied tone of the content.  Donald indicated that he, along with Moira Dunlop, would meet with the Choir on Thursday evening to discuss the matter.

Date and time of next Meeting – 25 February 2014.

The Moderator closed the Meeting in Prayer at 21.20pm.

REV DONALD CAMPBELL                                                                 MR JAMES MCBEATH

Moderator                                                                                                    Session Clerk