As part of our desire at Sanctuary First, to contribute to the future shape and mission of the church. Sanctuary First hosted a conference at Tulliallan Police College to seek to inspire ministers and congregations to begin to re-think how church might be in the future. The Conference was held from 11-13 January 2019.

Our aim is to inspire the Church to look again at the Church Without Walls Report and see the timeless themes that continue to be relevant to us as a church. Working from our strengths we are asking; How can these themes be best communicated in an age of social media and advancing technology?

Watch some of the Sessions from the Conference

Can we have the courage to Re-Imagine Church for 21st century?

How can Sanctuary First as an online church be used to keep alive the faith of literally thousands who no longer attend conventional church?

How can we also be a collaborative partner in helping a new kind of church emerge that takes notice of the changing culture that has been brought about by the communication revolution of the past twenty years?

What does it mean today to be a Church Shaped by the Gospel, Shaped by our Locale, Shaped by the Gifts of God’s People and Shaped by Friendship?

Contributor Summary

We’re delighted that Professor Len Sweet joined us by a live link from New York State. Professor Sweet was also with us in 2005 when we had the Stakeholders Conference in the Edinburgh

Dr Pete Phllips from Durham University is a key influencer in the Church of England’s communication strategy, and we're thrilled that he will be also joined us at the conference.

The conference also featured contributions from Scotland:

  • Russell McLarty invited members of the conference to join with him in helping to re-imagine church as it could be in the future starting from where we are now.
  • Neil Glover outlined what a hub style ministry might look like and explained the opportunities that are arising to re-imagine church in a more interdependent way allowing new forms of ministry to emerge from more settled expressions of church.
  • Fullarton ConneXions in Irvine is a Church of Scotland who have re-imagined their role in their Parish.
  • Liz Crumlish (part of the Renewal Programme) shared her experiences and inspired us to believe that there is a pathway for the renewal of the church.
  • Peter Neilson invited us to re-imagine what it means when we talk about a 'Church shaped by the Gospel' through each of the Gospel authors.
  • Maggie Lane is a trained counsellor and brought a great deal of experience to the topic ‘Unlocking the Gifts of God’s People. This was the focus of her seminar as she sought to empower churches to grow through shared ministry.
  • Sarah Jane Storrie in her seminar explored how community-led design can help empower those who look after places of worship to create more open, vibrant and sustainable spaces that respect and enhance their heritage.
  • Gordon Kennedy asked the question ‘How do we re-imagine a church without walls? Gordon looked at the key strands in the report which offer us hope for the future of the Church of Scotland.
  • Linda Pollock challenged us not to re-imagine Church without children and young people at the heart of our deliberations, sharing their wisdom and imagination.
  • Sanctuary First is building partnerships across the church and showed how we see the future of online church connecting with local parish communities re-connecting many of the disconnected.