Churches join forces for the good of the community

The Rev Derek Pope
The Rev Derek Pope

The Presbytery of Hamilton has decided to bring together two parishes in a Service of Linkage.

The congregation and parish of North Motherwell will be linking with that of Craigneuk and Belhaven and the Rev Derek Pope, who has been minister at North Motherwell for 23 years, will become the minister of these two linked parishes.

Mr Pope, who until last year convened the Church of Scotland’s Priority Areas Committee, spoke of how much he was looking forward to this new challenge.

He said: “While it is more usual for parishes to be linked with their closest neighbouring parish there are many similarities between North Motherwell and Craigneuk and a considerable movement of people between the two areas.”

Over the years the church in North Motherwell, through its New Opportunities Project, has worked in partnership with St Bernadette’s Church and local residents in developing a whole range of activities which have enriched the community there.

Mr Pope said that he is looking forward to getting to know the people and parish of Craigneuk and working in close partnership with St Patrick’s Church, local schools and community groups.

He said: “There is often a gap between church and community and it is for the churches to journey out, joining their skills and resources with those of local people who for many years have worked for the good of communities.”