What’s Happening

June 2024

17 June - Vision Group Meeting

May 2024

15 May - Vision Group Meeting

1.  Steering Group: meeting of the Ministers and Session Clerks of Cleish, Fossoway, Orwell & Portmoak and Kinross) to be called as soon as possible, inviting Allan Wilson, Perth Presbytery, to map out a way forward.

  • Steering Group members to be asked for their views on Kinross, Orwell & Portmoak calling themselves “Kinross-shire Parish Grouping”; otherwise, union to be “Kinross, Orwell and Portmoak” but Vision Group is aware that this does not acknowledge Arngask congregation
  • Presbytery to indicate percentage responsibilities of a newly appointed minister for Cleish & Fossoway and the wider Parish Grouping
  • Presbytery to indicate percentage involvement of congregations in Nominating Committee for a newly appointed minister

2.  Kirk Session and Eldership: sub-committee of Vision Group to bring forward proposals for a revised Kirk Session structure for the united congregations that would ensure effective decision making and good governance.  

3.  Ordination of new elders in 2025 was considered a positive message to the united congregations and would strengthen the united Kirk Session. Potential new elders to be identified.

4.  Membership roll of the united congregations requires review so that, on union, it is as accurate as possible. Discussions have started regarding the mechanics of amalgamating the two rolls.

5.  Next Vision Group meeting: 19 June 2024.

6.  Feedback: please continue to respond as this helps formulate ideas: speak with a minister or contact office@kinrossparishchurch.org or orwellandportmoakchurch@gmail.com


April 2024

17 April - Vision Group Meeting

1. Basis of Union: liaising with presbytery around this, particularly our proposed name. Still hoping to meet timescale of the document being voted on by Kirk Sessions at May meetings and congregational approval in June.

2. Discussion of congregational feedback received: thanks expressed for this. Key first step of group is agreeing the basis of union, then able to explore details in more depth in the next phase, including consulting congregations around these matters. 

3. Joint mailer: plan for a weekly joint email to congregations from June, containing notices/ intimations relevant to both churches.

4. Church publications: aware of differences between them. To consider options for the way forward in future discussions.

5. Joint Membership roll: representatives from each church to meet to discuss the practicalities of merging the rolls.

6. Next Vision Group meeting: 15th May. Reviewing feedback from Session meetings; preparing for reading edicts and congregational vote.

7. Feedback: please continue to respond as this helps formulate ideas: speak with a minister or contact office@kinrossparishchurch.org or orwellandportmoakchurch@gmail.com


March 2024

13 March - Vision Group Meeting

1. Basis of Union: aim for the legal document to be presented to respective May Kirk Sessions and then for congregational approval in June. Union from 1 January 2025.

2. Joint Mission Statement: proposal for respective May Kirk Sessions: Worshipping God, Following Christ, Serving the Community

3. Kirk Session: initial discussions exploring how best a united Session might operate to bring spiritual leadership and oversight.

4. Ministry: where no longer a worshipping presence: consideration for a specific Kirk Session group to lead on the response to the communities of Glenfarg and Scotlandwell/ Kinnesswood. Ministry in the form of regular worship in a hall and/or ministry through linking to local community events.

5. Finance: the Treasurers outlined the many actions taken ready to unite funds and processes, scrutinised by respective Finance committees.

6. Next Vision Group meeting: 17 April. Reviewing feedback; preparation of proposals for May Kirk Sessions; review of Pastoral report and operation of a joint membership roll.

7. Feedback: please continue to respond as this helps formulate ideas: speak with a minister or contact office@kinrossparishchurch.org or orwellandportmoakchurch:gmail.com


February 2024

22 February - joint meeting of Cleish, Fossoway, Kinross and Orwell & Portmoak Kirk Sessions along with the respective working groups.

14 February - Vision Group Meeting 

1.      Name of the united congregation: the recommendation is “Kinross-shire” (for OSCR: Kinross-shire Parish         Church of Scotland)

2.      Joint Mission Statement:  the recommendation is Worshipping God, Following Christ, Serving the Community

3.      Stages for Union: the Basis of Union to be brought to the uniting Kirk Sessions in May 2024 followed by congregational votes. Orwell & Portmoak congregation also to vote whether to accept Rev Alan Reid as its Minister. Basis of Union then passes to Presbytery and OSCR for approval, everything being finalised ready for 1 January 2025 union.

4.      Communicating with members: beginning ahead of the official union, a proposal for a joint weekly email sent to subscribers to share Church family news and upcoming events.

5.      Groups: all groups have met/ are meeting to discuss how best to work together, eg plan for a joint Christian Aid initiative.

6.      Parish Grouping Kirk Session meeting 22 February: an opportunity to keep building relationships across the parish grouping and discuss ideas.

7.      Next Vision Group meeting: 13 March. Future meetings to consider how to respond to areas of the parish where there is no longer a worshipping presence, and what a future Kirk Session might look like.

8.      Feedback: the group welcomed the comments it had received and took time to discuss each one. Please continue as this helps formulate ideas: speak with a minister or contact office@kinrossparishchurch.org or orwellandportmoakchurch@gmail.com


January 2024

23 January - public meeting in Portmoak Church at 7.30pm to discuss the closure of the church building.

17 January - Vision Group Meeting 

The group explored four questions raised in a discussion paper from Rev Alan Reid and Rev Robert Calvert.

What times should services be at following the union? It was recognised that there were pros and cons to services being held at the same time or at different times. On balance, the group was minded to support a service time of 10.30am at both Kinross and Orwell churches.

What issues might need to be borne in mind regarding services other than Sunday mornings? Glenfarg, Kinnesswood and Scotlandwell are/will be without a community of Christian witness. Offering perhaps monthly services in local buildings, not necessarily on Sundays, could be an important way of including these communities.

Could we start to do more sharing across the two parishes before union takes place? It was felt strongly that, rather than waiting for 1 January 2025 as the point at which the congregations come together, general moves can and should be taken now. Suggestions include Messy Church, youth activities, Christian Aid Week, house groups and mission partners. A joint Saturday email of news would enable shared information. A vision statement would encapsulate the joint churches’ vision.

What are the implications of union for areas of ministry such as school chaplaincy and trusteeships? Historically the local minister has been expected to be schools chaplain and to serve on the board of various charities, eg Arthur and Margaret Thompson Charitable Trust. Team ministry and the appointment of a KYTHE youth minister will allow this to be reviewed so these important roles are covered, but responsibility does not fall on one minister.

Team Ministry: it is recognised that Presbytery support will be important for Cleish and Fossoway in moving towards their union and calling a minister who will be part of the Team.

Feedback: the Joint Vision Group welcomes comments, questions and suggestions from the congregations: please speak with a minister or contact orwellandportmoakchurch@gmail.com or office@kinrossparishchurch.org


December 2023

31 December - Kinross-shire Parish Grouping Joint Service hosted by Cleish Church

13 December - Vision Group Meeting: highlights on progress:  

  • move forward with drawing up a Basis of Union between Kinross and Orwell & Portmoak.
  • move forward discussions between similar groups in Kinross and Orwell & Portmoak. 
  • reports to be brought to Vision Group meeting on 13th March at the latest:                                                           Admin: Alice Getley(KPC)/Cara Chalmers(O&P); Finance: Alan McGhie(KPC)/Linda Stewart(O&P); Outreach and Youth & Families: Brenda Fraser, Rev Austin Wicks(KPC)/Rosemary Tolson, Cara Chalmers(O&P); Pastoral: Robert Mitchell(KPC)/Beth Cox(O&P); Property: Jaffrey Weir(KPC)/John Bayne, Lachlan MacLean(O&P); Worship: Rev Alan Reid(KPC)/Rev Dr Robert Calvert(O&P)

10 December - congregational meeting of Orwell & Portmoak to discuss the arrangements for the closure of Portmoak Church.

November 2023

A joint meeting of all Kinross-shire Kirk Sessions was held on 30 November with Rev Allan Wilson and Rev Karen Fenwick present from the Planning and Deployment Committee, Presbytery of Perth. Here is a summary of the Draft Notes from the meeting: The aim of the meeting was to clarify the current situation in the light of the departure of Rev Lis Stenhouse from Cleish and Fossoway and to go into the New Year with a better understanding of the direction of travel. The Presbytery Mission Plan, in the short term, is for a Full Time Equivalent minister based at a united Fossoway and Cleish, with responsibilities across the Kinross-shire network, and similarly a FTE minister at Kinross united with Orwell & Portmoak, also with network responsibilities. Cleish and Fossoway need to form a union before they can set up a formal Nominating Committee to call a minister. The Nominating Committee must have representatives from all four parishes, as it will be a Team Ministry role with some responsibilities across the whole area. Although there were no formal decisions of the Kirk Sessions present, the general conclusion appeared to be to progress the current Presbytery Mission Plan as soon as possible, rather than alter it. This would be in accordance with the advice from the representatives of Presbytery. For Kinross Parish Church this would mean, in the short term, progressing union with Orwell & Portmoak and increasing cooperation and building relationships across the Kinross-shire network. All the Kirk Sessions acknowledged with gratitude the work of Rev Alan Reid and Rev Dr Robert Calvert and recognised the real risk of ministers being overburdened. The Kirk Sessions welcomed the appointment of Rev Beverley Stevenson OLM, as Interim Moderator of Cleish and Fossoway.


Joint Vision Group Meeting Update (15 November)                                                                                                                              The Rev Beverley Stevenson (OLM) has been appointed interim moderator of Cleish & Fossoway and are seeking a locum minister. A Basis of Union has been drafted and is now with Presbytery. Local historian David Munro has shared with the Scottish Churches Trust an inventory of important artefacts held at Portmoak Church.


Permission has been granted to sell Arngask Church (Glenfarg) in accordance with the Kinross-shire Parish Grouping Proposal.


It has been announced that Rev Liz Stenhouse of Cleish and Fossoway has been called to the parishes of Aberlady and Gullane and will be inducted there later this month. We wish Lis well for this new stage of her ministry. Clarification is being sought from Presbytery regarding the impact of this announcement on the Presbytery Plan as it may be that now is the time to address the whole parish structure across Kinross-shire. A Joint Kirk Session Conference (Cleish, Fossoway, Kinross, Orwell & Portmoak) is planned for 22 February 2024.

October 2023

Vision Group for Union: The Kirk Session recently agreed that our representatives on the Vision Group for talks with Orwell and Portmoak on union should be Brenda Fraser, Alice Getley, Alan McGhie, Stuart Neave and Jaffrey Weir. The aim is to unite by 31st December 2024.

Steering Group for Parish Grouping: The wider Steering Group for moves towards the Parish Grouping of all the Kinross-shire Church of Scotland Churches, together with Arngask (Glenfarg), consists of the Minister and Session Clerk of each congregation. 

28 October - Steering Group Meeting.


September 2023

The Kirk Sessions of Kinross and Orwell & Portmoak have agreed that talks be progressed with the aim of uniting by 31 December 2024.

June 2023

A joint Kirk Session Conference of the Kinross-shire Parish Grouping was held on Wednesday 14 June in Orwell Church. It was a stimulating discussion about how we set our priorities for working together in the years ahead. We were very deliberately talking not about how to reorganise church structures but about how we build relationships across the community and be available to God in growing the Kingdom. In that context we spoke about how we can exhibit humility, generosity, courage and authenticity in our life as disciples of Jesus. If we are not simply to continue to accept the decline that has characterised the church over the last half century the more we need to begin by looking to see where God is already at work without us in the wider community and listening for what God is saying to us through that. It was a small but significant journey in our shared life as local churches, but it will require every single one of us to be listening and sharing what we hear in the coming months and years and being prepared to go where the Holy Spirit may lead us.

May 2023

The new Presbytery of Perth met and approved the amended Mission Plans for the old presbyteries of Perth, Dunkeld & Meigle. These will now go back to the Church of Scotland for approval. In Kinross-shire, the amended plan clarifies the route towards the end-point of a single Kinross-shire Parish with a team of two full-time equivalent ministers. This proposes an interim stage of Kinross uniting with Orwell & Portmoak and Arngask, and Cleish uniting with Fossoway. Our Session Clerk, Jaffrey Weir spoke on our behalf. He drew attention not only to our specific concern at the burden on a Kinross minister during the interim stage but of the more general impact on ministers of the proposed changed throughout the Presbytery. He also raised the need for congregations to be able to use funds from property sales more easily for mission and support purposes rather than being restricted to fabric and building improvements. Both these points struck a chord with others.

April 2023

Joint Easter Sunday Service at the Loch


1 January 2023

Inaugural Kinross-shire Parish Grouping New Year Service hosted in Orwell Church


November 2022

Each of the four congregations voted unanimously in favour of the proposal


September 2022

Joint conference of the Kirk Sessions of Cleish, Fossoway, Kinross, Orwell & Portmoak met to discuss the 11-point proposal forming the Kinross-shire Parish Grouping. All four Kirk Sessions unanimously voted for the proposal.