After waiting nine years for a new minister worshippers on a Scottish island are to be blessed with a truly 21st-century replacement. The Rev Fiona Lillie left a vacancy on the island of Hoy, in Orkney, when she was called away to serve another parish — but now churchgoers will have a virtual minister, beamed into the kirk every Sunday, sermon and all. The bold scheme will be ratified by the Ministries Council at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland this month and a pilot project will soon unite the congregation of Hoy with others on the islands of Flotta, Shapinsay and Rousay. None of the four islands in the virtual ministry attracts a congregation of more than 20 and at present services are usually led by local volunteers, or by a “pulpit supply” of peripatetic preachers.
The new scheme envisages a fully interactive service each week built around a £100,000, two-way, video conferencing system and its supporters say it will perform a key role for the Church, delivering the Word of God to the whole of the country, just as John Knox would have wanted.
“The Church wants to serve the whole of Scotland. This will get services to people on outlying islands on a Sunday, which is something the Church must do. We will be able to deliver worship properly and locally,” the Rev Dr Martin Scott, secretary of the Ministries Council, said.
I can’t wait to see how they will share the peace and if the local church fete will operate via e-bay instead of on the church lawn in the driving rain!
For the full story see Times online http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6269590.ece