Each year Edinburgh Theological Seminary (ETS) students take part in a 6-week summer placement as part of their training for future full-time ministry within the Free Church of Scotland. As one of those students, Calum Cameron travelled to Carloway Free Church on the idyllic Isle of Lewis, here he shares some of his thoughts about the time he spent there.
"It was an intense placement. I was given the opportunity to lead all of the evening services, three-morning services and three prayer meetings, so several weeks involved preparing three full-length sermons - which was terrifying at first, but it is the reality many ministers experience every week, so it was really useful to experience that.
Whilst being mentored by Rev. Tomas Davis I experienced a broad range of pastoral activities, such as: visiting people in different contexts within the church and the community, speaking to children in a local primary school, attending meetings of presbytery, kirk session and deacon’s court, speaking to the youth fellowship, writing an article for the local community newsletter, a funeral as well as hospital visits.
It’s impossible to identify a particular highlight - I loved every second of it. It was fantastic to spend six weeks with such a warm and enthusiastic bunch of people who did an impressive job of putting up with my broken Gaelic! Perhaps the most useful thing I learned was the importance of disciplined time management in ministry, particularly during a crazily busy week - balancing time spent preparing for Sundays with pastoral care, meetings, community engagement etc. is a relentless challenge.
The six weeks in Lewis also provided me with valuable experience in a rural context in contrast with my own urban setting in the centre of Edinburgh, where I work with St Columba’s Free Church. One of the great things about the Free Church is that we all believe the same gospel, we worship the same God, we share the same biblical convictions, but we have a range of different cultural and geographical contexts.
The placement also served as a powerful reminder to me of two things I pray that I will never lose sight of as I continue my training: I am completely and utterly dependent on God’s grace every single day, and whatever the future may hold, it is an incredible and joyful privilege to serve Him with the new life He has given me."
Main Image: Rev. Thomas Davis (L), Calum Cameron (R)