Cairns Sign
Some 15 years ago a process commenced at Cairns, a process which is still ongoing. This process, some might now call it a journey, centres upon living the Christian faith now in our daily life, ever-searching, ever-enquiring. The end of the journey is perhaps subsidiary to the journey itself: questions do not necessarily require definitive answers.
In an era where there is a high degree of scepticism about the supernatural, and both testaments of the Bible are full of this, the real danger is that the 'baby is thrown out with the bath water', in other words, that the essence of the message is lost among the unbelievable, and is thus disregarded. This is evident today in our society where only a small percentage of the population continues to worship in church Sunday by Sunday.
The Dove Project, Cairns' own journey, addressed a latent thirst which existed within the congregation for a contemporary approach to Christianity - a broad approach which we might call non-literalist. Our Sunday gatherings under the guidance of Rev. Andrew Frater, are supported by various book and discussion groups, 'Living The Questions' and the Thinking Allowed lecture series featuring many renowned speakers.
An e-magazine is also published called "Thinking Allowed online". Although much appreciated by our congregation, the e-magazine is primarily targeted at a wider audience, previous editions having achieved many thousands of hits from places worldwide. The e-magazine contains articles, interviews and information which gives a real flavour of where Cairns is in its journey.
While not necessarily becoming members of Cairns, many people who are attracted by all these different aspects are often members of other congregations or other denominations or none.
Our Mission
At the beginning of our journey we decided it was important to establish a concise statement of our mission, and today, this still quite clearly summarises the Cairns' approach.
Welcome to Cairns
We in Cairns, recognise an important distinction between religious needs and spiritual needs.
We believe that everyone has spiritual needs - searchings, longings, questions about what it is to be human and what life is about - but that not everyone seeks to answer these in a religious way, or by belonging to a church.
However they are expressed, we consider these deep spiritual needs to be valid and important in their own right, and we believe it is our role as a community-committed church, to help people to voice their questions about life and its meaning and to seek answers to them whether these answers take a 'religious' form or not.
If their search leads people into the congregation, they will find a welcome, but our concern for them and our openness to them is unconditional.
Perhaps some words of Rev. Owain Jones, paraphrased as follows, might add to the above.
The Church will not be true to the meaning of Jesus, as witnessed by the broad Christian tradition, unless it is capable of being a place of total acceptance: loving, yet challenging; honest, and totally open to everything we are as human beings.
Extensive modifications to the Cairns buildings have supported and promoted the physical, emotional and spiritual development of the church:
A 7-day-a-week adventure which is reflected in a 7-day-a-week church alive, spiritual, bright and welcoming, reaching out to serve the needs of the congregation and the community.
The entrance in Buchanan Street does not differentiate between spiritual or community activities;
It is the milling space at the centre of the complex which provides the pivot between the quiet reflective character of the sanctuary, and the buzz of activity which emanates from the rest of the building.
Our Sanctuary
Cairns is first a place of spiritual care and development. Its approach respects the various points that people have reached on the journey of faith.
This is focused principally on our Sunday services held in the sanctuary where an atmospheric space has been created by the rich coloured carpet, comfortable seating and variable sound and lighting.
Our new seating arrangements allow us to see each other face to face and to be more conscious of what is going on in each other's lives.
Our Communion services 'in the round' are more reminiscent of the family meal which Christ shared with his disciples as opposed to the hierarchical three decks of High Priests, fellow Priests and Laity which is the more common layout of churches built in the last 3 centuries.
Evening 'Reflections' have been held in the Sanctuary during the seasons of Advent and Holy Week.
On these occasions, the imaginative use of words, music, candlelight combined with time for quiet reflection have proved very helpful to those who have come not just from our own congregation but from other churches or no church.
We continue to seek out fresh ways of showing how the Christian message is alive today.
The Story of Cairns Church
The story begins in 1787 when some stalwart members of New Kilpatrick Parish Church in Bearsden (then known as Newkirk) decided to break away from the Established Church because of dissatisfaction with the system of patronage - a dissatisfaction that came to a head when the patron, the Duke of Montrose, pushed through a very unpopular ministerial appointment... Read More