Priority Areas Worship Development Worker

Shirley Billes gives an insight into her role as Priority Areas Development Worker.

I love my job! I am employed as the ‘Priority Areas Worship Development worker’ for the Church of Scotland. My work with the ‘Priority Areas’ Team has evolved over the last five years. Working in 19 parishes and 9 regions around Scotland, I have met many folks of all ages who are in some way connected to their local church. It is my pleasure to support and engage with: parent and toddler morning groups and also with families involved in activity/worship evenings; primary and secondary children/teenagers, their chaplains and their teachers in mainstream schools and in schools specially for young people with physical and learning disabilities; children’s groups, women’s groups and worship groups who meet in church and in members’ homes.

As well as discussion around biblical texts, I have found that the ‘Enneagram’, relaxation techniques and breath work, prayerful meditation and massage and arts and crafts have all been useful tools in this work.

Resourcing this work has involved me in writing material for use in worship and in schools. I am also one of a team of writers contributing to ‘Spill the Beans’, a worship material resource for ministers and other church workers.

Other areas of work which I am involved in are: facilitating worship during our annual; residential consultation; organising and facilitating an annual ‘Celebration of Praise’ service in a different church each year; planning an annual ‘Poverty and Homelessness’ Service – this year we worked in partnership with ‘The Lodging House Mission’ in Glasgow and organising various meetings/ events which explore the whole idea of worship more in depth with different groups and congregations.

I am sometimes asked to assist in preparation for specific services which groups wish to work towards.

Another aspect of this work is training which can be for people working/worshipping with folks with learning disabilities or for people wishing support in setting up a group or programme for working with young people of various ages and stages.

Journeying with worshipping communities through times of change has also been part of my role as a development worker and facilitator.

Working with folks from the Mission and Discipleship Council is an aspect of my work which I am presently developing – meeting individuals to explore possible future events, opportunities to work together and sharing experience and ideas around worship development.

Presently I am writing some new material called ‘Project 7’ which I hope to launch in September this year involving seven churches so watch this space!

Shirley Billes is the Priority Areas Worship Development Worker based in Glasgow.