The Local Church
On Pentecost 2002, Augustine United Church (United Reformed Church), Greyfriars Kirk (Church of Scotland) and St Columba’s by the Castle (Scottish Episcopal Church) signed a local ecumenical covenant committing to work together in the name of Christ. Our three churches have received recognition from the Scottish Churches National Sponsoring Body as a Local Ecumenical Partnership.
TLC, as the partnership is known, comes from many years of engaging with St Columba’s by the Castle on peace and justice issues, and with Greyfriars on local social concerns. Together we are exploring how to develop our role in the centre of the Old Town particularly with respect to the homeless and underprivileged. The LEP is organised through a steering committee comprising Ministers/Rector and two congregational representatives from each Church.
We share four united services a year. Three services rotate through the partnership and the fourth is an annual pilgrimage. Recent sites have been Lindisfarne, Inchcolm and Inchmaholm. The liturgy of the host congregation is normally followed, with communion led by all clergy and happily shared with and by all. It is agreed in the constitution that all Ministers of the Local Ecumenical Partnership are licensed to conduct communion services (the Bishop of Edinburgh licenses the Ministers of AUC and Greyfriars to conduct communion at St Columba’s by the Castle).
We share many social events including the programme for Holy Week services, Lent Bible studies, and individual Church initiatives. The LEP has upheld a high degree of mutual Ministerial support.
Within AUC we have some organisations which have office space, including Christian Aid and Jubilee Scotland.
Christian Aid is a Christian organisation that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. They work globally for profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality. Providing urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great, tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes, Christian Aid is part of a wider movement for social justice.
Jubilee Scotland is a small part of the international Jubilee movement that campaigns against the debts that bind the poorest of the world into a modern form of slavery – it continues the work of the Jubilee 2000 coalition in Scotland.
Paradise Green – Festival Fringe
During August each year Paradise Green Promotions transforms AUC into a suite of thriving theatre venues, packed full of many excellent performances as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. Paradise Green is a ‘not for profit’ organisation with a core team made up of volunteers united by a shared love of theatre and the performing arts. This results in Augustine and The Vault providing two of the most welcoming and professional venues at the festivals. By working together to support both the companies and the audiences Paradise Green ensures everyone can relax and have a great time at the heart of the festival.
For further information visit www.paradise-green.co.uk
Organisations which meet regularly in AUC include
- Edinburgh Mental Health Chaplaincy Drop In
- Edinburgh Royal Choral Union
- The National Trust for Scotland Edinburgh Members’ Centre
- The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
- The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh
- The Old Edinburgh Club
- Acting Out UK
- Edinburgh Trade Union Council
- Scottish Genealogy Society
- Holyrood Art Club
- Costume Society of Scotland
- Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace
- Egyptology Scotland
- Radical Independence Campaign
- The NHS Retirement Fellowship,
- Mad Jam Open Mic
- Comunn Tir nam Beann