Archibald, minister of the Kings Presbyterian Church in New Minas, has embarked on a month-long pulpit exchange with Reverend Fiona Smith of the Ness Bank Church of Scotland in Inverness. The idea for the exchange began several years ago when Archibald’s cousin, who had a connection in Scotland and put the two ministers in touch with each other.
In 2002, Smith says the previous minister of Ness Bank church went on an exchange to Nova Scotia and loved it.
“The congregation at Ness Bank had already experienced an exchange like this one even though we had not,” said Smith.
Smith and Archibald said they chatted via email and everything just clicked.
“There were a few obstacles in our paths and things to sort out but it soon became clear that this was meant to be and everything fell into place,” said Smith.
Archibald says while in Scotland, he is required to lead Sunday worship each week and provide emergency pastoral care.
“One of the privileges has been dropping in on groups,” says Archibald, “to get to know people and the ministry they have. Our ministry contexts are very different, which increases the amount of possible learning.”
Smith says she is looking forward to getting to know the folk at the Kings Presbyterian Church and to see how they worship and work together.
“To have the privilege of being with folk in their community for a month will be fantastic as we will learn about this area, how folk live, what matters to them and find out all the things which are different as well as similar to home,” says Smith. “We will learn from them.
Besides working with the churches, the two ministers are looking forward to travelling around their new homes, exploring with their families. Smith is here with her husband Andrew and her two daughters Katie, 14, and Liza, 12. They are looking forward to exploring the beauty of Nova Scotia, she says.
Archibald says he is also enjoying what it means for their family. He is there with his whole family including his wife, Joyce and children Noah, 18, David, 16, and Laura, 14.
“Having the gift of this time together, before our oldest heads off to university and to get to explore a country of Europe that is new to us, this is an education in itself,” he says.
Archibald says he hopes that some of their learning will be able to find application in their work and studies back home.
“I'm sure we will also make some lasting friendships,” he says. “I've very much enjoyed connecting with Fiona; as a ministry colleague, she is a kindred spirit.”