Allan McCafferty

On my nightstand you will find a bedside light, a telephone, a glass of water and a copy of Leonard and Hungry Paul (it’s well observed, and the writing is making me laugh out loud).

A podcast I am listening to is ‘The News Agents’.  Usually something from the day’s news taken and reflected upon in the inimitable style of the three presenters. Sometimes I’ll listen to a series for a while and then move on to something different.  I quite enjoyed The Rest is Politics or The Rest is History but I see there are others from the same stable – Football, Money, Entertainment.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is Re-Pitching the Tent : reordering the church building for worship and mission by Richard Giles.  A book that challenged me and broadened my understanding.  It helped inform my thinking both for parish ministry and for when I served on the Church Art and Architecture Committee.

A TV show I binge watch is Shetland – I’ve just started watching it. Strong storylines and atmospheric scenery.

I don’t do social media but periodically look at Kirkwall Bowling Club on the web to keep me up to date with the news from my former club.

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ almost anything with a lively beat.  If that’s what’s needed, I’m likely to shift from Radio 4 to either Scala Radio or Radio Tay and that usually works.

One thing I have learned about myself during the past couple of weeks is I’m more of a hoarder than I realised.  Leaving the manse is turning out to be a bigger downsizing task than I expected!

Martin Fair

Role – Pathways to Ministry Manager

What that actually looks like –Working with a great team to support more people to enquire, explore and evaluate God’s calling to the particular ministry best suited to them – and to offer support from the start to the finish of the formation process and into the early years of ministry

What’s doing me good:

On my nightstand –  you will find ‘To the Ends of the Earth – Scotland’s Global Diaspora’ by Tom Devine. I am continually amazed at how much I still have to learn about my own country and its people!

A podcast I listen to – Kermode & Mayo’s Take’. As someone who is at the cinema every week, this is where I get my film reviews, interviews with actors and directors and in-depth analysis.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) –The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell. When I was about fifteen, my aunt gifted me a copy – it was a life-changing read that opened my eyes to justice issues and gave me a life-long commitment to making a difference.

A TV show I binge watch – most recently, we binged ‘Blue Lights’, an excellent police drama set in Belfast.

I followPiers Morgan on Twitter on the basis that it’s important to listen to those you hold different views from your own!

Music that lifts my mood – I’ve been a fanatical music fan since my mid-teens and am presently listening to the Scottish Band, Tide Lines.

One thing I’ve learned about myself since starting this job –  is that I’ve got so much to learn! And yet I believe I’ve been called to it so am confident that God who calls will also equip.

Eleanor McMahon

Role – Recruitment and Training Manager

What that actually looks like – Overseeing and reviewing our vocation process for our future ministers, deacons and readers, while serving as Training Officer for our Probationers.

What’s doing me good:

On my nightstand – you will find very little! Anything that distracts from the task of sleeping is kept firmly out of sight!

A podcast I am listening toThis is Not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan. Abi is an award-winning scriptwriter whose husband’s illness changed their lives forever. She speaks of how they and their teenage children adjust, while she herself receives treatment for cancer. Sounds gruesome, but inspiring in its honesty and hope.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible)BIFF (Quick Responses to High-Conflict People) by Bill Eddy. Brief, informative, friendly and firm.

A TV show I binge watchOnce Upon a Time in Northern Ireland. Ordinary folk telling stories of how they are coming to terms with their own actions within the Troubles.

I followS*** Facilitators Say on Twitter because it takes the rise out of those of us who held forth before a roomful of people.  I recognise myself a little too often!

Music that lifts my moodElaine Paige On Sunday on Radio 2. It’s passed many an hour on a long drive home.

One thing I have learned about myself since beginning this job – is that I know a lot of little things about a good many things, but grateful for those who know a lot more in specific areas. We need all to work together to allow everyone to give of their best selves.

Dugald Cameron

On my nightstand you will find … I have just started reading Norman Bissell’s novel of George Orwell’s time on Jura. It is a blend of fact and fiction. Also re-reading, after several decades, The Gleam in the North which is romanticised load of mince about the Jacobite period; but I loved the trilogy as a child.

A podcast I am listening to is … BBC Sounds The Invention of … and you get a story of how a nation came into being. Also, the wonderful Out of Doors, exploring Scotland’s rural nature and culture.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is … as a teenager – All Quiet on the Western Front / Sunset Song – both of which tear apart the patriotic spin of war. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson who won the Pulizter Prize for it; the book is full of God’s grace and Reformed theology.

A TV show I binge watch is … Brooklyn Nine Nine, such a truly funny show and any Scandi noir that comes close to The Bridge.

I follow Schwaebischealbtourismus on Instagram because I love that part of Germany, and Hearts on Facebook as I am ever hopeful.

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­… JS Bach cantatas, and the Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis.

One thing I have learned about myself during the last while is… to truly value my wife and daughters, and the stunning beauty of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and its flora and fauna.

Ellen Griffiths Weir

On my nightstand you will find …  A plant, my kindle and some other books, my water bottle, daily vitamins, lavender pillow spray… plus Beechams all-in-one, Vicks, and a big box of tissues! (Thankfully it’s just a cold!)

A podcast I am listening to is … Learning How to See with Brian McLaren

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is … BBC Good Food’s “101…” recipe books. They were the first recipe books I had when I left home and gave me a fantastic starting point for learning how to cook, which I now love.

A TV show I binge watch … is anything that my husband and I can agree that we’ll enjoy watching together! Currently, The Rookie.

I follow Taizé on Facebook and Instagram because their live prayers online totally saved me when they started during lockdown and continue to be a huge source of life for me.

Music that lifts my mood is… my “Happy” playlist on Spotify – a growing collection of the uplifting, energising music I come across and a helpful go-to when I need a mood-boost!

One thing I have learned about myself during the past couple of weeks is… I have a greater capacity for joy than I might have previously realised and am very much enjoying exploring that with God.

Paul Cathcart

On my nightstand you will find …  an alarm clock and a box of hankies (boring but practical!)

A podcast I am listening to is … ‘Sacked in the morning’ on BBC Sounds – reflecting on the fragility of football management.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is … ‘The Great Emergence’ by Phyllis Tickle

A TV show I binge watch …Have I Got News for You

I follow ‘Croatia Travel’ on Facebook because I’m going there on holiday in September

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­…Runrig

One thing I have learned about myself during the past couple of weeks is…I am less tolerant than I used to be, so going for a walk before answering emails means I have less regrets!

Hanneke Marshall

On my nightstand you will find …    I’m currently reading and nearing the end of Lynda la Plante’s ‘Wrongful Death’.

A podcast I am listening to is …    I tend to catch up on the Radio 4 News Quiz whilst tidying the house.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is …   Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright helped me piece a lot of theological thoughts and spiritual intuitions together.

A TV show I binge watch …   During the winter lockdown it was Line of Duty. I’m a big fan of the Great British Sewing Bee, but it’s sadly now finished again.

I only follow friends and colleagues on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t like Twitter and don’t need reasons to get more worked up over stuff! I do read the BBC News website along with three other papers online.

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­…   I don’t have ‘go to’ music for mood lifting, but if I’m very stressed or busy in my head, I like to put on Einaudi piano music. I find it soothing and calming.

One thing I have learned about myself during the past couple of weeks is…   I am starting to feel more energised and normal again after a post Easter (and pandemic!) slump. I think I’m a’ good enough’ mum who has been able to encourage and let go during the assessment period for Nat5.

Jo Love

On my nightstand you will find …

A mugful of pens, my journal, and Robin Jenkins’ “The Changeling”.

A podcast I am listening to is

Pádraig Ó Tuama “Poetry Unbound”.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is

Oh so many books change my life little by little, maybe some more dramatically feel that way at time of first reading, but here are two very significant ones for me in recent reading: Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic: creative living beyond fear”, a stunning and unconventional take on the creative process; and Frank Ostaseski’s “The Five Invitations: discovering what death can teach us about living fully”, a deeply helpful companion in a time of grieving.

A TV show I binge watch

Truly, none. I don’t have a tv and seldom do much tv viewing on laptop. Nearest thing to binges would be TED Talks.

I follow — on—

I follow nobody on anything because I am joyfully holding out on my Instagram-free, Twitter-free, app-free existence. And I have the delight of an art room in my home…

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Tracy Chapman.

One thing I have learned about myself over the last few weeks is

With much more virtual activity on the go, I need all the more to keep my bodysoul alive with a deliberate focus on physicality – rain, mud, muscle exertion, hands-on art, breathing…

David Clarkson

On my nightstand you will find …

A watch charger, a phone charger and an alarm clock.

A podcast I am listening to is

I haven’t got into podcasts yet but it’s on my to do list.

A book that has changed my life (other than the Bible) is

Whatever I’m reading at the time! Currently working through ‘Growing Young’ (Griffen, Mulder and Powell) because we’re working through the process and learning how to encourage, involve and empower young people in the congregation.

A TV show I binge watch

Long way up, the Blacklist, Bosch.

I follow — on—

I follow “the Far Side” on Facebook because I love the slightly weird, sometimes dark, humour.

Music that lifts my mood is­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Modern worship music, Dire Straits, Queen or Rend Collective.

One thing I have learned about myself over the last few weeks is

That I love to trim and pull out branches of overgrown bushes in the garden – it’s much more satisfying than weeding!   So far I’ve found quarter of a patio, 5 footballs, 13 tennis balls and a golf club.

What's Doing YOU Good?

To sustain in any kind of ministry role, we need to take care of ourselves. We love hearing how people are doing just that in ‘What’s Doing You Good?’

We’re keen to hear from all kinds of people in all kinds of roles. If you have something encouraging and helpful to share, download and fill in the form below, add your favourite head and shoulders image of yourself (JPEG format), and email it to the Ascend team: ascend@churchofscotland.org.uk

We’d love to hear from you, whether you’re a minister, reader, MDS staff, deacon…the list goes on!

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