We have a team of six outreach workers who work all across Edinburgh: Sarah J (Team Leader), Charity, Natalia, Miles and Andy, and our volunteer support worker, Sarah K. We call our outreach team "Mission Strengtheners" because each of them works with local churches, strengthening their community engagement activities and mission work, particularly churches who are supporting people from Edinburgh's most deprived communities.
"Strengthen" is a powerful word!
“To strengthen…” means to build up, make healthy, support, nourish, reinforce, fortify.
Mission Strengtheners practically support mission in local churches, including our church-based Basics Banks, loving and befriending people who are referred to the Basics Banks by welcoming them, offering one-to-one meetings and running support groups.
Everyone in the Edinburgh City Mission team is a Christian. Together with our partner churches, we believe in: following Jesus' example of love and forgiveness; showing care and concern for those who are experiencing hardship, severe difficulties, debt, violence, abuse, addictions, physical or mental illness, injustice or prejudice; His sacrificial death on the cross to pay for our sins; His resurrection from the dead, giving us hope beyond the grave; the promise of a new, better life through faith in Him; and His desire to be in a loving, secure and faithful relationship with everyone who seeks Him. This is our heartbeat: Jesus.
Our heart is to be led by the Holy Spirit, to be Jesus’ hands and feet in our city.
Rev Mike Marsden: "I’m pleased to share a brief word with you about a very significant ministry which the congregation of Wilson Memorial have wholeheartedly embraced. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is probably as close as we are going to get to fulfilling Jesus’ challenge to feed the hungry, to quench the thirsty, to welcome the stranger…(Matthew 25).
We work in close partnership with the Edinburgh City Mission, who provide a missionary each week. The Basics Bank is set up as a cafe, with tea/coffee provided, and lots of opportunities to chat. Lasting friendships have been established. In fact, two of our volunteers were once clients.
Our volunteers are members of our congregation, members of neighbouring churches, as well as folks from the community. Donations come from churches, individuals, schools and doctors surgeries in the local community.
I have been both humbled and challenged by this ministry. The most humbling experience was when we invited the clients to join us for our Christmas Party. I was so proud of Wilson Memorial - the way it embraced folks…we were just one family. I was challenged at a recent Basics Bank when a young guy told me that sometimes when he goes to his kitchen cupboards after he has been here he has to pinch himself. He had become so used to seeing empty cupboards he thought he was in the wrong flat! To anyone reading this it is not rocket science, and it is not difficult. It didn’t need a special initiative or a new project to get it going. It just needed people willing to take Jesus’ call seriously."
Louise is one of our volunteerts who learned about one of our projects during a service in her church. It took a while for her to respond to the call for volunteers, but when she was reflecting and praying about her work life/balance she sent us an email in which she wrote about why she wanted to help at her local Basics Bank. “I feel it's a really active contribution to people in need in our own community (and) something I had always wanted to do, but never had the time before.”
So Louise volunteered over the summer and was such a blessing to the team and to the people who arrived in need at our Basics Bank. Louise was struck by the amount of people her age who were in crisis and needing food support. Her socially aware generation are also suffering the effects of some dramatic changes in the world and have to face zero hour contracts and food banks in amongst it all.
Louise had initially helped over the summer but later in the year she remembered her initial idea; “To be able to balance paid work with service to God” This is the amazing mentality of ‘millenials’ who are seeing things differently and have a fresh ability to be bold in their actions in faith.
Edinburgh City Mission enjoys the mix of generations in our team and we appreciate the time given in amongst work, in retirement, or in between jobs and study. Louise has now been helping at her local Basics Bank for a year and we love the way she has incorporate this service into her work life balance.
Previously London City Mission’s Director of Ministries, Duncan Cuthill has taken up the role as CEO of Edinburgh City Mission. Commenting on his new role, Duncan said: “I am very excited to be returning to my home city to lead the work of Edinburgh City Mission and to develop more partnerships with local churches. It feels as though God has been preparing me for this role through many experiences since I left Edinburgh in 1997 - 20 years ago!
Duncan has been busy meeting church leaders and sharing our vision for the mission moving forward. There are big plans and you can invite him to speak at your church or in a group via our "I want to help by..." form .
We also have a poem by our CEO to encourage Gap Year applicants.
This City (a poem about Edinburgh)
This city celebrates lives and life.
Inventors and authors who once made their mark.
The locals, the actors and you, my friend.
Look at it.
You can't help yourself, can you?
You can't stop looking at it, at this city.
It dazzles with grandeur.
In the rain.
This city delights with its 'pipes and Turkish barbers.
You didn't expect that (when you tried to imagine how it would look one day).
This city of ours.
You're welcome - aye, that's it.
You're received with ease, with grace.
As you walk its streets you bring life to this city.
This city is in continual crisis. Not everywhere, of course.
But much of it.
More of it than you know.
More of it than you can handle, I dare say.
More of it than you'd care to handle? Or dare to?
It's confusing/ if you look.
This city needs you.
You can find out more about our Gap Year if you scroll down this page.
The City Mission in Edinburgh was established in 1832 by David Nasmith, 6 years after he founded the first City Mission in Glasgow.
Edinburgh City Mission looks very different today than it did in 1832, but the ethos of David Nasmith is with us today.
Our Vision is:
“To see people in Edinburgh’s most deprived communities experiencing God’s love
and hearing the amazing gospel.”
We shape our Gap Year programme to fit you! We are very flexible so a Gap Year with us doesn't have to be for a full year; we are happy to have people volunteer with us for 3 - 12 months. If you are interested in exploring this, please contact us via email. We are also looking for hosts to accommodate our Gap Year volunteers. Edinburgh families and young professionals are invited to provide a room and meals for a volunteer for 3 - 12 months. Please email if you are interested.
Looking to be involved in a practical way? We are currently seeking a volunteer to help with some admin tasks for 6-8 hours per week. Also, we need more volunteers at our Growing Projects where we grow food and lanscape and engage with people who have been socially isolated. Our Womens Mission need crafty volunteers who can design and run creative activities on Wednesdays. To learn more about volunteer opportunities take a look at our 'Volunteer' page. If you think you can help, please fill in our volunteer application form.Volunteer Application