Our Kirk Session supports the Minister in meeting the pastoral needs of all members of the
congregation and our wider Parish. This is our response to the Gospel grounded in our call to love our neighbour. It is offering God’s love in action and concern for the well being of individuals within our community, whether in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age or maturity.
Members needing pastoral help can contact their elder in the first instance, who will advise the minister as appropriate. Otherwise, see the Contact page for information.
Supporting the Bereaved
Through its parish system and territorial ministry, the Church of Scotland seeks to serve all the people of Scotland and not just the membership of the Church. Anyone in our parish who is dealing with the death of a loved one, who is in the situation of bereavement should not hesitate to seek the services of the parish minister, either directly or through the Funeral Director.
Chalmers Church has recognised that some people can benefit from bereavement support during the difficult months after a death, and are pleased to be able to offer this through our 'Stepping Stones' programme, which is described below...
Stepping Stones Bereavement Programmes
Support for bereaved people in our community is integral to the understanding Chalmers Church has of its pastoral support for local people. Eight members of the congregation have been trained and supported in understanding and responding to bereavement issues, and now offer support through the “Stepping Stones Bereavement Programmes”.
Bereavement is a journey to be travelled and not an illness to be cured or a problem to be solved. Bereaved people need the companionship on that journey of those who understand loss and grief, and who can give reassurance and support as specific issues are faced. Experience shows there is more that is normal in loss than otherwise. But we also know it’s hard for people to be reassured of that in the isolation of their grief.
Stepping Stones Bereavement Programmes have been running for three years now as part of the life of Chalmers Church, and they are offered in the form of six-week programmes in the Spring and Autumn of each year. These run in the Port Seton Community Centre, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Each programme is facilitated Tom Gordon and four members of the bereavement support team. Tom is an experienced practitioner in this field and a former chaplain at the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh.
Bereavement support is offered to anyone who feels they need it, and so our “Stepping Stones” programmes are open to all who are living with loss. There is no right time to come to “Stepping Stones” but our experience is that our programmes are best suited to those in their first year of loss. However, are happy to welcome anyone who comes. Those attending have come from the communities of Port Seton, Cockenzie, Prestonpans. Tranent, Longniddry and further afield. We also take referrals from local GPs and other professionals and caring agencies. Attendance at a programme often leads to on-going support, involvement with church and community activities and continued contact with members of the bereavement support team and others. “Stepping Stones” isn’t able to offer one-to-one counselling, but information is made available regarding wider support should this be required. There is no charge for participation.
Publicity We have a supply of leaflets giving information about “Stepping Stones” along with contact details and information about forthcoming programmes. These are made available throughout the community and in the church. Small publicity posters appear from time to time, and information is also passed on to other local churches and agencies. Periodically, publicity is made available through The Courier
What people have said about “Stepping Stones”:
- Thank you for your openness and welcome.
- I’ve not been able to talk about how I feel, but it was good to be with people who listened and didn’t judge.
- Sharing with people on the same journey together.
- Invaluable insights on medical, social and emotional issues.
- How good it is to have this support in a local community.
- I’m still bereaved, but I know I’m not alone anymore.
- It’s good to know I can come back to another programme later on and still be accepted.
- Thank you for allowing me to be me.
Bereavement Support Programme
runs twice a year
Mondays at 2pm & Wednesdays at 7pm.
in the Port Seton Community Centre
and lasts for six weeks.
Further information is available from
or by phone at 07724 916 700
or from Tom Gordon
You can also find out more by clicking here:
The bereavement support team in Chalmers are delighted to offer a further Stepping Stones programme this spring for thebenefit of the Chalmers congregation and the wider local community. Details can be found below.
The Stepping Stones programmes are open to all who are living with loss, not necessarily recent, and who feel they need support, encouragement and reassurance. Feedback from participants in recent programmes has been positive and encouraging.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was so helpful to share with others in the same boat as me.”
“The people at Stepping Stones listened. And that was so important.”
“Thank you for being there when people had stopped asking me how I was.”
“We shared tears and we laughed together. Isn’t that great?”
Several other congregations in Scotland have taken up Chalmers’ Stepping Stones model of bereavement support. So it’s good to know that our work in Chalmers is making a difference – locally and further afield. Tom Gordon has recently shared information about Stepping Stones as a “Good News” story at the Presbytery.
If you need more information, please talk – in confidence – to Tom Gordon at any time, or make contract by email or phone using the information here: