The Principal of the Scottish School of Christian Mission is moving on …

The Principal of the Scottish School of Christian Mission is moving on …


Richard Tiplady is leaving SSCM to explore new ministry opportunities. The SSCM Board is grateful to Richard for all he has done in his role as Principal of International Christian College and Scottish School of Christian Mission over the past 7 years and wish him well for the future.

One of Richard’s legacies is the excellent team he has built up and the work of SSCM will progress next session led by Dr Brodie McGregor while a replacement for Richard is sought. The Board is excited about the future of SSCM and looks forward to welcoming our returning students in September, plus a new intake of BA(Hons) in Theology (Youth and Community) students, as well as those starting on the Urban Mission and Transforming Leadership pathways of the MA in Theology programme.

Richard will continue to pursue his doctoral research into the development of entrepreneurial leadership in the Scottish church. His connection with SSCM (and our partner, the Nazarene Theological College) will also continue as visiting lecturer for the MA in Theology (Transforming Leadership), teaching and supervising students on this pathway.

Job vacancy – librarian

Job vacancy – librarian

Library NEWS

Following the move of our current librarian, Sylwia Grabowska-Szumska, to a new full-time librarian’s post, we are seeking to appoint a part-time librarian to manage the operations and development of the Grogan Library.

The Grogan Library is a specialist theological library that is located within the Scottish School of Christian Mission. It has particular strengths in youth and community work, urban mission, leadership and mission in the Western world. Other subjects include biblical studies, doctrine, church history, mission studies, practical theology, world religions, social studies, and children’s ministry. It supports teaching and learning within the college by staff and students, and has a growing membership scheme for external users.

Download the job profile for the post, which includes a job description, person specification, salary details and other terms and conditions for the post.

Application information

Applications should be sent by email to the School’s Business Manager, Andrew Dunipace. Applications must be made by CV, with a covering letter of no more than two A4 pages showing how you meet the criteria set out in the person specification. All documents must be in Word or pdf format.

Any questions about the post should be directed to Andrew, by email or on 0141 552 4040 during the hours of 9am – 4pm, Monday to Friday.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 9am on Monday 21st August 2017.

Interviews will be held at the School’s offices in Parkhead, Glasgow, on Thursday 31st August 2017.

Graduate dissertations and theses now available online

Graduate dissertations and theses now available online

Library NEWS

The Grogan Library aims to be a key specialist theological resource here in Scotland, but also serving the world. We have now added to our online offer, providing full-text access to dissertations and theses written by graduates of all the former colleges of SSCM.

This includes BA(Hons), MA, PhD, and Cambridge Diploma theses and dissertations produced by graduates of International Christian College, Glasgow Bible College, the Bible Training Institute, Northumbria Bible College, and Lebanon Missionary Bible College, going back as far as the 1970s. This excellent resource provides access to in-depth research in all aspects of theology and Christianity, with a focus on mission and local studies.

Here are some sample dissertations that are already available to read online:

  • Towards a Christian Understanding of the Concept of Suffering
  • Drug Abuse in Glasgow: A Christian Response. Towards an understanding of Glasgow’s drug culture and the development of a strategy to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in the city
  • Fighting for God? Islamic Fundamentalism and Violence: Origins, Implications and Possible Faith-Based Responses
  • Faith Without Deeds is Dead: how might the evangelical church best display the compassion of God as it lives and works in its local community?
  • Understanding and Helping the Self-Harmer: how can the Christian best understand self-harm and effectively help the self-harmer?
  • Maintenance and Mission:  Enabling Declining and Ageing Congregations to Care for Themselves and be Mission-Focused

All these papers have been scanned in pdf format and are available to be read online. They can be found through the Grogan Library catalogue. Full access is restricted to members of the Grogan Library.

Over 170 dissertations and theses are already available for viewing online, and over 400 will eventually be uploaded and made available to members.

Find out more about the Grogan Library Readership Scheme.

(Dis)abilities? Wellness, children and young people, and the church

(Dis)abilities? Wellness, children and young people, and the church


In April, SSCM held its first training day conference for children’s and youth workers. It focused on issues faced by children and young people with physical and mental health needs and disabilities.

The day gave insight into Scottish government policy, particularly GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) and how this applies to church activity, and considered how to offer a more welcoming, connected and inclusive church.

Educational psychologist Fiona Williams explored the wellbeing of young people in Scotland, focusing on external factors which contribute to their exclusion from society. Fiona then considered the psychological issues which face young people, discussing the importance of developing resilience. The church has clear opportunities to contribute to friendships, positive values, and other factors that improve the mental wellbeing of young people by taking an interest in their lives.

Later, we were led in worship by Matthew Goode, a blind teenager with cerebral palsy. With the help of his family, Matthew demonstrated multi-sensory worship in a truly unique way.

The day was very informative and encouraging for leaders who were looking to improve the accessibility and acceptance of young people and children with additional support needs.

Find out more about our courses for children’s and youth workers.

Experience the new Community Work taster course, in Perth in autumn 2017

Experience the new Community Work taster course, in Perth in autumn 2017


What is it?
An entire course on Community Capacity-Building that is being delivered as a taster unit.

Who is it for?
Ideal for anyone in a voluntary or employed role in church or community-based work, this HNC taster course allows you to learn with less travel.

What will it do?
It will guide and develop your practice in a variety of church and community-based settings.  It also counts as one of the 9 units of the HNC in Working with Communities.

How long does it take?
The taster course takes 7 weeks, on Tuesday evenings from the end of August to October 2017.

How much does it cost?
The cost for the taster unit is £225. There may be a small bursary available to cover part of the cost.

Where will it take place?
The course will take place at Perth North Church of Scotland, 209 High Street, Perth, PH1 5PB.

Contact Brodie McGregor to find out more.

Photo credit: Kenny Lam/Visit Scotland
Brodie McGregor appointed as Academic Dean

Brodie McGregor appointed as Academic Dean


We are pleased to announce that Brodie McGregor has been appointed as the new Academic Dean of Scottish School of Christian Mission. As the successor to Graeme McMeekin, Brodie will be responsible for the leadership, oversight and management of all the college’s courses in Scotland, whether the undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered through our collaboration with Nazarene Theological College or the SQA-accredited courses like the HNC Working with Communities.

Originally from the East End of Glasgow, where the college is now located, Brodie has a first-class BA(Hons) in Theology from International Christian College and an MTh and PhD from the University of Edinburgh. His PhD research in political theology gave consideration to the propriety of suffering as a category in political thought. A former quantity surveyor and youth pastor at Queens Park Baptist Church in Glasgow, Brodie also served as a visiting lecturer in theology at ICC. We are delighted that he is now able to join the college’s leadership team on a permanent basis, starting in early April.

Brodie commented, “I am delighted to be joining the team at SSCM as Academic Dean and am excited about the opportunity to shape the academic programmes of the school and to work with the students, lecturers and staff. I am looking forward to being part of a great team that will help train and equip people as they seek to serve God faithfully and be a blessing to the church and their communities”.

SSCM Principal Richard Tiplady added, “Brodie’s intelligence, acumen and commitment to creative theological education are a great addition to the leadership of the college. We look forward very much to the contribution he will make to the future shape of SSCM and its role in serving and equipping Christians to make the good news of Jesus Christ known in Scotland today”.

Judy White appointed as Director of Development

Judy White appointed as Director of Development


We are delighted to announce that Rev Judy White will take on the newly-created role of Director of Development.  In recent years Judy has been responsible for helping churches discern their mission at home and abroad for the Baptist Union of Scotland and BMS World Mission.  In her work for SSCM she will be using her extensive skills, experience and knowledge to engage with church leaders and help to foster the College’s partnerships across denominations.

Judy said, “Life is an adventure and at the moment we are in fairly turbulent times. We need each other, to listen, to share, and to act humbly as we face a changing world. I’m excited, as I think that SSCM offers an opportunity to wrestle together with what this means as we minister to a waiting world”.

Richard Tiplady, SCCM’s Principal added, “To have someone of Judy’s calibre working alongside me to explore and create opportunities for growth is fantastic.  We are reminded of God’s faithfulness and grateful for His provision.”

Judy’s post is a 12-month part-time appointment and starts with immediate effect.

Shaped by Mission – Journeying from SSCM to Tearfund

Shaped by Mission – Journeying from SSCM to Tearfund


We are shaped by mission!  This is a bold statement that has set me thinking bringing with it a litany of questions including:
– Are we really shaped by mission?
– Are we shaped by particular types of mission?
– What happens if we are not being missional?

I recently read a book[1] where it describes mission as a two-way conversion process[2].  Sometimes when we carry out mission, we expect to go out with our message of good news, encounter those in material or spiritual poverty, and expect them to be ‘converted’ and then walk away ourselves unchanged.  The premise of this book, however is that as we encounter those that we are reaching, both parties walk away changed.

For the last 17 years, I have been involved in mission work on a full-time basis (although not always working for Christian organisations), primarily in the UK and each one of those encounters have changed me.  With each role I have learned new things, but more importantly every person I have encountered has made an impact on my very identity.

As a church-based youth worker, I can name many young people (some of which are in their thirties now!) who impacted upon who I am. Two of them are Gareth and Reece[3], two brothers who lived in a council estate just outside Glasgow suffering absolute poverty.  Both parents were addicts and life for them was a constant struggle to bring order into the chaotic lives of their parents.  As we carried out healthy cookery courses with them, they learned how to provide meals for their families, whereas I learned so much about resilience and the need to listen to those whose lives were much harsher than my own.

Working in Restorative Justice (victim-offender mediation), I had the opportunity to enter into the lives of many young people who had come to the attention of the legal system.  For some of these young people, it was apparent that they had resorted to offending because of damaged relationships.  For others, the offence itself damaged the relationship.  I clearly remember one particular day when a teenage Indian girl was meeting with myself and the manager of a local shop, from which she had stolen some make-up.  The meeting itself was somewhat unremarkable and was typical of a meeting involving a ‘corporate victim’, such as a retail chain.

At the end of the meeting, the girl’s father, who had not been part of the mediation, arrived and wanted to have a word with me.  In that small room, with just two of us, he weeped.  It is not often that I have sat with someone in their fifties, from a completely different cultural background, as they wept tears of mourning for their daughter who was in the next room.

This father owned a shop.  The means of provision for his family was through his shop.  This father had tried to instil values in his daughter about how livelihoods depended on shops.  For that father, stealing cosmetics was not just theft, it was the daughter turning her back on their family values and all that was important to them.  That day I carried out a second mediation, between father and daughter.  The father opened up to his daughter for the first time and the daughter experienced the raw emotional response that her otherwise proud father had.

Even as a supposedly impartial mediator, I was changed that day.  I learned something incredible about being a vulnerable father and the importance of communicating with those closest to us.  Likewise, I learned something about the pain that our creator must have every time we treat others wrongly or are unjust in our actions.

For the last 12 years or so, I have been called to the unusual mission field of a Christian college.  In a college, you are not in the business of the conversion of non-believers, but rather believers.  This conversion is not about convincing them of the existence of God, but rather about trying to enable them to see God for who God really is, rather than our own perception of God.  My particular calling has also been to enable students to understand what mission is within the Scottish context and how this can be done in an empowering, humanising and God-honouring way.  As I have carried out this role, I have been changed by my encounters with staff, students, young people in placements, and many others.

When I arrived at ICC in 2004, originally taking on a part-time post supporting students on placement, I was a very different person from who I am in 2017.  I started as a very naïve Christian with virtually no understanding of theology and having a piecemeal understanding of what a theology of mission is.  Leaving in 2017, I certainly have a more rounded understanding of who God is and his purposes and a passion for the Bible and what we can learn about ourselves and God through it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the college and have learned a great deal.  I also hope that I have had an impact in enabling students, staff and supporters to think through how think theologically about youth work and community development.  However I believe that I am now called to a new mission field in which I will both have an impact and be impacted.

In March, I will be taking on a new role as the Head of Church Development (Scotland) with Tearfund.  Those who know me well will know that I have been a supporter of Tearfund for the last 7 years or so and been involved in many levels, whether this be as a volunteer speaker, community fundraiser or on their Scottish Advisory Group.  In this role, I am hoping to continue to inspire the local Church to be missional, whether this be at a local or international level.

In this new role, I believe that I am called to listen.  Called to listen to the local Church in Scotland and respond to what is important to them in mission.  Likewise I believe I am called to listen to the Church beyond Scotland, and particularly in the global south, to learn lessons from them on mission and development that can be shared with the Church in Scotland.

Please pray for me as I step into this new role and as I continue to be changed by mission that as I continue to be transformed by mission, that that transformation will have an impact on the wider Church.

God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what’s right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we’ve started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what’s essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love’s risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.

Graeme McMeekin

[1] Collier, J & Esteban, 1998, From Complicity to Encounter: The Church and the Culture of Economism, Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Publishing
[2] “Through this encounter [as mission] others are invited to share in the Christian faith experience in such a way that their religious and cultural past is reformed around that experience.  At the same time, this encounter challenges the cultural presuppositions of the missionaries themselves.  The model of conversion implied by this understanding of mission therefore implies both a symmetry and mutuality” (p83) – I am still processing to what extent I would hold to the radical claims of these authors, but I do think that we are at least changed in mission.
[3] All the names mentioned in this blog are pseudonyms other than my own.


SSCM appoints new team members

SSCM appoints new team members


2017 will see some changes to the team at the Scottish School of Christian Mission.

Graeme McMeekin, Vice-Principal, is leaving in March to take up the newly-created post of Head of Church Development at Tearfund Scotland.  Graeme has made a significant contribution to our work over the last 13 years, both in our new form as SSCM and previously as ICC.  It goes without saying that we are sad to see Graeme go, but we are also pleased for him and the opportunities that this new role brings.

Graeme said, “I am passionate about community development as part of the work of the local church.  In moving to Tearfund, I believe that God wants to use me to help inspire Christians in their mission both at home and abroad”.

We are pleased that Graeme will stay involved with us as a visiting lecturer. He added, “The work of SSCM is invaluable as they continue to train men and women for mission in an ever-changing and complex world”.

Graeme’s departure means we will be appointing a successor, although there will be some alterations to the job reflecting other changes to our staffing structure.  We are now recruiting for the position of Vice-Principal.

Pam Mellstrom, Youth and Community Work Programme Manager, is taking over Graeme’s responsibilities as Course Coordinator for the BA(Hons) in Theology (Youth and Community). Pam has a wealth of experience from 15 years spent with an innovative youth work project in Linlithgow, and we are delighted that she will now be part of the school’s leadership team.

Pam commented, “The ways in which we live, work, raise families and worship are being significantly redefined in the UK. SSCM trains qualified youth and community workers who not only understand this context but can respond to the needs and opportunities within our churches and communities”.

Finally, we are creating a new post to enhance our work.  The Director of Development will work alongside Richard Tiplady, SSCM’s Principal, building training partnerships to attract new students and funding for the vital work done by the school. Further information will follow in due course.

A new year brings new things and the work of SSCM is no different.  Whilst always grateful for what God as done and the people he has sent to do His work, we are excited about what God is doing.  Do pray for us as we seek to equip students to share the Good News creatively, intelligently and in a range of challenging circumstances and communities.