Apparently VisitScotland are closing almost two-thirds of their centres. It's not that Scotland is saying 'welcome, but we're shutting down' but they have found most people engage in a different way from when they were first set up. They are however opening regional hubs where tourism is focused.
Now, I"m wondering if we can subsitute 'VisitScotland' with 'Church of Scotland'.
Of course there will be a million reasons why we can't but the insights and recognition that people engage with what VisitScotland offer in a different way from when they were set up is an insight for us. It also focused its services in the places where people need it most and can thus grow deeper and more experiential centres.
With almost a 60% drop in people visiting centres in the last 10 years it had to offer its services in a different way. What's the statistic for the church?
Of course the church isn't offering information but community (though that isn't always the case), and of course the church is meant to be engaging with inclusion and justice and truth and healing and renewal which you don't get on just one quick visit to a tourist information centre, BUT the insights into how people engage with services, and how they create community in way unimagined when VisitScotland first begun, and the recognition that people are changing how they search for things can't be lost on the church. We were having a converstion about that at both our Worship and Parish Outreach committees tonight. Interesting timing and some lessons to reflect on for us.