On Wednesday, the midpoint of the Orientation Week at St Mary’s Kinnoull, staff and students travelled off-site for the morning, visiting Southton Smallholding, Blackruthven, linked to and set beside the Bield Retreat Centre. This social enterprise, set up 25 years ago, engages in therapeutic work in organic farming with adults with learning difficulties.
SEI visited the smallholding because, in this first half of the week, we have been engaged in learning about the principles, history and practice of mission entrepreneurship, led by the Revd Dr Richard Tiplady, Director of Mixed Mode Training. Into the teaching about the theory of social entrepreneurship and forms of pioneering ministry have been woven three case studies: Richard Cornfield speaking about Mustard Seed (Diocese of Edinburgh), Jenny Cornfield about Soul Food and then George Bosworth about Southton. It has been fascinating to hear the resonances between the theory and the practice, and to learn from examples in both urban and rural contexts here in Scotland.
After a tour of the latter site and a talk about the enterprise, George set the SEI party to work: some became hewers of wood, others weeded a border filled with (remarkably resilient) thistles and (extremely stingy) nettles, and other loaded and unloaded trailers of timber. Our labours were rewarded with a lovely al fresco lunch at The Bield, a short walk across the fields. And alpaca friendliness!
Photos taken by Richard Tiplady and Ross Stirling-Young