THE MAGAZINE OF THE UNITED FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Advent Foretold Pages 2–3
Report: 10th Assembly of the WCC, Busan Pages 5/6
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Perth & Kinross Foodbank Moderator’s Update Scripture C a ke
In Service Conference The annual In Service Conference for Ministers, Ministry Assistants and Pastors took place at Gartmore House near Aberfoyle from 24–26 September. A number of those who are supposedly ‘retired’ were also present. The main focus this year was on Preaching a nd Rev Fergus Buchanan from St Paul’s Church of Scotland, Milngavie led four very helpful sessions which encouraged us to look afresh at preaching a n d reminded us that no matter how long we have been doing it, there is always something new for us to learn. ‘Do we believe that it is through preaching faith c a n be born a n d faith c a n be strengthened?’ We are ‘communicating the greatest truths that human beings have ever stumbled upon’. It is ‘supremely important a nd we should give it our best energies’.
We also ha d two sessions on School Chaplaincy with 3 members of the Chaplaincy Team from Hillpark secondar y School, Glasgow – Rev Wilma Pearson (Cathcar t: Trinity), Marc Williamson (Youth & Community Worker at Netherauldhouse Evangelical Church) a nd Rev Colin Brown (Darnley UF). From their experience they helped us get a n insight into the work of chaplains a nd of the opportunities a nd challenges which there are in such work today. At a time when there are some in our society who are opposed to chaplaincy, it was good to hear of the valuable work which is going in Hillpark a nd in other schools around Scotland. Not least, it was a n encouragement to pray for such work. There were also opportunities to worship a nd pray together as well as time to relax a nd enjoy fellowship together. This conference is a very valuable time for all who go along a nd we hope that others will be able to join us next year.
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By Dr Jan e McArthur
Perth & Kinross Foodbank
Report: 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Busan
The Destiny Edinburgh Story – Part Two
Scripture Ca ke
New Moderator Appointed
In Service Conference
Advent Foretold 5/6
Christological Reflections on Old Testament Prophecy
Jane is a member of Darnley UF and regularly provides pulpit supply. She is a lecturer in Christian Doctrine and Head of Taught Postgraduate Programmes at International Christian College, Glasgow. 4
7/8 Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation; it is a time of I will set on your throne.”’). We are told where he would b e looking forward. We might look forward with anticipation born and brought up (Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem to spending time with family or friends and the food and Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of gifts we will share with them, or to a few days break from Judah, from you shall c o me forth for me one who is to b e our regular routine, we might look forward to decorating ruler in Israel,”). His personality and work are described the Christmas tree or to singing Christmas carols. Our word (Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word adventus meaning gather the lambs in his arms; he will carr y them in his ‘coming’ and as Christians we look forward to the bosom, and gently lead those that are with young”. celebration of the coming of Christ as a baby and to Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your G od will raise up his coming again as King and Judge.
The Old Testament prophets looked forward with eager
anticipation in the faces of the children in India – for many of whom this won will be their first Christmas. That same “Christmas” joy derf of receiving the New Life of Christ similarly shines out in the Drumchapel ul gi There’s something special about celebrating Christmas with children – t article. On reading this remarkable story of the grass ft th hey have that wonderful sense on joyful anticipation roots enthusiasm for a new church in Drumchapel and the joy that conti at is that lightens up the occasion. Dr Ja n e McArthur in her article Advent F nues to fire their commitment to go deeper into God’s cont oretold reminds us that, just as it was for the Old Love, one is challenged to ask why, in the shallowness of this world, so m aine Testament prophets, this is also a time of waiting and anticipation for th any churches lose the real meaning of Christmas. d in e children of the Kingdom – a time of looking thes Is there something we can learn from Nathan Owens report on the W CC to his coming again as the Bridegroom for His Bride. e “ja rs of In the second part of Peter Anderson’s story, which focuses on church p Conference in Busan? Perhaps in wrapping up our faith in a way that we hope will be more ac ce pta ble to the world we be clay lanting, it is exciting to see that sense of joyful ”. c om e more interested in the wrapping than the
for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen”.) We are also given details of his death and resurrection. We are not just told
I pra anticipation to the coming of God’s promised Messiah.
Had the Old Testament m a d e one or two vague y tha statements about the coming Messiah that we later see t this fulfilled in Christ, perhaps we could shrug it off as a n educa te d guess but there are more than one or two Chris statements (Old Testament scholars tell us there are as tmas many as 300 statements about Christ in the Old Testament) we w and far from being vague, some are very specific leaving us in no doubt about the authenticity of the Old Testament ill co nor its value to us in understanding the uniqueness and ntinu supremacy of Christ. e to
Here are a few of these very specific prophecies. His
expe coming was prophesied in detail hundreds of years
rienc before he was born, not just that a Messiah would com e e tha
but in detail.
t unf We are shown the family into which he would be born atho mabl e pe ace and j oy of unwr appi ng G od’s Chris tmas Gift – so th at w e ma y trul y co me t oget her, f orget ting abou t our selve s, an d wo rship Him.
Alas tair Wrig ht Sted fast Secr etar y
(Psalm 132:11 “The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back , “One of the sons of your body
that Go d incarnate would live and die as a human being, but we are given details of the w ay he would die. (Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us p e a c e , a nd with his stripes we are healed.” Psalm 16:10 “For you will not a bandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”) These details of Christ’s life were all foretold by the prophets hundreds of years before he was born and what the Old Testament prophets looked forward to with anticipation, we c a n look ba c k on with certainty. If the number and a c c ur a c y of Old Testament prophecies such as these are not enough to convince us that the Christ whose coming we celebrate at Christmas is unique and supreme, that he is different from every other person who ever lived, we c a n look at any aspect of his earthly life from conception to death a nd resurrection for evidence.
Advent Foretold (Cont.)
Every other human being who has ever been born was conceived as the result of the coming together of human sperm and egg, whether in a test tube or a fallopian tube. Jesus, and Jesus alone, was conceived supernaturally by the Holy Spirit. If you read Matthew chapter 1 you get over 40 generations of begetting and then “Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” This, of course, was also specifically stated by the prophets hundreds of years earlier.
It is not the method of Christ’s death that was unique for many thousands of people were put to death on a Roman cross but his death was unique in that it was foretold many years before he was born and also in the way he accepted it willingly, causing the centurion, who had witnessed hundreds of men being crucified, to proclaim, “Truly this man was the son of God”. While others are taken by death, Jesus gave himself to death – he decided on the moment of his death (Luke 23:46 reads, ‘Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.’) No other death has resulted in darkness, earthquake and the opening of graves. Through his death we are restored to a right relationship with God – that too is unique, no one else’s death could ever do that!
His incarnation In the incarnation, Jesus’ divinity was in no way diminished; his humanity was in no way compromised. He is not half God and half man but fully God and fully man. He is the God who created the universe. He is the only sinless human being who ever lived. His life No one ever spoke like Jesus and no one ever did the things he did. No one else who ever lived has lived a sinless life. Throughout his life and ministry as recorded in the Gospels, he demonstrated his divinity as well as his humanity.
Jesus’ uniqueness and supremacy do not lie primarily in the things that he said, wonderful as many of these things are, nor primarily in the marvellous miracles that he performed, remarkable as they are. Rather, his uniqueness and supremacy lie in who he is; lie in the fact that he is truly and fully G o d and truly and fully human – ever y bit as much G o d as Go d the Father or G o d the Holy Spirit and every bit as much human as you are or I am. I think most of us have difficulty grasping that but it is important that we hold on it. Jesus was not half G o d and half man. He was not some kind of hybrid. He was not Go d who merely looked as if he was human. He was not a mere human making rash claims that he was God. He was, and he is, totally G o d and totally man united in one perfect Person. He was and he is unequalled, unparalleled, incomparable.
In a few weeks we will celebrate Christmas; celebrate the coming of G od into the world as a n unequalled, unparalleled, incomparable human being; celebrate the coming of the child whose birth was eagerly anticipated by the Prophets, the child who was born in order to die on a cross for your sin and mine. 3
(All Bible references are from English Standard Version)
His resurrection Others, for example Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) or Lazarus (John 11) have been raised from the dead but only to die once more. In his resurrection, Jesus conquered death once and for all. He promises, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)
What will you celebrate? What will your neighbours, your friends, your family celebrate? What will the celebrations m ea n? For many the celebrations will about copious amounts of alcohol and food, they will be about spending time with friends and family and going to parties. For some the celebrations will be about excessive spending a nd debt. If many of the cards I generally received are anything to go by the celebrations will be largely about fat bearded men in red suits, robins, snowflakes a nd decorated trees. For some the celebrations will bring loneliness a nd isolation, pain and sorrow. Why should this be so? It is so because we remember it is a time of celebration but have forgotten why. We have forgotten that in the incarnation I AM becomes I AM WITH YOU. We have despised and rejected the one whose birth we celebrate and hidden our faces from him (Isaiah 53:3). Otherwise the celebrations would be a source of comfort to the lonely, not a source of pain. The celebrations would be, as the carol says, ‘Good tidings of comfort and joy’.
Perth & Kinross Foodbank By Ian Shering – Reader Auchterarder UF
Perth & Kinross Foodbank was formally launched by
c a n plunge them into poverty. Even marginal shifts in
Provost Liz Grant on Friday 27th September. It was the vision of Mike Archibald a nd his wife (Mike is a reader with the Church of Scotland) but has now over one hundred volunteers involved in its operation. Ten different denominations of churches in Perth & Kinross make up the Perth Action Churches Together (PACT) group. While Perth is perhaps assumed to be a n affluent city In Perth & Kinross, in the first three weeks of operation over three a nd a half tons of food was collected with about 90 people using the foodbank . Over three quarters of a ton of food was given out over the same period confirming the considerable need for a more coordinated response. Although this foodbank is a separate charity it has received much help and guidance from the Trussell Trust who provide training for volunteers and also the Council who have contributed to initial set-up costs.
prices when people don’t have elasticity in their personal finances c a n have a major impact. Food prices have risen by 12.6% above inflation over the past six years and rising energy prices this winter are likely to see more people forced to choose between eating a nd heating. People at foodbanks have started giving ba c k food items that need cooking because they can’t afford to turn on the electricity. Recently the British Red Cross announced that it will provide volunteers for the first time to support Tesco’s nationwide food collection for Trussell Trust Food Banks and FareShare because it is so concerned by levels of UK hunger.
More generally, according to the Trussell Trust, over 350,000 people received emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April a nd September 2013 which is triple the numbers helped in the same period last year. The Trussell Trust says that UK hunger is getting worse and the charity has called for a n inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty a nd the consequent surge in foodbank usage. Chris Johnes, Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme Director, says that:
“These figures lay bare the shocking scale of destitution, hardship and hunger in the UK. It is completely unacceptable that in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet, the number of people turning to foodbanks has tripled.”
Evidence from Trussell Trust shows that rising living costs and stagnant wages are forcing more people to live on a financial knife e d g e where any c ha ng e in circumstance
In Perth & Kinross Foodbank the Trust calculated the types and amounts of food required by specific people for a period of three days. Boxes are m a d e up by volunteers according to this advice and the participating churches receive a basket with a helpful advisory list of the foods required. The basket and list are placed in the church to receive contributions which are then collected a nd processed by the volunteers. The response of Christians of all denominations in the a re a has been a n encouraging witness to God’s loving presence in the community. Food banks are generally used by people in severe financial hardship who do not qualify for Scottish Welfare Fund assistance. To receive food from the foodbank a voucher is needed. This c a n be obtained from a church, a social worker, a nurse, or the Police who will fill it in. The voucher will state the number of recipients and c a n be exchanged for a pa c k a g e of food at the foodbank . This is a n area which churches are both called to and are well place d to meet. With the deman d increasing county wide, Mike hopes to expand the area covered to include surrounding towns, ever mindful of the Trussell Trust’s mission verse from Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you fed me, was thirsty and you g av e me drink.”
In our churches we will celebrate the coming of the Christ-child but what a tragedy it is if a n infant remains a n infant and does not grow. Our Christ-child has to grow, has to b e c om e Christ our Saviour, Christ our Master, Christ our King. 4
“God of life, lead us...” The Authority of Scripture
Report on 10th Assembly of WCC, Busan
“[Spiritual] Renewal is based on our interpretation of the scriptures – different hermeneutics lead to different interpretations and understandings.” – document P G C 01.1 a Ecumenical Conversations Affirmations and Challenges. The authority of the Word of God is a matter of central importance for Christians, and on the surface is affirmed by the WCC. However to try and establish anything as concrete as expressed in God’s Word you would have more success trying to measure the length of the colour red. You are allowed to hold such views just as long as you realise that your “absolute” statement of truth will be heard alongside any other differing “absolute” truth, and that together these views are equally valid because they are heard within the context of a n “ecumenical dialogue”. In reality, I consider that any absolute truths that are present at the W CC c ome from the WCC’s interpretation of the Word of God. As a n example of my concern, the last address to the assembly
By Nathan Owens
said that the closing of the Canon of Scripture was not actually the end of revelation, and that through the Holy Spirit we can still have new things revealed to us. I understand this to be a heretical view. The New Creation: The Eschatological Hope of the Gospel
Let me begin by saying what an honour it has been for me to greet and meet fellow brothers and sisters in Christ here in the Republic of Korea. However my time at the 10th assembly of the W CC as one of highs and lows; great times and distressing times. Let me first tell you of one of the highlights of my time here, an d that is the weekend I spent with the Korean host churches; what a blessed time I had with brothers and sisters in the Lord as we sat under the ministry of God’s almighty Word and Holy Spirit. Friends it is a time I will not quickly forget, beca use I have seen something of God’s rich blessing on this nation in the recent past, and for it I give praise to G o d alone. The W CC was opened by the moderator and then we were addressed firstly by the Korean host organising committee president, Rev Kim. He is the minister at Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, the largest church in Korea (and the world). He spoke passionately, welcoming us a nd giving glory to Jesus Christ alone, who is able to save us from sin and give us new life in the Holy Spirit, as revealed in the inspired, infallible Word of God. It was quite a speech an d I felt lifted! The W CC produces many great-sounding statements that are couched in biblical language we would agree with and hold firmly to, but what does the W CC interpret these statements to m e a n? That is the question. I have found
that if you scratch the surface then you uncover drastically different opinions to our own. If you were to listen to the discussions, to participate in the bible studies, e ng ag e in ecumenical dialogue and hear the mind of the assembly as it debates on the floor, you soon realise that the carefully worded prose of the reports c a n barely camouflage what I consider were “heretical” views held by a not inconsiderable amount of member churches and delegates present here at the WCC. There are many commendable things being attempted in the W CC movement: a n end to war, to discrimination, the bringing of peace and justice to all people, everywhere. My concern is, are these objectives being emphasised at the expense of the gospel? The theme of the assembly has been, “ God of life, lead us to justice a nd p e a c e ! ” Language is a subtle thing, and so the question is what is meant by this statement. What does it cover and critically, what does it miss out?
Opposite are a series of headings on key themes that have appeared at the Assembly, and I have included quotations from actual WCC reports...
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ amongst World Religions “Within the contemporary context of increased awareness of religious pluralism, the possibility of salvation for those who do not explicitly believe in Christ and the relation between inter religious dialogue and the proclamation that Jesus is Lord have increasingly become topics of reflection and discussion among Christians.” – The Church Towards a Common Vision, Chapter IV.
Plurality of Religions is celebrated in the WCC, a nd has been here at the 10th assembly. On the Tuesday at the “unity” plenary I had a quite extraordinary
and by the mercy of the Holy Spirit we, as a communion of the children of God, move together towards the Kingdom. Seeking grace from God we are called, in our diversity, to be just stewards of God’s creation. This is the vision of the new Heaven and Earth, where Christ will “fill all in all”(Eph 1.22)”. – Document MC 01 REV, Message of the 10th Assembly of the WCC.
experience. I was expecting to be told about the unity that exists amongst the body of Christ; the one Catholic Church of God. Indeed this was mentioned, but not before the first speaker, a member of the Islamic World Council, told us we all belong to the same God and so we must leave our differences behind and move into the will of god for his creation – a united religion and humanity. After all, he said, we all c om e from the same root: Abraham! This was received with warm applause in the hall.
The “message of the 10th assembly”is basically a short statement
It seems that the uniqueness and saving power of Jesus as King
outlining the main ideas of the assembly and this example sums up well the general feel of the WCC’s eschatology.
of Kings and Lord of Lords is not celebrated in the W CC and is replaced with inter-religious dialogue of being on the same journey of faith towards justice and p e a c e . However, once you take out the blood-soaked, wrath-absorbing cross of Jesus, is not the uniqueness of Christianity castrated, replaced with a n emasculated and powerless message of “justice and peace”?
“God our creator is the source of all life. In the love of Jesus Christ
There is a lot of language of reconciliation used in the W CC regarding eschatology that has to do with “journeying to”, “being transformed into”, “moving together towards the kingdom”; that faith is a journey, not a destination. The focus shifts from the end to now. What matters is this life now an d where it is leading in this journeys of faith, not whether you are a sheep or a goat and therefore destined to Heaven or Hell, the assumption being that as believers we are all going to heaven. In fact I have not seen the doctrine of Hell mentioned, discussed, written or talked about anywhere. It simply does not exist in W CC theology or discussion. There is no emphasis on a final da y of judgement when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the de a d, and claim for himself a n inheritance from amongst the nations, who will reign with Him forever in a re-created Heaven and Earth. The view of the W CC is that we are on a journey of transformation and reconciliation that will lead all of creation into the new creation of unity and p e a c e . They seem to have reached the vision of Revelation 22 without the reality of Revelation 21. Equality and Sexual Orientation “Whilst we have been here in Busan it was decided in Germany that children could for the first time be registered as male, female OR the space could be left blank – an historic step towards relieving and acknowledging the pain for those who are born inter-sexed or find themselves to be transgendered. We know as St. Paul taught us that in Christ there is neither male or female.” – document PRAY 26, the closing message of the assembly, Father Michael Lapsley.
The issue of sexual orientation was a big-hitter at this assembly, and I believe it will only get bigger and louder and stronger as it gathers more support over the years in the WCC. Yes, it is very divisive, not least because one of the biggest sections of the W CC are the Orthodox churches, who strongly refute homosexuality as sin. The WCC, I believe to be pro-change and would view it as just another marginalised, discriminated section of society that need defending. While the Assembly was quick to say that officially it had m a de no comment on the matter, I believe that not to speak is to speak; to have no opinion is to have an opinion, and that by not condoning homosexuality the W CC have failed to condemn it as well.
Who Belongs to the W CC ? I want to make one more comment before I conclude, and that is on who actually belongs to the W CC? It is indeed the largest gathering of churches in the world. But in reality a vast majority of denominations are not in the WCC. No, the W CC is a particular group of churches most of which I consider to be liberal in their theology, even if they would not call themselves so. However having attended this gathering, I consider that the “feel” and general “mind” of the Assembly is liberal, especially since several major liberal denominations are present, and not very many reformed evangelical ones Out of 13 Presbyterian denominations in Scotland only 2, ourselves and the CoS, are members. Should we not ask why this and whether our dialogue with these other churches, whose doctrines are closer to our own, is being adversely affected by our involvement with the W CC?
The assembly’s official business was concluded by a farewell address given by Rev Kim, the same man who opened the assembly with his stirring speech that so moved me to hope. Once again he spoke with passion and authority, giving glory to Christ alone and telling ever yone that the only hope mankind had was to repent of their sin, turn to the cross of Christ, and receive new life in the Holy Spirit as revealed in the holy Scriptures. It was again very challenging and faithful to the gospel of Jesus. But unfortunately it served only as a bookend of faithfulness to a conference where I felt that this same Gospel was conspicuous by its absence.
The Destiny Edinburgh Story Church Planting and Growth PA R T T W O
Peter Anderson was brought up in the United Free Church and is now the Senior Pastor of Destiny Church Edinburgh – a rapidly growing contemporary church in Scotland’s capital city. He is also a College Director at Destiny College which is a Bible College and Christian Leadership Academy. In the second of a two-part interview, Peter shares his deep passion to see lives transformed through the planting of more local churches, built according to biblical principles and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Q. Peter could you begin by telling us something
Q. So the organic growth that has been a feature
about your background and your coming to faith?
of the work in Europe is now happening in India?
In Destiny we are reformed in terms of theology and scriptural authority, charismatic in terms of our practice, and emerging in terms of our desire to be culturally relevant. While we desire to be culturally relevant, I a m concerned that many emerging churches believe that being relevant to culture involves watering down and questioning the authority of scripture. One key thing we have discovered is that ironically the truer we are to scripture, the more people in our culture respect the church – people today are not looking for a limp, weak message and c a n generally handle strong truth even if the scripture comes with a challenge a nd isn’t always politically correct.
The church in Orissa in India started with a dream for evangelism in Destiny Glasgow and from that dream the orphanage was birthed a nd it was from the orphanage that the church was started. In the midst of persecution a movement of predominantly rural churches evolved that now accounts for approximately 50,000 believers in that part of the world. Originally the village was 98% Hindu and it was actually a very dangerous p l a c e to be a Christian – however it is now 75% Christian. Solomon, who started the mission, has been publicly stoned and beaten up three times.
Someone once said that in modernism people “believed their way into feeling” (i.e. having a c c e p te d the claims of Christianity, they were able to open their hearts to follow and feel it. However, conversely, in our current post-modern culture, people “feel their way into believing” (i.e. when people feel G o d or have a n experience in a church meeting – even if it doesn’t make sense to them, they a c c e p t God). Therefore in a postmodern era, I see a huge opportunity for churches which preach a strong message a nd who also allow the Holy Spirit to move, because both of these c a n be felt. We also have a strong theology of mission – a real passion for the lost an d for making disciples. While most churches would say they have a heart for evangelism and making disciples, I have observed that very few actually outwork that heart into strong programs in the life of the church. One of the things we work hard at is to make sure that this passion for mission is woven through the fabric of church life. In terms of our movement w e now have more than 500 churches since Glasgow kicked off in 1991, but you will find that Destiny Church in Edinburgh looks an d feels very different to our churches in places like Munich, Dublin and Orissa in India, and they all feel different again to e a c h other. But while it is important to be contextual, it is also important for us all to retain the signature DNA of the common values we share across all our churches. 7
Yes, the growth in India is rapid. It is a characteristic of our DNA that says “multiply everything”. Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples. So the idea is that believers make believers, disciples make disciples, teachers make teachers, pastors raise up pastors, leaders make leaders, small groups plant small groups, and churches plant churches – i.e. reproduction at every level – if something is alive then it reproduces. Q. Church planting is an important aspect of the Destiny network’s ministry and you are responsible for the training of leadership in this area. Tell us a little about this work? Before I answer that question let me take a step back . What I previously described is how the church looked on the ground. So while the church has been going for 15 years we feel that the church has only just started. We see Go d leading us as we go forward to other communities in Edinburgh. Our goal is not just to be a ‘local’ church but a church that reaches out to all the unchurched in Edinburgh. So in order to do this we are going to move out from just the 2 locations and prayerfully look at other locations as and when Go d leads. Looking further afield there is a sense that we are a n international church as there are over 30 nationalities in the church. Many of these are students who join with us for a while and then leave. Now part of this leaving is that they go out with the gospel and some will have been called and equipped to start churches.
In terms of how these churches are started we have no models but we have principles. Sometimes it is just a couple who go out, like Angie a nd I starting the church in Edinburgh from our flat in Haymarket. Sometimes a group of people will b e released in a n area to b e c om e the nucleus of a new church. This is how Destiny Falkirk started with some people from Edinburgh going out. Initially they started with a group gathering weekly to meet in a town centre c a fé before they were released as a church in Januar y and moved to larger premises. Also this year we sent a couple out to start a church in Wroclaw in Poland. They had been with us in Edinburgh for over 4 years where they had grown into a leadership role. What we encourage in church planters is not to focus on making the new church look like Destiny Edinburgh, but to start by sharing the gospel and making disciples – then they should allow the church to look and feel like that community (identify with the people in that community and to reflect the culture within that community). The reason for this is that two things are different than the sending church. Firstly the p l a c e is different a nd secondly they (the church planters) are different. Destiny Edinburgh looks like it does b ecause I’m wired a certain wa y and also the city is wired a certain way. So the church plants have to feel that they have the freedom to express their own uniqueness and creativity.
Q. In terms of this expanding network of churches, how does the leadership provide ongoing support? This support is relational rather than formally structured. Whenever church planters go out, I take responsibility to sustain the relationship with fairly frequent contact so that when problems and challenges arise they have a n open and ongoing trusted point of contact. I currently have had a small group of trainee planters who have been meeting regularly with a view to going out. Part of the purpose of this has been to connect an d establish a relationship with them before they go to the mission field, which gives me a strong sense of where they are at in their development as trainees and I a m better p laced to speak into their lives o nce they are “on the field”. As I said earlier, church planting and growth is about being willing to take the radical message of Jesus and not let our safe materialistic western culture make us safe, comfortable Christians. It just takes two or three to step up to the gospel a nd that small group c a n b ec om e a thriving church community able to enthuse others – even a whole denomination!
Some of our church plants have a vision for what they are to be like: The church in Hong Kong that was birthed just in September, is envisioned/projected as a network of small groups with a monthly larger gathering. The church in Wroclaw has a vision to establish churches e a c h of 50 members all around the city, so as soon as they reach 70–80 they intend to quickly plant another church. Then there are other churches in the Destiny network where the vision was for a more conventional gathered / attractional church like the vision for the Destiny churches in Glasgow and Edinburgh. At least annually, I host a two-day Church Planting Training event in Edinburgh designed to inspire, equip a nd prepare anyone sensing the call of G o d on their lives to lead or b e part of a church plant team. While these events are put on to train our own church planters, they are open to people from any denomination or stream. 8
Drumchapel UF Bringing the Gospel message of God’s redeeming love to their community. (Article is based largely on a recent Congregational Review produced by the Kirk Session.)
But overcoming the challenge of building
( a former Elim Minister & a n Elder) to form
the socially disadvantaged a n d
a comfortable modern building was just another milestone on a journey with many more difficulties a h e a d. They learned that it is easier to build with bricks and mortar, than to build with “living stones”. However the work started in faith an d with a heart for mission has continued with zeal unabated to this day.
a new Charismatic Fellowship. This in many ways left the existing church membership confused, having c om e through two breakaway groups. During this difficult time Robert Owens was called into the ministry at Drumchapel in 1980. Up to the present da y under Robert’s Biblically base d ministry the church has progressed to mature into a smaller, but very committed, group of believers, to witness an d work in a much changing a re a of Drumchapel.
vulnerable, who do not attend church so easily these days. The Living Room allows the church to reach out to these people for whom this g a p can seem huge. Over the years they have been blessed with many gifts (including support from the denomination) to carr y out this work as well as manpower from both their own church an d students studying for the ministry. While the desire is to see many of the ‘living room’ folk c o m e to faith, it is encouraging to witness the ‘miracle’ of some of these folk coming to worship services.
In 1966 the congregation called the
Since being constituted in September, 1958 the Drumchapel UF congregation have experienced both the highs and the lows of Christian service. Their testimony of faithful perseverance and hope is one that is both encouraging and challenging for other small congregations similarly seeking to bring the Gospel message of God’s redeeming love to the people of their community and beyond.
Rev A Fraser to serve as the first minister until he moved to work with Quarrier’s Homes. The Church continued its evangelical witness an d when the Rev A Gillies served as minister from 1974–1978 there was a large growth of young people a n d families. Missions an d conventions were held, a nd open air meetings in the shopping centre. There was a n adding to the church of many converts to the faith, but on reflection it was felt that perhaps more ‘discipleship training’ was required to ‘mature’ the new believers. In 1978 the Rev Alex Gillies was lead by God to start up a new work within Glasgow City taking some of his family a n d new converts with him. Another set ba c k occurred 18 months later when another group of 20 or so young people left the church under the leadership of one of the members
Drumchapel, known affectionately to locals a s ‘The Drum’, was developed a s part of the overspill policy of Glasgow Corporation when a huge housing estate was built there in the 1950s to house 34,000 people. Over the years the area has experienced the wellknown social problems typical of these post-war social housing schemes. More recently the population has been in a state of flux with a stuttering shift to private housing investment. However the area has remained popular with many of its residents seeking to build a better community. The story of the church be ga n ba c k in the
in the mid fifties, when David a nd Agnes Trotter invited people to meet in their home for Christian prayer an d fellowship. This group of Christians from various backgrounds as well as converts from the Billy Graham – All Scotland Crusade, then gathered for worship with BTI students who were worshiping in Camus Place School. These Gospel meetings were both warm a n d friendly a n d their enthusiasm was infectious. The Gospel was faithfully
preache d by visiting preachers from Churches a n d Mission halls in an d around Glasgow. This work was also supported a n d encouraged by the Knightswood UF congregation as well as other representatives of the UF Church such as Rev Elizabeth Barr an d Rev Ernest Watson. From their humble beginnings with only a few adults attending Sunday Worship a n d 5 children in the Sunday School, the work progressed a n d both activities an d numbers increased slowly but surely. Having been granted the status of a full congregation an d a Church Extension Charge of the United Free Church in 1958, the next major milestone was the building of their own pla c e of worship. Being a small congregation with little money their confidence was firmly in the Lord that they could accomplish the task. Following years of sacrificial giving within the congregation an d beyond the building plans were approved in July, 1963 when work c omm enc e d. In order to keep costs down much of the work wherever possible was done by themselves. However in reality they could
see the Hand of God rewarding their faithfulness as other tradesmen in the community; electricians, plumbers, joiners, etc, offered their services. In fact such was the infectious enthusiasm of the local members themselves; some of whom for 20 months spent every spare evening, Saturday, a n d most of their holidays on the job, that the builders who erected the shell by contracted labour came ba c k to do other jobs for which they were not contracted. While every member did their bit, the Kirk Session at the time acknowledge the tremendous debt owed by all to two of the elders, Mr Robert Hollinsworth an d Mr Alex Marshall, whose faith that God would not fail them was inspirational to everyone involved. Indeed at the opening an d dedication service in April, 1965, some of the original. ‘1929ers’ present were heard to comment that, “If this spirit of faith an d enthusiasm, that was so present in those earlier great days, could once a ga in spread throughout the United Free Church, then we could go forward to be a power in the land.”
Along with other evangelical churches in the a re a they have continued over a period of many years to conduct Missions – open air meetings in the ba c k courts, door to door work, a n d children’s missions, also with American young people (Royal Servants) an d Faith Mission. The session having given much thought a n d prayer as to what sort of outreach work should continue, thought about obtaining a stall in Drumchapel market, but God ha d different ideas providing us with a rented shop in the shopping centre – a n d the ‘Living Room’ drop-in centre was born. The Living Room, which has been running now for 7 years, seeks to bridge the g a p between the church an d those in the community, particularly
Being abl e to reach out with the love an d Word of God a n d that is a real blessing a n d privilege for all involved in the Living Room. As already mentioned, Drumchapel is a n a re a in transition with changing population demographics which has affected their children’s ministry. However, while it is the desire to see this important ministry rekindled, the work and witness goes on as the congregation is very supportive of many missionaries, including that of the Youth Worker – Laura McKenzie – both financially an d prayerfully.
Although with 25 members Drumchapel is not a large
While their immediate future is slightly unclear with the closure
congregation, the high level of Christian commitment evidenced in the establishment of the Church continues a n d is reflected in Sunday Worship; Prayer an d Bible study meetings; as well their desire to grow spiritually, an d share the Gospel. The fruits of this commitment are also manifest in the offspring of the congregation who have moved /are moving into full-time Christian ministry, namely:
at some point of Robert Owens ministry due to retiral, the Session continues to seek God’s guidan ce as to the congregations’ future ministry ‘being confident of this, that he who be ga n a good work in you will carr y it on to completion until the d a y of Christ Jesus’. As the Rev Watson stated in Stedfast following the Opening Dedication service in 1965:
• REV ALEXANDER M. GILLIES: Senior Pastor of Victory Christian Centre – Glasgow • REV ALEX MARSHALL: Now retired – Minister at Northfield UF a nd Chryston UF • MARK NELSON: Faith Mission (N.E. England Area) • JAMES HARAM: Moved to & training for Free Presb. Church Continuing • NATHAN OWENS: Completed UF Church Training & Licensing.
“May the great Master-Builder build a Church here that shall prevail against the gates of Hell. That must be our prayer for them and for ourselves. May the smouldering embers in all our congregations be fanned into life burning with enthusiasm, faith and love”.
By Robin Nelson
Who would like to be a Crematorium Superintendent? If some 22 years ago, someone h a d said to me, “do you fancy working in a crematorium?” I would have looked at them twice a n d thought to myself, I could think of cheerier places to work. I originally trained as a scientific instrument maker : assembling, building a n d optically adjusting such things as laser rangefinders, laser medical systems a n d thermal imaging equipment periscopes, (Optronics it is called). I did this for seventeen years. How did I get here? Well I am a very firm believer that as a child of God, walking in faith, he has a plan a n d purpose for us all. As it a p p e a re d one door was closing He was opening another. Perhaps, as I have experienced in many areas of Christian life, not always in the obvious direction or the w ay we think we should go. The c o mpa n y I h a d worked for was “downsizing” from 2.300 to 600. Although not m a d e redundant, I reckoned my job was not secure a n d so I eventually took voluntary redundancy. Considering my options, Mr A Marshal our Session Clerk h a d asked me on several occasions if I would be interested in training a nd working at Clydebank Crematorium as a Technician. His retiral as superintendent h a d created a v a c a n c y a nd so it was time for a decision. This would be a step of faith. So after much prayer a n d discussion with the family a n d others, (Deborah & Mark were still young children), we felt that, yes, perhaps God was guiding me in a different direction.
Initially I wondered if I m a d e the right move as there was more to the job than I h a d anticipated with various diverse elements. Firstly there is the side the public see such as Chapel duties that require a working knowledge of different religious a n d non religious practices. Liaising
with clergy a nd funeral directors, this c a n involve, on the one hand, being a DJ playing up to 10 CDs in one service or, on the other, advising the organist on musical requests from hymns, pop classical or anything in between. Then there are the less obvious Cremation duties such as: janitorial duties; operating the computer controlled cremators; individually processing the cremated remains; a nd carrying out the requested instructions of the family regarding their disposal of ashes. There are also the other administration duties such as: dealing with public enquiries for memorialisation; record keeping compliance with cremation law a nd environmental regulations. A particular job I loved doing, as I have always enjoyed gardening, was looking after the garden of remembrance. (Ground maintenance duties are now performed by other council staff). I remember, many a day, looking up at the overshadowing Kilpatrick Hills a nd reflecting on Psalm 121 which is read out at many funerals: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” My current job as Crematorium Superintendent is not simply a desk job a nd is very much still a hands on practical job. However there are the a d d e d functions of the overall responsibility for management a nd supervision of the d a y to d a y operation of the crematorium on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council. This includes a degree of financial budgetar y work. We are presently entering a million a nd a quarter capital refurbishment of equipment to meet new environmental regulations.
Well so much for the job. How, as a Christian, c a n I bring my faith to bare a nd be a positive witness for the Lord? While there are, as you would might assume, many opportunities. However, b eca us e of the sensitive nature of the job, not always in perhaps the wa y we might think. Firstly being a local authority run facility we have to carefully operated in the context of “P.C. Regulations”. We are definitely not allowed to openly proselytise in any way. When I started we ha d a n almost 100 percent Christian staff. Great, I thought! But as I was soon to find out that not all who profess faith; believe in a nd practice the sa me Biblical based faith as many of us do. In fact some staff caused great harm to the faith by professing to staff a nd colleagues one thing, while the outworking in their lives was quite something else. We are still suffering the consequences, fallout a nd harm that this has caused. I think Rom 12: 2 should b e our watchword. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of the world, but be a new a nd different person with a freshness in all you do. (Paraphrase) Therefore as a Christian it does not ma ke witnessing to others easy. We need to, as firmly founded Christians, conduct our lives in a c c o r d a nc e with the Word of God, not compromising and allowing sinful desires to c o m e in. It m a y surprise you that we do not always have a lot of contact with the public to share with them as, most of the time, we only escort them in or out of the chapel. Where the do opportunities arise are in preparation for services. Families will often c o m e to see the facilities or make arrangement for when a where to have music played during services or determine the time they have. However the times that I have the most opportunity are when a family c o m e to see me after a service to discuss arrangements for interring/scattering remains or to discuss the available memorialisation. Over the years, sometimes in the most surprising times, opportunities are opened up where I try in a gentle a nd in a gracious way to share my faith a nd experience on a personal level. God has opened up some amazing circumstances. I remember two years a g o the tragedy of several young lads having died in a tragic car accident. Although the funeral service ha d been humanist, while talking to the mum a nd family along with the local Baptist minister at the interment of ashes, God opened up a n unexpected
opportunity. She had attended our Children’s Kings Club at Drumchapel UF as a youngster a n d I remembered her. Both Gordon a nd myself had, in this time of loss a n d grief, a c h a n c e to share. She already h a d heard, twenty years ago, the realities of knowing the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. She is still occasionally attending the Baptist church, please pray for her a n d her family. Other opportunities have been with funeral directors a nd council staff, a g a i n in the most unusual ways. Many of you know that over the last four years or so, I have h a d challenging times with my health. Both J e a n a n d the family would like to thank you for your greatly appreciated prayerful support. However these personal circumstances present a c h a n c e to share that, as a Christian, there is a real hope. That, in a real way, even through the difficult times of illness a n d the shadow of death, we c a n be see a nd be aware of God’s awesome hand at work. I have also been many blessings from the services heard. Life stories from the wee lady down the road to the well known a nd famous. Blessed from, even in difficult tragic times, hearing the Word from many Christian ministers. Others, unfortunately, giving a totally false a nd wrong interpretation from the Bible. Again a challenge a n d tremendous responsibility that those of us involved in faithfully proclaiming the Word of G od a n d His Truths. Occasionally, I do myself have the opportunity to take services, although not my part of my normal job. (Someone should tell one of the local funeral directors who keeps trying to use me). But it does h appe n that, at the last moment, I have ha d to step in because, for example, delays in clergy arriving. Well, who would want to b e a crematorium superintendent? Hopefully, I have shown how it c a n b e a n interesting a nd fulfilling job. Through some very testing times, a nd some amusing times, I have been blessed by my God who does indeed have a plan a n d purpose for His own.
The final word from Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not man”.
Moderator’s Update As I write this letter, Christine and I are over a third of the way through our Moderatorial Tour, having now visited ten congregations within our denomination (eleven if we include Sauchie!). Despite the fact that we have only seen a fairly small number of fellowships, it is very clear that e a c h is unique. They are all very different. The beginning of our journey has taken us to some of our more remote congregations. Balintore, Lossiemouth, Dounby, Northfield and Torry are all far removed from the Central Belt. With the exception of Dounby, all the congregations were known to us from our time in the Presbytery of the North. It was a particular blessing to return to Northfield, where we served prior to coming to Sauchie.
the next day! It is also far more difficult for members in the more distant congregations to c o me to events such as the Dunblane Day Event at the end of August, although I a m always amazed at the effort which some people make to be there. It is so encouraging. The other congregations which we have visited, namely, Bo’ness, Dalreoch, Whifflet, Candlish Wynd and Cathcar t are in the Central Belt, within reasonably easy travelling distance from Sauchie. Distance from the Church Headquarters is not the same problem. However, e a c h fellowship is distinct and e a c h has its own set of encouragements and challenges. It was a particular encouragement to visit Bo’ness where my long-standing friend Frank Hartley is the pastor. We were delighted to visit and also to meet with my former minister, Rev Jim Ross, who is presently worshipping there. Frank is his son-in-law. Our visitation around these congregations has caused me to examine what we read in the New Testament regarding different churches. In considering them, we discover that they too are all different. No church is the same as any other. Turning, for example, to consider the letters to the seven churches which are mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, we be com e very much aware of their diversity.
es Mu Jo hn
Bo r– ’n
I must comment on our visit to Dounby. Although s neither Christine or I had ever been there before, I have known Rev Joe Creelman for many years now. What is probably far less known, as Joe was delighted to tell the people, is that he a nd I were at school together! In actual fact, that needs some qualification. Joe was a teacher at Kilmarnock Ac ad em y in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I was a pupil. I still have memories of him from all those years back , despite the fact that he was never my teacher.
Distance from the Church Office in Glasgow obviously makes things that bit more difficult for our congregations in the north. Ministers and elders who serve on General Assembly Committees have greater distances to travel. I c a n sympathise as I have memories of catching the train from Aberdeen just after 7am and not returning home until the middle of the evening, a nd not being worth a button
In Revelation, we are told that the church in Ephesus is commended for hard work and perseverance, but challenged regarding their need to repent for not loving the Lord as they ought. The church at Smyrna receives the writer’s praise for their faithfulness in the midst of suffering. There is encouragement for the church at Pergamum because they remained true to the Lord despite the opposition around them. They are, however, challenged because they have allowed certain ungodly individuals to have a p l ac e in their midst. The church in Thyatira is praised for works of service, love, faith a nd perseverance, but they are criticised for tolerating a n immoral woman. The author, John, begins his letter to the church at Sardis by telling them that although they have a reputation for being spiritually alive, they are actually spiritually d ea d . Nevertheless, they are commended for there being some in their midst who are walking with the Lord. The next church, that in Philadelphia, receives no rebuke at all. They are praised for keeping God’s Word and for not denying His name. The opposite is the c a s e as regards the final church mentioned, which is the church at Laodicea. Although this church is condemned for being neither hot nor cold, John, sadly, has nothing positive to say about them. John’s words present the situation in these churches, as we might say, “warts and all.” The question concerns what might be a true picture of the congregations in the United
From Rev Graham G. Brown
es ’n Bo ll Lin da Be
Free Church of Scotland. Given the situation, what might the Lord be trying to say to us – regarding how we ca n progress in the future? I a m aware that many congregations in our denomination probably present as good a picture of their life a nd witness as is possible when the Moderator of the General Assembly pays a visit. We have certainly seen positive signs in all the congregations which we have visited. We have been shown love and generosity in abundance . Faithful members of these congregations are carrying on excellent service, often in situations of great difficulty. They must b e encouraged for their faithfulness a nd perseverance. I would regard such encouragement as one of my tasks. It has been my privilege to present long-service certificates to office bearers in a number of our congregations. We thank Go d for their faithful service. One of my other tasks, which is also a great privilege and responsibility, is that of bringing a message from the Word of Go d to e a c h congregation which we visit. That, in fact, is also the task of every preacher, but it is of special importance to me on these Moderatorial visits. I a m constantly reminded of what we read in the fourth chapter of the letter to the Hebrews on this theme. The writer says, “For the word of Go d is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
There is, however, one other issue which I’d like to share. During my visit to the Assembly of the Baptist Union of Scotland, I was challenged by a n address entitled, “Keep Bad Company”. That title might cause many Christians to question exactly what the preacher could have been talking about. Our calling, after all, as the people of God, is to be different. Are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ not called upon to avoid being contaminated by the things (and by people) of the world? Part of the message was based on one particular verse in 1 Peter chapter 2, where the writer encourages his readers as follows. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they a c c us e you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify G o d on the da y He visits us.” It is the fact that the writer mentions, “among the pagans” which stands out. As the speaker rightly said, Christians c a n only be a witness to those who do not share their faith when they take time to meet with them and to share with them. In other words, there is a need to keep the company of people who do not have faith in Christ. Sadly, many Christians would seem to have very few, if any, non-Christian friends. If we are honest, congregational life c a n often contribute to that isolation from people who do not ha ve a living faith in Jesus. The need is that we do not b e c om e so bogged down with “church” that we are freed up to befriend a nd to spend time with people who do not share the faith. Otherwise, how are they going to know the truth an d have a n opportunity to respond? I firmly believe that churches c a n be revived through the preaching of God’s Word and by prayer, but the need for individual believers to have the opportunity to share their faith in a relaxed, informal way with unbelievers whom are their friends is paramount. There’s the challenge!
The truth is that it is only God’s Word which c a n c ha nge people’s hearts and the situations of discouragement which often exist in the lives of congregations. Revival c a n only com e when God’s Word is faithfully preached and when the Holy Spirit is able to use that Word to turn people’s lives upside down. The challenge to the people of Go d has to be one of prayer. On that same theme, I would humbly ask that you pray for Christine and I as we continue our travels. We would ask that you pray that we might be a n encouragement wherever we go. At the same time, it is our prayer that the Word of Go d which is shared would c ha ng e people’s hearts a nd lives, and build them up in the things of God. If and when that happens then there will b e far more positive aspects regarding the life of our congregations than there will be negative aspects.
hif W ll Da vid Ki
By Margaret Wright
Book Review By Andrew Scott
Recently Mrs Wemyss Billows from Balintore UF visited Bargeddie UF to speak to the Women’s meeting; with ladies from Chryston a nd Millerston joining them. The theme was how to make Scripture Ca ke with a recipe taken from The Wynd Cookbook that was originally submitted by the late Mrs Whitelock of the Candlish Wynd Congregation.
Bonhoeffer – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, with a foreword by Timothy Keller Published by Thomas Nelson RRP: £12.99 Available online £8.39 (Inc P&P) a n d £7.41 Kindle.
On the evening Mrs Billows was assisted by Mrs Baird who, as the scriptures were read out, a d d e d the ingredients to the cake. The recipe is m a d e up from 12 items from various books of the Bible a nd the interest is in picking out the ingredients one by one from the clues as listed: 1
1/2 lb Judges 5:25
“He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk”.
1/2 lb Jeremiah 6:20
“What do I c are about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land?”
1 dsp. 1st Samuel 14:25
“The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground.”
3 of Jeremiah 17:11
“Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means.”
1/2 lb Nahum 3:12
“All your fortresses are like fig-trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.”
1/2 lb 1st Samuel 30:12
“Part of a c ake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.”
2 oz. Numbers 17:8
which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.”
1 lb 1st Kings 4:22
“Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal,”
Season to taste with 2nd Chronicles 9:9
“Then she g ave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones.
Pinch of Leviticus 2:13
“The next d ay Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff,
“Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your G o d out of your grain offerings; a dd salt to all your offerings.”
1 tsp. Amos 4:5
“Burn leaven bread as a thank-offering and brag about your freewill offerings – boast about them, you Israelites, for this what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD.”
3 tsps. Judges 4:19
“I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.”
Beat 1, 2 a nd 3 to a cream. Add 4, one at a time, alternately with 8, 9, 10, 11, having previously been mixed, then beat well. Add 5 & 6 chopped and blanched, and last of all a d d 12.
There had never been such spices as those the queen of Shebe gave to King Solomon.”
Bake in a moderate oven for about 2 hours.
This is a big book, but a n easy read. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was all of these things and this biography fleshes out his life in all these aspects. As a pastor and leader of the Confessing Church in Germany he pastored churches in Spain, England, and Germany. As a martyr he was arrested by the Gestapo, a nd eventually executed just before the end of the war in 1945. As a prophet he was tireless in calling the church in Germany to be true to the Gospel and not to Hitler’s vision of what Germany should be. As a spy he was involved in plots to overthrow the Nazi regime. This is both a fascinating and at the same time chilling book as it chronicles the almost complete and headlong apostasy of the Lutheran Church in Germany. To quote from the book: “The Reichsbischof (church leader) thought that by wedding the church to the state they would restore the church and Germany to her former glory.” One Lutheran pastor even spoke of the communion bread “symbolizing the body of the earth that firm and strong remains true to the German soil.” The insidious rise of National Socialism is graphically depicted. One example was the passing of the Nuremberg Laws which stated “Jews are forbidden to display the Reichsflagge. On the other hand they are permitted to display the Jewish colours. The exercise of this right is protected by the state.” This so-called “protection” misled many. This biography takes us from Bonhoeffer’s childhood to student days in Berlin, to his pastorate in Barcelona, to Union Theological College in New York, to his friendships with the Bishop of Chichester and Karl Barth, and of course to the long struggle against the “German Christians” alliance with National Socialism. Why read this book? For members of the United Free Church
Mrs Billows shared how on giving her heart
on us accepting God’s gift, whether
to the Lord she fa c e d opposition being told that it was a phase a nd she would get over it. But she trusted in Jesus’ wonderful love and G o d just a d d e d and a d d e d to her Christian life just like the ingredients of the c a ke were being a d d e d one at a time. She then shared how just as the c a ke bakes silently a nd rising up, so too does the life of Christ in us as the Holy Spirit works silently in our lives moulding our attitudes. But that Spiritual growth depends
hospitality, baking, teaching, visiting, music, flowers, etc: and allowing us to grow as God’s Children. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, as baking binds all of the ingredients of a c a ke together, so Jesus draws us all together. As the c a ke has to rise, so Jesus will raise us up to be with himself as we keep on encouraging and supporting e a c h other in serving our Lord.
this is a book about someone who understood the perils of church and state entering into unholy alliances, and how fatal this is for the proclamation of the Gospel. A helpful feature is a section at the end of the book entitled “Reading Group Guide” intended for a reading group to use by discussing some of the many questions posed in the biography. For example Bonhoeffer said that “if you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction”. Should he (the Guide asks) have joined with the German Christians to work against their ideology from within?
I believe this book will give food for thought to any reader.
Rev Gar y J. A. Barclay Appointed as Moderator Designate The Moderator Designate of our 2014 General Assembly will be Rev Gar y J. A. Barclay BD (Hons). Mr Barclay is minister of Murrayfield United Free Church in Bannockburn. Mr Barclay was born in Keith, Banffshire in 1960 and moved to Aberdeen when he was five. He attended Torry A c a d em y and started attending a church youth group which met in the A c a d emy on a Saturday evening. He then be ga n attending Torry UF Church, where at a g e 15 he came to faith under the ministry of Rev J. G. McPhee. On leaving school he worked with British Rail in Signals and Telecommunications. Sensing a call to Ministry, he completed evening classes at Aberdeen College of Commerce and undertook a BD degree at St. Andrews University, graduating in 1994. He was called in 1994 to b e minister at Croftfoot UF Church in Glasgow, where he served for 8 years until being called to Murrayfield UF Church, Bannockburn in 2002. As well as his work in these congregations and communities, he has served the Church as Moderator of the Presbytery of the East. Nationally he has served at different times as Convener of the Evangelism and Youth Committee, the Administration and Finance Committee, the Ministry Committee, an d is currently Vice-convener of the Overseas Committee. Mr Barclay is married to Elspeth and has a daughter a nd two sons.
Tributes Ena Gilchrist Milngavie UF
Walter Paul Perth UF
Ena Gilchrist was called to her rest on Wednesday 25th September, six months after her 91st birthday. For forty years she h ad been keenly involved in working for her Lord in Milngavie UF Church. She served for many years as a n elder a n d member of the Congregational Board, was a n active member of the Ladies’ Fellowship a nd sang in the church choir. Ena was always interested in the local community a n d helped at Friendship House, where she was a member of the Management Team. She was always involved in a ny of the joint events held by the local churches
Walter’s character shone through everything he did a nd his work in his latter years for the church in Perth was crucial. He has been referred to as “the glue that held the UF church in Perth together.” That was no exaggeration. If Walter agreed to do something, consider it done.
Until fairly recently, Ena was the ‘Tea Lady’ for the Men’s Choir, meeting in the church hall on Saturday mornings. She was a very practical person a n d DIY came naturally to her. Her skills with needlework a n d sewing machines were par excellence, a nd we have ma ny examples around the church. Ena ha d a great sense of humour a n d fun. On one occasion the organist ha pp ened to play a rather lively closing voluntary a n d on turning from the organ he was confronted by the sight of Ena Gilchrist a n d Alice Mathieson dancing together down the aisle! When threatened with being reported to the Kirk Session, the response was that there are Biblical precedents for people ‘dancing before the Lord’ a n d ‘praising Him in the dance’! These are some lighter aspects of Ena’s life – but her’s was also a deeply spiritual testimony, a n d the Lord always h a d first p l a c e in her life. Only in exceptional circumstances was she ever absent from morning a nd evening worship a n d we shall therefore miss her all the more. Indeed, the Kirk won’t seem quite the same without her; but in mourning her passing, we also celebrate a long life lived to the full; comforted by the knowledge that the days of her recent suffering are over, a nd she is now in the presence of the Saviour she has loved for so many years.
He b e c a m e a banker a nd mover out to Africa, working with the Standard Chartered Bank , working in Nigeria, Swaziland and Botswana. However, it was in Scotland he found his wife, Mary. Walter ha d a zest for life which carried him through a series of tragedies. Some years later Walter suffered a brain tumour which involved a number of operations. It left him with some impairment but this did not deter him in a ny way. A severe road accident where he broke his neck , likewise took some time to recover from, but a g ain he bounced ba c k . Sadly, Mar y his wife of thirty years, died from c a nc e r shortly after wards. Walter met these setbacks with his customary faith, resilience a nd positive outlook. Walter ha d many interests besides the church. Growing up in the country which gave him a love for beautiful things a nd he was a great walker, completing the West Highland Way while recuperating from illness. His walking earned him the nickname, “Walking Walter.” He was a keen bowler also, fund raiser for Crossroads. Dolphins Disabled Swimming, WRVS a nd in 1999 was na m e d carer of the year. A great traveller also, going on frequent trips, mainly in Africa. Walter met another companion, Morag, a nd they were married in 2006. Together they travelled extensively round the world. Morag developed c a nce r a nd was nurse by Walter until she died. Walter himself passed a w a y just twelve weeks later. At the church we ha d only known Walter for a few years but in that time he proved to be a rock , nothing was too much trouble. He took on a multitude of tasks a nd did them efficiently a nd well. He truly was the glue. His commitment, capability, good humour a nd triumph through adversity was a n inspiration to all who knew him, so his loss is all the more keenly felt. Our prayers are with his daughter, Fiona, son-in-law Sean a nd sister Mary.
UNITED FREE CHURCH of SCOTLAND