As long as I don’t go out in the cold, or look at the remaining snow, I can imagine it’s Spring by the clear blue sky. I know some have had an ‘interesting’ first few weeks of Spring none more so than here on Arran.
But despite the unusual weather we have celebrated the most awesome of historic and cosmic events. The very core of our hope, our life and our message, the Good News of Easter. I trust the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection refreshed you anew in your faith and that you had the privilege of seeing others renewed in their faith or brought to faith for the first time.
I know South Beach Church had the wonder of seeing several young people baptised on Palm Sunday evening, what an encouragement that should be to us all whether we were able to be there or not.
It was a joy to see those that could come to the Network Fellowship Meal on 1st March at South Beach. We were blessed by the praise time put together by folk from South Beach and of course the superb meal they prepared for us (did anyone notice the daffodils and a Welsh waitress in honour of it being St. David’s day?)
From feedback I’ve had, the opportunity to move tables between courses and the extended time to get to chat to folk from other fellowships was much appreciated.
One of the hopes for that time was also that you might find something another fellowship was doing, or had done, and get not only new ideas to try but also know who to call on for help and advice.
We are grateful also to Alan Donaldson for taking the time to come and share with us a word of challenge and encouragement.
Again I’ve asked some folk in our churches to share something of their experience with us. We focus on a particular way they have of reaching outside of their own fellowship into the community.
Basement Youth Cafe (Kilmarnock Church)
Basement Youth Cafe has been running for two years on a Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. We provide 11-18 year olds with a safe space to engage in different activities from painting nails to Xbox games. The young people have space to meet and socialize with old and new friends.
Over a weekend we can see forty to fifty young people from different schools and different family upbringings. At the cafe they come together, forming new friendships and developing their personal and social skills. As staff, we have the privilege of seeing the young people develop and the positive impact this can have. We now look forward to how the cafe can be developed to ensure we can continue to support the young people in the community.
Lunchbox (Arran Church)
It’s pretty safe to say that people usually enjoy nice food and most enjoy company. Add a nice setting, opportunity to meet friends and make friends and, of course, lots of time to chat and you’re there!
That is what is behind ‘Lunchbox’, a fortnightly outreach event run by Arran Baptist Church. Every second Thursday, from September to June, we run this event, when there is also an interesting talk, usually with some Christian input. On some occasions there is a direct gospel challenge, but even when that is not included there is an opportunity at the tables to share Jesus in some way. ‘Lunchbox’ is non-threatening, what we might call ‘low key evangelism’. Apart from giving thanks for the food we don’t have prayers… unless there is something special that folk can relate to.
‘Lunchbox’ is fronted by a couple of older members in the church and there is great co-operation from the whole fellowship. The ‘punters’ love it and God is touching people.
Could this pattern of outreach be what you are looking for in your church?
It is also worth noting other ventures.
- Bourtreehill have the Oasis Cafe and Breakfast church.
- Stranraer are involved with the Food Bank
- South Beach have started a Debt Counselling service.
If you have ideas it is always worth asking and we can find other churches that might have experiences they can share with you.
Thanks to Rev. Kenneth Ross we are beginning to build a South West Region web site. Do check out this work in progress which we hope will become a useful tool for our churches. www.southwestbaptists.org.uk
For Your Diary.
We are planning another Praise and Prayer evening this time hosted by Stranraer Baptist Church. This will be on Friday 17 May. We will start at 7.30 and finish by 8.30 followed by a cup of tea concluding at 9 at the latest. (The unusually strict time table is to encourage those travelling a distance to attend.)
22 June will be a big day for Girvan when Adam Oellermann will be ordained and inducted as their pastor. (Events start at 3pm)
Also, following the enjoyable picnic at Culzean last year, we are planning another one for 14th September (NB. changed from original date of 7th September). 11am to 3pm. As part of this we will take a short time for our AGM where churches can confirm, or otherwise, their ongoing support of the Networker system. (More details later.)
I wish you all God’s richest blessings as you work in His Church.
Rev. Vince Jennings (Mission Networker)
Do feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to you:
12a Murray Place
Isle of Arran
Phone: 01770 600 222