Senior Camp 2018

For the past 17 years, our minister Stephen has spent the first week of July at Senior Camp - a camp for young people aged 16+, currently held in Armagh. After 8 years as a camper, this was his 9th and final year on the committee.

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This year there were 82 campers, 16 committee members and 11 cooks - with around 15% of the campers/committee coming from Scotland. The speaker this year was David McCullough, church planting minister of Woodstock Reformed Presbyterian Church in East Belfast. David was Stephen's minister growing up, and when he and Carla first got married, and will be speaking in Stranraer on 25th August at our church family weekend.

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David's talks were on the book of Hebrews, and are available to listen to/download below:

Here are some of the reflections from others who travelled over from Scotland for the camp - they were asked about the talks, the activities and their favourite part of camp:

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Sarah

1. Rev David McCullough preached through the book of Hebrews. We explored what Jesus Christ achieved when He came to earth, being the "final word", winning the battle in restoring all that man ruined and living a perfectly obedient life to God. Christ is a perfect example of the way we should live our life in that he pleased God in all that he thought, said and did. I learnt therefore that without Christ, we would have no Shepherd to guide us the right way. We can always trust in Him, He understands us as He came in our form and through His death for us we can seek for forgiveness from God.

2. The weather was amazing all week so I really enjoyed the sports outside like the team activities and the paint-balling. As a very competitive individual, I took it very seriously so enjoyed when our team won and at the same time made many new friends!

3. As it was my first camp, I loved getting to know people and everyone was really easy to get on with. Being in fellowship and amongst other Christians really strengthened me and by the end, I had not only made some great friendships, but had also grown in faith with God.

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Eilidh

1. Over the week we did a study in the book of Hebrews. In the talks Rev McCullough very vividly described the life and example of Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. In the talks we were reminded that not only is Jesus our saviour, but he is our “shepherd”, our “ king”, our “captain”, our “liberator”, our “champion” and our “Great high priest”. He is all the above and more. He came to restore. He is able to sympathise with us in whatever we face in our lives, I found this very encouraging as it doesn’t take you long to look around you and see that it is a very secular world we live in yet we are comforted by looking to Him and knowing that he is “the same yesterday, today and forever” - Hebrews 13 vs 8

2. We had excellent weather at camp this year it lasted the whole week!! I loved taking part in all of the sports outside, especially all the group activities where we all had to work as a team... I’m still recovering from our tug of war!!

3. My favourite part of camp this year was definitely getting the opportunity to share fellowship with other young Christians, the week went past so quickly in their company!!

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Emily

1. The talks at camp this year focused on Hebrews. I found them very encouraging as a reminder that,  even though we are vulnerable sheep that so easily wander and get distracted, we have a great Shepherd and High Priest who is always looking out for us. It was especially encouraging to be reassured that even though we struggle with temptations on earth that Jesus understands exactly what we’re going through and has not only been faced with temptations we might be facing but ones others are facing as well. 

2. I really enjoyed the paint-balling as I hadn’t done it before and thought it was a great experience (even though it was roasting and we were running around in big boiler suits!) I also enjoyed the sports outside in the sun.

3. My favourite part of camp was definitely reuniting with friends and building up new friendships through fellowship together.

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Jessica

1. The talks this year I found very relevant to young people today. We are surrounded in schools by non-christians 24/7 where they do not understand us and try to change us. Due to this it can result in us being 'embarrassed' of Jesus which Rev McCullough spoke about. Why should we be ashamed/ embarrassed of Jesus when he isn't of us? Instead of being embarrassed and ashamed of us he died on the cross to save us and he made that known. He loves us as he is our shepherd, our king, our champion, our great high priest, our hero. We should be holding fast onto him as he is to us and as David said, we should be eager to be learning more about Jesus in order to tighten the grip meaning it is less harder to let go when tempted.

2. I really enjoyed the whole week!! Due to the really warm weather there was a hose pipe ban when we were over meaning no messy games which is always a plus! Didn't have to put up the smell of fish guts and cat food etc for a whole week! So my favourite activity was the non messy games as we didn't have to get messy!!

3.  My favourite part of camp was definitely the same as Eilidih and Emily! I loved being able to chill and talk to friends and to develop those friendships face to face. So used to just talking to everyone online so it was good to be able to put my phone down for the week and just have fellowship with one another!

Look out for more reflections on the RPCS website soon!

Mission Team 2018

Each June our congregation benefits from having an RP Missions team for a week. The team are in Scotland for a month, and spend time with each of the congregations.

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This year, the Mission Team were in Stranraer from 9th-14th June. We had a smaller team from usual, led by Ian (a student for the ministry from Glasgow RPCS) and three Americans: Carlie, Hannah and Matthew. Matthew (RPCNA) served on the two previous Scottish RP Mission Teams, while it was the girls' (both Reformed Baptists) first time in Scotland. They had both found the team online while searching for a missions trip that focused on evangelism and (to paraphrase them slightly) wasn't a glorified vacation.

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The team arrived on one of the warmest days of the year and immediately began the task of leaflet distribution, assisted by a few others who had come for the day to help out. The leaflets were advertising our 2018 Mission, which had the theme 'Who needs Jesus anyway?'.

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On the following day, the team joined the congregation for morning worship, followed by a church lunch. After the lunch, a couple of the team members shared a little about God's work in their lives, and then we went across to Dalrymple Court (retirement housing) where we sang some psalms and spent time with the residents. In the evening, the team joined us for evening worship before spending some time at home of one of the families in the congregation.

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Leaflet distribution continued on the Monday and Tuesday, with dinner each evening at the home of different members of the congregation. On the Tuesday and Wednesday evening the team played games with some of the young people in the congregation (who have little to no contact with other Christian young people).

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The Mission services took place on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. We were encouraged to have a number of visitors, including two Mormons who came on the Wednesday and returned the next evening.

On the Wednesday morning the team went to Stair Park (home of Stranraer FC - to whom Stephen is club chaplain) to do some clean-up work in preparation for the new season. 

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On the Thursday, the team visited some local Covenanter sites at Anwoth (where Samuel Rutherford ministered) and Wigtown (where the Two Margarets were martyred).

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Following the final Mission service the team departed to spend the weekend in Glasgow before heading up to Stornoway. We are thankful for their work and pray that their time in Scotland will be a blessing to them, just as they have been a blessing to us.

To read an article Stephen wrote for the local paper introducing the Mission Team, click here.

 

 

From the States to Stranraer

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Why would a group of 20-somethings from Texas, Virginia and South Dakota take time off their jobs and spend part of their summer in Stranraer? That’s a question that some of our summer visitors from the States have been asked.

In merely practical terms, the answer is quite simple. They’ve come to serve the church and the community. Since they arrived on Saturday, they’ve been giving out leaflets advertising special meetings we’re holding this week, spent some time with residents in retirement housing, carried out some practical work at Stair Park and helped some of our church members in practical ways.

But why would they chose to do those things? They’re not getting paid – in fact, they had to pay their own way here. The real answer is that each of their lives has been transformed by Jesus Christ – and they want to see the lives of people in this community changed as well.

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Their vision is broader than simply helping a particular ‘brand’ of church. Only one of them is from a Reformed Presbyterian Church back home, yet they’ve come to serve a small congregation in a denomination most of them hadn’t heard of before – because they recognise that we’re all part of something bigger. The things we have in common as Bible-believing Christians are far more significant than the issues on which we differ.

It’s easy to be cynical about naïve Americans – but some of them have been through experiences I wouldn’t wish on anyone. They’ve experienced more of the hardships of life than their sunny dispositions might suggest.

Above all they’re here because they believe that everyone needs Jesus: bad people, good people and religious people. And in fact, those are the titles of the three meetings that we’ve been holding from Tuesday through Thursday this week.

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Come along and you can meet them and hear their stories yourself. But their great desire is that long after they’re back home and forgotten, the one story that our town will remember is that of the Son of God. Our American friends may have come from somewhere more glamorous to Stranraer, but he came from Heaven to earth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God and then went to the cross to face God’s wrath for our disobedience.

We may hear a lot on the news about our visitors’ President – but they’re far more eager to talk about their King.

Published in the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, 14th April 2018.

American visitors

We recently had the opportunity to hear about the work of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Jason and Michelle, who were over visiting from Indianapolis with their two children, gave us a bit of a flavour of church life Stateside at our Wednesday morning Bible study.

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Stephen and Jason had previously met on a mission team in Newry, and Carla and Michelle had previously met on a mission team in Airdrie. Because of their vision for the Global RP Church, they said that they had decided to spend their European holiday in Airdrie and Stranraer rather than Barcelona and London.

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After sharing some traditional Scottish food, Stephen and Carla took them to Wigtown to show them some Covenanter sites.  We are grateful for another opportunity to spend time with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world!

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