Representing Scotland in Canada

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Last month, Stephen represented the RP Church of Scotland over two day-long meetings of the RP Global Alliance Advisory Committee.

The RP Global Alliance was established in 2015 and has representatives from the RP Churches in Scotland, Ireland, the United States and Canada. RP works in Japan and Asia are represented through the RPCNA.

L-R: Bill Matthess (Ireland), Andrew Stewart (Australia), Matt Filbert (US - via Skype), Andrew Quigley & Matt Kingswood (Canada)

L-R: Bill Matthess (Ireland), Andrew Stewart (Australia), Matt Filbert (US - via Skype), Andrew Quigley & Matt Kingswood (Canada)

Here’s an introduction to the work of the Global Alliance, taken from its constitution:

It has become clear that in recent years the Reformed Presbyterian denominations worldwide have seen new Churches established in regions where hitherto no Reformed Presbyterian Churches had existed. In addition there are further opportunities for expansion in Asia and South America. These developments are to be welcomed, encouraged, and supported where possible.

We are of the view that the time is now opportune to build on the existing relationships which have been nurtured and developed over the past 200 years.  These relationships have placed us in the very privileged position of being able to share in fellowship and mutual help at an international level, even though we are, for the most part, small national Churches.

As part of their work, the Global Alliance oversee a website and Facebook page, which are regularly updated with news from the RP Churches around the world.


On the Lord’s Day evening prior to the meetings, Stephen preached in Russell RP Church. The minister there is Matt Kingswood, who spoke at the RP International Conference in Ireland during the summer.

Former Stranraer striker speaks of suicide attempt

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Former Stranraer FC striker Christian Nadé recently opened up to BBC Sport about the time he attempted suicide - two years before he joined the club.

He described how speaking to a pastor helped him turn the corner:

“I managed to talk to a pastor. I opened up to him and he started to talk to me about God and made my faith very strong. Now it doesn't matter what's happening to me, I feel very, very strong and never lonely because I've got the faith that God is always with me and he loves me no matter what.”

Earlier this year Stephen attended a 2-day Mental Health First Aid Course as part of his role as Stranraer FC chaplain. Footage from the course has since been used by a documentary on mental health in football - Tackling the Mind:

Big Brother hasn't gone away

The final series of the TV show Big Brother may just have finished - but Big Brother hasn't gone away. Last week, Nicola Sturgeon described herself as the 'chief corporate parent', or as she prefers it, 'chief mammy'. While doubtless intended to be endearing, Sturgeon's admission highlights a growing trend of government interference in family life. Recent examples of this are the proposed Named Person scheme (ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in 2016), government efforts to stand between parents and their young children on the issue of gender self-identification, and Scottish Government support for a bill by Green MSP John Finnie to ban smacking.


This latest effort is despite the fact that 74% of Scots say that smacking should not be a criminal offence (though the Church of Scotland disagrees). While the Government claims a connection between smacking and aggressive behaviour in adolescence and adulthood, there is no evidential basis for such an assertion. In fact, the author of the bill admits to smacking his own children and says they turned out to be 'well-rounded'!

Not only does the proposed bill ignore both the public and the evidence, its supporters consistently misrepresent the current law by claiming that the new legislation is about protecting children from assault. In actual fact, any smack that leaves more than a temporary reddening of the skin is already illegal, as are smacks aimed at the head. The present law ensures that parents will not be prosecuted for using light, reasonable discipline. The new legislation would turn good parents into criminals for simply tapping their kids on the back of the hand or pulling them away from the side of the road. Meanwhile, police and social workers will be flooded with trivial cases, leaving them struggling to stop genuine child abuse.

The Government is also trying to rewrite history in an attempt to force through the bill, claiming to have 'long opposed the physical punishment of children', when as recently as 2017 Ministers said they did not believe a ban was 'appropriate', while similar legislation was opposed by the SNP in 2002.

Those who perhaps breathe a sigh of relief that Christianity doesn't dictate morals as it once did may just be starting to worry about what it's been replaced with. A God-sized vacuum has been left behind, which the Government is all too happy to try and fill.

Published in the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, 8th November 2018

A Bible saved me from suicide

Stephen’s former roommate David Duly has been in Stranraer a number of times - as a GO Teamer and also just to visit. Last week he was featured on BBC Songs of Praise in a piece about the work of the Gideons, an organisation that distributes Bibles. In the clip above, he tells about how a Gideons Bible saved his life.

David giving us a hand with the work to the new hall the last time he was in Stranraer

David giving us a hand with the work to the new hall the last time he was in Stranraer