Mission teams

Mission Update Meeting

A relief team to Romania

A relief team to Romania

Last week, two members of the RP Church’s Relief Committee came to Stranraer to speak about the practical work they do, both locally and overseas. It was a great opportunity to hear more about the work, and think through how we can get involved, both as individuals and as a congregation.

The men did a similar presentation in Glasgow the night before, and you can read a report about it on the RPCS website.

GO Team 2018

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This past weekend (24th-27th Aug) we welcomed Rachel, Ross, Eilidh, Heather, Jess, Nathan, Anah, Ken, Calvin and Sam on our annual GO Team. This year's team consisted of ten people - five from Scotland and five from Ireland! Six of them were here last year, and two were doing their very first team! We also had Jude around as an honorary team member!

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The main work of the team was to organise our Family Fun Day, but we fitted in a few other things when they were here, starting with a viewing of the movie 'Calvinist' with some of the congregation on Friday night.

The team joined the congregation for the prayer meeting and worship on the Lord's Day morning, followed by a church lunch.

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After lunch, we went round to Dalrymple Court (sheltered housing), where Stephen and Jude introduced some psalms, which we sang with the residents, before spending some time chatting with them. In the evening, the team were with the congregation for worship and supper afterwards.

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On Monday morning we had a prayer time, before heading to Glentrool in Galloway Forest Park to see the grave of six Covenanters who were shot while praying on 23 January 1685.

The inscription reads: HERE LYES JAMES AND ROBERT DUNS, THOMAS AND JOHN STEVENSONS, JAMES McCLIVE ANDREU McCALL WHO WERE SURPRISED AT PRAYER IN THIS HOUSE BY COLONELL DOUGLAS LIEVTENANT LIVINGSTON AND JAMES DOUGLAS, AND BY THEM MOST IMPIOVSLY AND CRUELLY MURTHER'D FOR THEIR ADHERANCE TO SCOTLAND'S REFORMATION COVENANTS NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE 1685.

The inscription reads: HERE LYES JAMES AND ROBERT DUNS, THOMAS AND JOHN STEVENSONS, JAMES McCLIVE ANDREU McCALL WHO WERE SURPRISED AT PRAYER IN THIS HOUSE BY COLONELL DOUGLAS LIEVTENANT LIVINGSTON AND JAMES DOUGLAS, AND BY THEM MOST IMPIOVSLY AND CRUELLY MURTHER'D FOR THEIR ADHERANCE TO SCOTLAND'S REFORMATION COVENANTS NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE 1685.

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The monument surrounding the gravestone was 'erected by the voluntary contributions of a congregation who waited on the ministrations of the Rev. Gavin Rowatt of Whithorn' on 19th August 1827. Rowatt, a son of the manse, was RP minister at Whithorn from 1826 until his death in 1832 - he was only 30 years old.

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Back in Stranraer, we went to Belmont Care Home, and put on a musical performance for the residents, before finishing with a time of psalm singing.

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After that, there was just time for a Chinese takeaway before the team members departed via boat, train and car. It was a memorable weekend for the congregation and we're grateful to the GO team for coming and serving so willingly.

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 June 2018.

GO Team & Church Family Weekend 2017

The last weekend of August was an encouraging time for us as a congregation. With the help of an RP GO Team (short term mission team) we ran our first ever church family weekend!

The team arrived on the Friday afternoon and went to Belmont Care Home where the team entertained the residents and then we introduced and sang a few psalms.

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On the Friday night, we watched a new documentary on Martin Luther that's been produced to celebrate 500 years since the Reformation began.

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We invited some of the local churches to come on the Saturday and we started off the morning with coffee and scones. Ken Nelson, an elder in Trinity RP Church and part of the GO Team, shared his story of trusting God in the wake of a brain aneurysm. During his talk, the GO Team put on a programme of activities for the children, with a talk, craft etc.

In the afternoon, we were joined by some friends from Ayr Free Church Continuing for a Kids' Fun Afternoon with bouncy castle, candy floss makers, popcorn maker etc. We finished things off with a church BBQ, and then some of the GO team helped the young people in the congregation to make desserts for the church lunch the next day.

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On the Lord's Day the team worshipped with the congregation and Stephen preached on the Bible's picture of the church as a family. After worship we had lunch together, and then the team visited Dalrymple Court (sheltered housing) to sing some psalms. In the evening, Stephen began a new series on Galatians and the team joined the congregation for our usual post-service supper.

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On Monday, we visited Covenanter sites in Wigtown, where the team also had the opportunity to visit the local secondhand bookshops and coffee shops in Scotland's National Book Town.

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We are grateful to God for a great weekend and a growing sense of fellowship among the congregation!

Daily updates on the team as it happened were posted on the GO Teams website:
- Stranraer GO Team: Day 1 (Friday)
- Stranraer GO Team: Saturday and Sunday

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