Stranraer FC

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:

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.


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.


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?'.


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.


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).


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. 


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


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.



Mental Health First Aid

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Stephen recently attended a two-day Mental Health First Aid course at Hampden Park as part of his role as Stranraer FC chaplain. It was an NHS course, but tailored towards football and funded by the Chris Mitchell Foundation.

Chris was a Scottish football who tragically took his own life in 2016. The Foundation exists to raise awareness and funding for mental health first aid training.

The course was attended by a number of other chaplains, but also by others involved in both men's and women's football - including a SPFL manager, an academy director and a current Scotland women's international.

It was a very helpful two days learning more about a vitally important topic.

Who's shirt are you wearing? (Newspaper article)

As of Saturday I’m now the proud owner of a Stranraer FC shirt with ‘Malcom 9’ on the back – the name and number of the second top scorer in the club’s history. The first game of the season was an opportunity to pick up the shirt of the player that I’d sponsored last season, which turned out to be Craig Malcolm’s last with the club.

Sadly however putting on his shirt won’t improve my football ability. If it was that easy I would go straight out and buy one that said ‘Ronaldo’ on the back! It will still be the old me inside it. Putting on a shirt with someone else’s name on it doesn’t give you their skills, identity, achievements or medals.

But amazingly, what isn’t true of a football shirt, is true of a Christian’s relationship with God. The Bible talks about ‘putting on Christ’. That means trusting in him to make us acceptable in God’s sight. The astounding truth of the Bible is that when we ‘put on Christ’ then immediately, in God’s sight, all Jesus’ achievements become ours.

As a minister I’ve found that the biggest misconception about Heaven is that people think they can earn the right to go there – by church attendance, living a good life, giving to charity etc. That leaves ‘good’ people feeling proud because they think they’ve done enough, and ‘bad’ people feeling hopeless because they know they haven’t. But the Bible makes it clear that earning a place in Heaven is way beyond out ability – it’s impossible. The only person who has ever deserved Heaven is Jesus Christ. And so when we stand before God, the question won’t be, ‘did your good deeds outweigh your bad ones?’ but ‘who’s shirt are you wearing?’. There is nothing to earn. Jesus has done it all. He has met God’s standards. All we have to ‘do’ is accept his free gift.

I was handed Malky’s shirt on Saturday because a year ago I’d paid a fee. But for us to be handed the achievements of Jesus, there is nothing to pay. The Bible describes Heaven as a wedding feast. Jesus warns that those who turn up without the right ‘clothes’ on will be thrown out. If we are hoping for our own efforts to cover us before God, they’ll let us down. We will only get in if we are clothed with the achievements of Jesus.

Published in Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, 29th June 2017

Mission team wrap-up

- Encouraging first full day with Mission Team
- Mission Team: Monday and Tuesday

Having finished distributing leaflets to homes in Stranraer, the team did the villages of Castle Kennedy, Stoneykirk and Sandhead.

In the afternoon two of the team came with Stephen to the Cafe N-Spire recovery cafe he helps out with - sadly the weather meant we weren't able to go fishing as planned, but it was still a good opportunity to chat to those there - and experience some Scottish culture!

The rest of the team did practical work, such as getting the church hall ready for the first night of the mission and gardening. They then went to different peoples houses for dinner, before meeting back at the church hall in time for the first of our special services.

With the leaflets finished, the team had the opportunity to see some of the many sites around us associated with the Scottish Covenanters, the forerunners of the RP Church.

We were thankful to the Baptist church for the use of their minibus, which meant we could go to Anwoth (where Samuel Rutherford preached about Jesus in the early 1600s) and then Wigtown (where the two Margarets were martyred for Jesus in the late 1600s). Again, the team members were divided between two different homes for dinner before the second night of the Mission.

In the morning we practiced some songs that we were planning to sing at Belmont Care Home. On arrival however we found that because of illness to some residents, we wouldn't be able to perform. The weather meant we were unable to do any psalm singing in the town centre either, but it did give the team a chance to see round the Castle of St John in the middle of Stranraer. The Castle is also associated with the Covenanting era as government troops were stationed here during the 'Killing Times' in the 1680s.

In the afternoon, the team cleaned seats at Stair Park, where Stephen serves as chaplain to Stranraer FC, in preparation for the new season. After having dinner together in Kirkcolm, the team attended the final of our three special services. Audio of all the talks is available here on our website and on iTunes.

In the morning the team went to Galloway Forest Park and walked to the monument set up to mark the deaths of six Covenanter martyrs. The monument was originally set up by the Whithorn Reformed Presbyterian congregation during the ministry of Gavin Rowatt, who died at the young age of 30, six years after becoming a minister.

In the afternoon the team attended the baptism of Willow Steele, before heading back to base with those who had come down from Airdrie for the baptism. We're thankful for all the work the team members did and pray that God will use it. We're also thankful for the opportunity to renew friendships from last year, and make new ones. The team came from many different places and churches, but in Christ there is far more that unites us than divides us.

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