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Irish RP Synod

This past week, Stephen represented the Scottish RP Church at the Irish RP Church’s annual Synod meetings. This year Synod was held in Knockbracken RP Church, where Stephen had worked as an assistant for a year before coming to Stranraer.

The Synod began on the Monday night with a sermon by the outgoing Moderator, Rev. Andrew Kerr (Knockbracken). Rev. Mark Loughridge (Letterkenny and Milford), whose brother Peter is minister in North Edinburgh, was elected Moderator for the year ahead.

On Tuesday night, Stephen gave an update on the work of the Scottish RP Church, before preaching to begin the Wednesday morning day of prayer.

The Moderator and the American RP delegate then travelled across to Scotland for the meeting of our own Presbytery on Friday.

Stephen pictured with the Moderator and other delegates - William Macleod (FCC), Kevin Bidwell (EPCEW) and David Weir (RPCNA).

Stephen pictured with the Moderator and other delegates - William Macleod (FCC), Kevin Bidwell (EPCEW) and David Weir (RPCNA).

The Synod finished on the Wednesday night by commissioning Isaac Berrocal for mission work in Almuñécar and Nerja in Spain, a region where 90% of people have never heard the gospel.

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On the weekend prior to the Synod, Stephen spoke at Knockbracken’s annual church weekend on the ‘One anothers’ of the Bible.

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The most well-known name associated with Knockbracken is Thomas Houston, who was ordained there not long after William Symington began his ministry in Stranraer. Houston spent his whole ministry (1828 - 1882) in Knockbracken and Stephen spent a year studying his life for a Masters thesis in Irish history. Houston was a prolific author, whose book on prayer meetings has recently been digitised.

The current minister in Knockbracken is Andrew Kerr, who was the 2018 Moderator of Synod. Andrew writes regularly for the Gentle Reformation blog. Below is part of an interview he did for a recent documentary on the Welsh minister Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

Scottish Reformed Conference: RP videos

The Scottish Reformed Conference takes place every May at Hamilton College. The last two years have featured RP speakers - in 2017 it was Rev. Warren Peel from Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and in 2018, Rev. Kenneth Stewart from Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

The videos of their sermons are below. Videos from other years are available here.

Semester in Scotland: New Promo Video

Here's the new promo video for the RP Church's Semester in Scotland programme.

Stephen took part in the programme in 2007 and has since taught a module of it. He and Carla took American students to London as part of the Humanities course in 2015. Having seen it from both sides we think it's a great opportunity for college students to experience a different culture and learn more about the Bible and the history of the church. 

The programme is offered primarily through Geneva College in Pennsylvania and Bryan College in Tennessee.  Students from other colleges are able to transfer easily into Geneva through a co-operative agreement process.

Ordination of Rev. Stephen Steele - report & video

Around 200 people gathered at the Stranraer Reformed Presbyterian Church building on Saturday 12th September for the ordination and induction of Stephen Steele as pastor. Rev. Steele (29) previously worked in property management in Airdrie, where he met his wife Carla. Speaking after the ordination, he said: ‘It is a great privilege to have been called to a church which has served in the community here since 1778. I firmly believe that the Bible’s message is as relevant and life-giving as it ever has been, and only through it can we make sense of our lives. I’m excited about getting involved in both the church and the local community. To find out more please join us on Sundays (11:30am and 6:30pm) and through the week.’ Video from the ordination service and weekly audio sermons will be available shortly on the church website (stranraerrpcs.org).

Published in Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press, 17 September 2015

Another report of the ordination was published in the Galloway Gazette.