Covenanter History

St Andrews Reformation Day Trip

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On Saturday, we joined with over 100 others from the RP churches of Glasgow, North Edinburgh and Airdrie (and friends from elsewhere) on a Reformation day trip to St Andrews to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

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With heavy rain the day before and the day after, we were grateful to God for a dry and sunny day for the trip. We arrived in St Andrews in time for lunch, before heading out to tour the town and hear talks on three famous Reformers who are associated with it.

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The first talk was given by Jimmy Fisher of Reformation Tours. He spoke about Patrick Hamilton, who first heard of the teachings of Martin Luther when at university in Paris. After returning home to teach at the University of St Andrews, he became convinced that Luther's teachings were Biblical. He began to preach and saw many people converted before being arrested, tried and burnt at the stake in 1528. However rather than stopping the progress of the Reformation, his death helped spread it.

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We then moved from St Salvator's to the Castle where Stephen spoke about George Wishart, whose theological ability and preaching around Scotland gave the Reformation both depth and breadth. Wishart too was martyred in St Andrews, being hanged and burnt outside the Castle in 1546.

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The final spot we visited was St Andrews' Cathedral where Peter Loughridge (North Edinburgh RP Church) spoke on the most famous Reformer of all - John Knox. Knox has many critics but Peter showed how he was just the man who God had shaped for such a time. Knox, like the other Reformers spent time abroad and had many contacts outside Scotland. Being part of this wider network benefitted the work of the gospel in their homeland.

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While at the Cathedral, we had the opportunity to visit the grave of Samuel Rutherford, someone who would be greatly used by God the century after Hamilton, Wishart and Knox.

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We then returned to our our starting point where Kenneth Stewart of Glasgow RPC gave a short talk on the benefits of the Reformation for Scotland. Overall it was a great day and we are thankful to God for safety in travel, fellowship, and the opportunity to learn more about the great heritage that Scotland has.

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Mission team wrap-up

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

WEDNESDAY
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.

THURSDAY
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.

FRIDAY
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.

SATURDAY
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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