Message from our MinisterMay 24, 2016
We have a lot going on this year with the 150th anniversary of worshipping God in the church building, with social events and services, including the raising of a cross outside the church which will be dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Gordon Savage. We also are a pilot congregation for the Path of Renewal which is leading us in new ways. We’re presented with a great opportunity to remember, reflect and renew.
The anniversary service on Sunday 20th November 2016 will enable us to remember the history of the Church here from its establishment in the Disruption in 1843, to its move to the United Free Church in 1900 and then into the Church of Scotland in 1929. We will also be able to remember Gordon’s calling and work here with the dedication of the cross to his memory. We have the time to reflect on what our past and present means in terms of the future: the future of the Church of Scotland and the future of Max West.
When this church was formed in 1843 and they began meeting at the Barnyard in Nithside, the people were stepping out in faith, determined that God was calling them into something new – the church free from the establishment. In faith they built a church building and then 20 years later built our current building. In faith, they had scripture engraved on the doorway – “By my Spirit, saith the Lord” and “the Word of Reconciliation”.
The Church, nationally and locally, sits at a junction and we look at Renewal; renewal through the Path of Renewal. Not a project or something that will go on for a while, but something which will change the way we “do” and “are” church.
For me, here’s the big surprise: in 2005 Gordon Savage was looking at and wrote about what we’re setting out to do now. In his study leave report, “A Study of Issues Relating to Church Membership” Gordon explored the Membership, Communion Roll, Discipleship, and Believing, Belonging and Behaving. He said, amongst many other things, “What is needed is a change of emphasis, from Membership as a goal in itself, to Discipleship as a continuing process” and “What we need to concentrate on, is making disciples of Jesus Christ.” And he was right.
Discipleship is the focus of The Path of Renewal and it is the way forward to renewal. It will take time – months and years to grow, but grow it must. It will mean time and energy committed to prayerfully becoming a disciple. Acts 2:42-47 shows us how the first Followers of the Way were:
Acts 2:42-47 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Through all this, we can remember the history, reflect on where we are and go forward in faith, becoming disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is more in the Contact about celebration events and there will be plenty more about discipleship.
With every blessing,