I don’t often like writing about my own congregation, St Peters. But yesterday was such an encouraging day that I thought I would make an exception. As we drove home from the church last I saw this double rainbow in a perfect arch over St Peters – it was a beautiful symbol, not of man’s rebellion against God, but of God’s grace towards humanity. And we experienced a great deal of that yesterday.
Firstly it was a delight in the morning to experience the communion of the Lord with his people. We welcomed six new members, Hilary and Ken (retired Dundonians converted later in life), Jack and Catherine and their three wee girls (an Australian scientist and music teacher), Eirion (a young Dundonian who works at Alliance Trust and combines it with child minding) and Katy (a Northern Irish speech therapist). We said goodbye to Dave Alexander (a newly qualified doctor heading to Glasgow) and Jared and Bex (heading to Uganda as missionary aid workers, doctor and accountant!). We welcomed back Simon Atwood, our former Relay worker (now UCCF team leader in Glasgow) and Susan Buchan, another former Relay worker now an IFES worker in Paris. Susan gave us an excellent short summary of that crucial work amongst French students, and she even brought two of them with her! it was also wonderful to have another UCCF Relay worker back with us, my son Andrew and his wife Caireen, celebrating their 1st anniversary and preparing to come back to Dundee to church plant!
It was also good to share in real biblical ecumenism – with people from many different backgrounds sitting together at the Lord’s table. Amongst our guests were the Charlotte Chapel minister, Paul Rees and his wonderful family, and the Sandyford Henderson Church of Scotland minister Jonathan DeGroot and his equally wonderful family! How good it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.
It was an encouragement, when so many of our people are away on holiday, to have the church full. It seems as though there are new people coming every week. We are also into church growth in another way – yesterday we were told of three more babies being expected to be added to the creche in the next few months! Congratulations to Ruth and John on their expected twins, and to Michelle and Graham on their expected second child.
As we left the church in the morning, one new lady said to me – ” this is this is what I was looking for – a church which preaches the word and is a family”.
In the evening I was utterly exhausted, still suffering I think a bit from the after-effects of shingles and jetlag. To be honest it was one of those touch and go situations where, unless I had been actually leading the service I may not have gone. I’m so glad I did. It was like going into a shower, tired and dirty, and coming out refreshed, renewed and clean! a loved the singing of God’s praise led by Crawford, John and the other musicians. And Sinclair’s preaching on 1 Peter 4:7-11 was thrilling – warm, pastoral, practical, biblical teaching. When Sulvi returns from holiday we will put it up on our website. But just to give you a couple of tasters –
This is the first time I’ve ever heard the church being described as a bus, with the congregation all sitting towards the front, the preacher being the bus driver, and even fares being taken during the journey!
Some may find this hard to believe, but Sinclair even gave us a little exposition and advice on make up!
But it was the teaching about the Lord’s day, using our gifts and hospitality, all to the glory of God, which struck home.
Although it was a long day with two (by todays standards) long services (90 minutes plus each), none of us minded, because in the words of the apostle John, “We were in the spirit on the Lord’s Day”.I think all of us were conscious of the Lord’s presence and this itself helps create a real sense of family and unit. As a family we mourn with those who mourn, and were in prayer for our sister Anna and her family as they mourn the death of her father. And we rejoice with those who rejoice – Phil and Laura and others were involved in the Aspire camp this week, in which children from an unchurched background were able to experience and hear about the love of Christ. This short video of Phil and Laura was a beautiful reminder of their wedding earlier in the year and also a striking illustration of the Lord’s family.
And the day was then capped off with three beautiful things
- Good Fellowship at home with James and Sheila Fraser visiting from Kiltarlity.
- The double complete rainbow arched over St Peters on the way home.
- And another kind of fellowship….we share all good things the Lord gives us – and so one of our deacons gave me this lovely gift!
Thanks be to the Lord for all the things he gives us that ‘gladden human hearts’! (Ps 104:15)….!