Scottish Presbytery Highlights – September 2015

The Presbytery met for ordinary business in Kingsview Christian Centre. The majority of our meetings take place here and facilities are ideal for our needs. There is however a fair amount of preparation for these meetings and we have been served so well over the years by Mr Ken MacDonald the Centre Manager and his wife Kathleen. Ken is due to retire from this post and we want to wish him well and the Lord’s blessing. It would be easy for the members of Presbytery to the MacDonald’s work for granted with everything set up before we arrive with care and thoughtfulness. We are so grateful to Kathleen who provides a wonderful lunch. It is good to gather together before the business of Presbytery over something to eat and to catch up with one another.
This Presbytery the work of Rev Ross Macaskill in Wick and Strathy came under review. The Presbytery appointed Ross to do outreach work in Wick and to oversee the congregation in Strathy. Unfortunately things have not developed as the Presbytery would have hoped and the decision was made to draw the work to a close. Please remember the folk in the far North and that the gospel would still be blessed to all who have heard it over the years.
The Training of the Ministry committee put a series of questions on the Westminster Confession of Faith forward for Presbytery approval to be used in the examination of ministry candidates. We hope that Mr John Davidson will soon have his trials for license where these questions will be used. We congratulate John on graduating in September from HTC with an upper second class honours degree. Please pray for John and his family as he prepares for his trials and on ministry.
The Presbytery hope to have an overnight conference/retreat in November. This has been done on a number of previous occasions and has proved to be an enjoyable time of fellowship and encouragement to the brethren. The venue will be the Macdonald resort in Aviemore and it is open to all the elders of the church. We hope most will take the opportunity to come and contribute to the discussions.
The Church Relations Committee was able to report that discussions are still ongoing with the Free Church of Scotland about the possibility of union. These discussions are important for us in principle but also in a day where the Church in Scotland is struggling and in fragmentation. Please pray for the work of the APC and the wider Church in Scotland.

Lloyd-Jones Documentary screening at Stornoway APC

The Gambia Partnership will be holding an informal fellowship to screen the new Martyn Lloyd-Jones documentary, ‘Logic on Fire,’ on Friday 10th July from 7.30-9.30pm at the APC Church, Keith Street, Stornoway. There will be a donation at the door to the Gambia Partnership.
The trailer can be viewed by clicking this link – Logic on fire trailer.

APC General Assembly Statement on Same Sex Marriage

The General Assembly of the Associated Churches of Scotland and Canada, convened this 26th day of May 2015 at Inverness, Scotland, hereby utterly deplores the place being given in the nation to the legalisation of marriage between same-sex couples.

Not only have the Scots and Westminster civil governments passed legislation in its favour but now, and with possibly even more serious consequences for the nation, the National Church has on Saturday, the 16th May 2015, and in terms of Barrier Act procedures, opened the door for congregations to call ministers in homosexual marriages to hold pastoral charge in congregations of the Church.

The Seventh Commandment –“Thou shalt not commit adultery” – is an integral part of the Moral Law as written by the finger of God on tables of stone and given to Moses in the wilderness.  Rightly it has been observed that this law is a transcript of the nature of God Himself, declaring His eternal and unchanging purity.

A main argument has been the claim of equality. It is true that we have all sinned and we are equal in that regard. The Gospel of Jesus Christ shows, however, a way whereby  man may be forgiven; but only if we both believe and repent. Therefore, we wish for all people to accept Jesus Christ. He is a gracious saviour.

A response of faith and repentance, such that we find in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is what we need for ourselves individually and corporately in church and government:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Presbytery Report – March 2015

The last Presbytery met on Tuesday the 24th of March in Inverness. Among the business taking place was the General Treasurer’s financial report. Laurence has been keen to get us to review our giving. He highlighted a likely deficit in the coming year which, with slightly better contributions and efficiency with gift aid claims, could be avoided. Please think about this situation prayerfully.

There were a few items relating to the Stornoway congregation. The first of these was the resignation of Rev John van Eyk as Interim Moderator. John has served the congregation and Kirk Session for some time now and we are grateful to him for that. His resignation was accepted by the Presbytery and Rev Ross Macaskill was nominated and accepted the position of Interim Moderator. There was also the need for another assessor elder and Rev George Macaskill has agreed to take up this position in the interim. Please pray for the Kirk Session at this time and that these changes would be blessed in the ministry at Keith Street.

Besides these matters of the Stornoway Kirk Session there was also the acceptance of Stornoway’s Mr John Davidson as a student minister by the Presbytery. John got on well in an interview where he answered questions from the floor of Presbytery. He now comes under the care of the Training Committee who will prepare John for his trials for licence. Please pray for John and his family (Dawn, Daniel, 5 and Darlene, 4) at this time; as he completes his studies and as he goes forward.

With May soon upon us the Presbytery also spoke about the General Assembly. We discussed its role and any changes that should be made to it. The past years Assemblies have been poorly attended and there will be some changes made to the proceedings this year. Come along and find out what!

The reports from congregations came from Dundee and Skye/Harris. Rev Don Macaskill gave an encouraging report of his work in Dundee. It is of course not without struggles but there is much to be thankful for. Don has exercised a faithful ministry there but has intimated his intension to retire in the near future. The Kirk Session are exploring the possibility of having an assistant as a colleague and successor.

Rev Gordon Murray gave the report on Skye and Harris. We were also pleased to have Mr Alasdair Paterson at the Presbytery who gave an encouraging update. The services have been cut to one in Dunvegan and one in Portree. With the two groups now coming together this has brought mutual encouragement and a more united sense of fellowship. Supply has also been forthcoming and the congregation were helped to furnish the manse to cater for visiting preachers. Gordon looks forward to joining the folk in Harris at the time of their communion. He will also be holding a congregational meeting to think about the best way forward for the congregation.

Please pray for our congregations in these difficult times and particularly those who are without a pastor.