This weekend many from Airdrie and North Edinburgh RP churches enjoyed the fellowship of our annual church weekend. There were so many things to appreciate about it, but the one thing I heard repeated over and over by those who attended was the simple opportunity to talk, and share, and laugh, and encourage each other. We always enjoy a bit of a chat after worship on Sundays, or after MET groups during the week, but there is something about a church weekend that is different. You find yourself speaking to people who sit on the other site of the sanctuary, or who are in a different MET group, or who go to the church plant in North Edinburgh. And there is so much time – nothing is rushed, no one is in a hurry.
It was also helpful that it was structured so that everyone simply attended those portions of the weekend that we could – if you weren’t able to make it to the barbeque, you could just come along to the dinner. Or if breakfast was too early (as it was for some!), you could just arrive for the Saturday talk. Families with children enjoyed walking round Palacerigg Country Park on Saturday afternoon, while others went home for a rest. Many made it out to the talent night on Saturday night, and even joined in with their talents. And on Sunday afternoon, after morning worship and then lunch at the church, we worshipped outside in a conventicle at Peden’s stone, being reminded of how our forefathers in the faith did this, not for interest or a change, but because they were unable to meet in a church building.
It was such an encouragement to have those from North Edinburgh RP there as well. As the RP Church in Scotland grows larger, it is so helpful to regularly meet with those who are in our own denomination, but in another congregation whom we don’t know as well, or always have the opportunity to talk to for too long. All weekend I saw such a mix of conversations happening – some deep and intent, some on the finer points of theology, some full of laughter and banter, some quiet and friendly – but all with a heart to love each other, as we heard about in the talks. Craig Scott, who has been interning in Airdrie this summer, spoke on the heart of Christ for His people. We were reminded that not only did Christ love us from the beginning of time, but because of His experience on earth He is better able to love us and show compassion to us, having experienced temptation and struggle to the greatest extent. It was so encouraging to hear this Word preached, and then to see Christ’s love reflected in those around.
In many ways it was the kind of weekend that builds such good memories – not the major ones, but the small encouraging ones that build on each other. Sharing thoughts about the talks over a cup of coffee. Laughing along with the kids telling jokes at the talent night. Singing together – the psalms during the talks and worship times, and just singing fun songs at the talent night. Catching toddling children before they ran too far. A hug for someone you haven’t seen in months. A handshake to meet someone fairly new to the church. And many more than these! I am sure I speak for many of us when I say we are already looking forward to the next church weekend. And may we continue to expand until we need a Gartmore-sized place to fit us!