Andy Bannister reports
I had the privilege of speaking at the Scripture Union Scotland staff retreat at Lendrick Muir recently. There must have been well over a hundred people there, Lendrick Muir’s main meeting room is this lovely long old room, which was full. They were a really happy crowd of people – great to be with for a few days too. It was quite lively and almost had the atmosphere of a student houseparty! The retreat was for all of SU Scotland’s staff, which included their front line workers in schools and holidays; their back office staff – as well as their many associate workers who with SU too. They came across as a group of people who really like working together. It was also a poignant time to be there, as it was last time that they all met together with Andy Bathgate at the helm of the organisation, where he has been for eighteen years! Andy is a member of Solas’ Council of Reference too – which is another good connection we have with SU.
I did three talks at the retreat. Firstly we looked at “Hope in a Culture of Confusion”, then “Identity in a Culture of Confusion” and “Faithfulness in a Culture of Confusion” in the main sessions. Then there was an optional seminar I did as an ‘extra’ on “How to talk about Jesus without sounding like an idiot!” which is our introduction to the key principles of conversational evangelism.
It was great to be with SU Scotland for a few days – they are a really great bunch of people to work with and be with! And they seemed really enthusiastic about the teaching sessions that we shared together. When he was briefing me before the event; Andy Bathgate reminded me that people often assume that all SU workers are out in the field, engaging with people all the time in their jobs. However, some of the back office staff will say that their evangelistic engagement is with friends and family; because their day job involves doing the accounts or running a website, or administrating holidays.
We have a great relationship with SU Scotland, at Solas, we speak at various events they hold; both for young people and for their staff. We share a similar passion for engaging young people, and really appreciate both their commitment – and their reach, into all kinds of different communities around the country.
Editor’s note: Since Andy wrote this report, Andy Bathgate (SU Scotland’s Chief Executive wrote to say, “It was great to have him. So often the main speaker sets the tone for the conference and Andy’s warmth, humour, passion and friendliness set a great tone for us. He was accessible across the wide range of our staff team and related well outside of the sessions. He really shone in the Q&A sessions after the talks (quite brilliant on his feet) and the seminar was incredibly well received.”