Milngavie is an East Dunbartonshire town, a northern suburb of Glasgow; famous for being the starting point for the West Highland Way, and being mispronounced by English TV pundits on election night! In the heart of Milngavie are four churches who work together in gospel partnership – and who Solas have been working with recently.
The minister at St Luke’s parish church, Ramsay Shields describes the friendship that has sprung up like this:
“There is a massive difference between “unity” and “union”. As Eric Alexander once said – you can tie two cats together by their tails and you have union, but the last thing that you would have is unity. Here in Milngavie we enjoy true Gospel Partnership across St Luke’s Church of Scotland. St Paul’s Church of Scotland, Allander Evangelical Church, a Milgavie United Free Church Church, and to a lesser extent, the Episcopalians. This Gospel Partnership has been a great blessing to the church, and, we pray, to the community. We started working together at the millennium and have held some wonderful outreach events over the years.
Our joint Holy Week Services have had an evangelistic theme (we have had Rico Tice, Dick Lucas and Steve Brady, to name but three guest preachers), and have delighted to see the churches coming together for these. We have drawn on the best of the leadership in the churches to host, Christianity Explored, Discipleship Explored, etc, and more recently, A Passion for Life together. We also join together monthly for a prayer breakfast which goes around the churches too.”
Solas was delighted to work with these Milngavie Churches recently, both in evangelism and evangelism training.
Andy Bannister said of his time with the Milngavie Churches:
“At Milgavie I did our introductory session on conversational evangelism which I call, How to talk about Jesus without looking like an idiot. The idea behind it is to teach people how to have conversations about Jesus which are productive and persuasive with friends and colleagues.
One of the core ideas in this session is teaching people that wise use of questions can be a way of opening up really helpful conversations, and we look at a few such as, What do you mean by that?, Why do you think that? and Have you ever wondered..?
There was a really good audience in Milgavie, over a hundred people were there from the four churches in the town for a joint Sunday night meeting, and it was great to see a good mix of ages – with students right up to retired folks. I especially love Q&A, when people ask specific questions about how to apply some of this to their context, their friendships and relationships – and there were some very good questions at Milngavie that evening. And then some really interesting informal conversations after the meeting had officially finished. One conversation was especially interesting, with an academic from the University of Glasgow who goes to one of the Milngavie churches, and we had a great chat about science and faith – as well as the around outreach on the campus and the work of the CU’s.”
Solas was then able to send Gavin Matthews as a speaker down to Milngavie for the churches joint outreach service. He spoke about the way in which human relationships when they are fractured can be restored, but not without forgiveness. The same is true of our relationship to God, who we have alienated through our sin – but God in Christ offers us true forgiveness and reconciliation with him. The churches had arranged for everyone attending the service to be given a little leaflet explaining more about the gospel, written by Rico Tice of Christianity Explored. It was great to see so many people heading off into the Milngavie night clutching Rico’s leaflet.
If Solas can be of use to you, your church – or groups of local churches together – please do get in touch. We are committed to serving the local church across the denominational divides in sharing Christ with their communities. We work in cities, suburbs and rural areas – wherever the church has a heart for mission and invites us to come!