Little did any of us know how this past year would turn out! But, wonderfully, we have a sovereign and almighty God who knows every detail and has sustained us.
Our lack of a building in North Edinburgh has added to the challenges that all churches have faced this past year. Last March, ‘locked down’ services began a week or two earlier for us than for most others because our regular venues were already growing uneasy about outside user groups. Like for many congregations, Zoom became the host for our services online, as well as for midweek prayer times and – at times during the tightest restrictions – shared times of family worship on four other nights of the week too. These times of family worship were particularly for the encouragement and support of a number of new Christians who live on their own or are the only Christian in their home.
Even when services were permitted to resume in July, we still had the same problem with no venues willing to have us. Three times in July and August we met for our morning service outdoors, in the garden of one of the families in the congregation. God kindly gave suitable weather each time. We’re very thankful too that from mid-August to December a local church kindly granted us permission to use their building (when they weren’t using it) so we met there for our evening services and continued online in the mornings.
Having got used, like many of us, to walking as one of the main hobbies still available during lockdown, Demi Loughridge (age 6) walked 100 miles during the summer to raise money for Bibles and Christian books for teenagers in our housing scheme. We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in the wider church who gave so generously. Last November these books and Bibles went into the homes of 80 kids from DIME, a local youth group led by Christians. Please pray for God to work in amazing ways in the young people and in their families.
One final and very important matter for your prayers: this coronavirus period has also been a season in which a number of families (for a range of reasons) have moved away from our church. Four families (13 people) are now living and worshipping elsewhere. Another family of four is expected to move on soon too, though their plans have actually been delayed by the pandemic. Please pray for us as we adjust to this loss. Pray that we will not be discouraged and will look to Jesus Christ to keep building His Church. Pray for other families and individuals to come and support us and be a part of God’s work here. Even prayerfully consider being part of it yourself!
Peter Loughridge, Pastor of North Edinburgh RPC