Cairnshill 22-24th November 2013
The leaders of Cairnshill Methodist Church invited a Lay Witness team to conduct a weekend mission in November 2013.
Carole Lambe led the team.
Carole Lambe led the team.
Weekend Reports and Photos
Carole Lambe, Team Leader, writes….
Cairnshill Methodist Lay Witness Weekend was a most wonderful experience, - the team, the organising committee and all who took an active part in the preparation and participated in the whole weekend. We had many blessed team sessions.
I want to tell you about the Sunday morning service as it was a time when the Holy Spirit came in all His wonder and glory to touch us together in Cairnshill.
The service began with the church praise group playing and starting the worship off in a really lovely way.
The worship throughout the weekend was led by team member, Andrew who just seemed to know which songs fit perfectly with the testimonies from other team members.
Our reading was Psalm 139 which tells us how God knows everything about us. His Spirit is with us in all situations and can guide us in His perfect way. Allen sang a song based on that very psalm.
After the testimonies we invited those who wished to come forward for prayer, to acknowledge God in their lives, or to receive an anointing and blessing in the Holy Spirit. June had made us up oils of frankincense and myrrh. As we sang the last hymn folk started to come forward - most wanted the anointing and blessing and also prayer. It was a truly humbling experience to see individuals, couples and families come forward and stand waiting on God’s blessing. It seemed that half the church came forward. The fragrance of the oils in the church was so beautiful.
At the Sunday evening celebration service, many shared their experience of the weekend in a very personal way. (Rev Colin Duncan left the church at 10.00pm!)
We serve an amazing God who lets us have these times of seeing His love and power at work! All praise to Him.
Rowan Zeelie, team member, writes….
As I approach the final six months of my ministerial training at Edgehill, I have been waiting for that moment when I stop feeling like an ordinary person and start to feel like a minister. I have always seen the minister in the church as someone who is closer to God, a person whose life is a little bit more together than the rest of us.
What I am beginning to realise is that those called by God to be witnesses and spread the Gospel message are ordinary people like me. I had the privilege of spending a weekend with 11 other ordinary people at the Lay Witness Weekend at Cairnshill Methodist Church. We all had our own stories to share of times in our lives when the ordinary has been touched by the extra-ordinary.
As a member of the team, I found the weekend uplifting and inspiring. Despite the immense organisation that went into arranging the weekend, by the Lay Witness Movement and Cairnshill Methodist Church, at no time did I feel under pressure to do anything. It was as if everything magically happened and fell perfectly into place. This was all due to the hard work that went on behind the scenes and credit needs to go to the Lay Witness Movement and the Cairnshill Church Council for this.
I felt privileged to share a part of my story with the people of Cairnshill Methodist and felt even more privileged to hear the stories of the rest of the team. On Friday night, after far too much lasagne and pavlova, Colin Houston led the first session. He stressed time and again that the team were made up of ordinary people, but what was clear by the end of the weekend was that all of us had, in our lives, experienced an extra-ordinary God. The people of Cairnshill Methodist were encouraged to allow this extra-ordinary God to do extra-ordinary things with their church.
Cairnshill Methodist Church opened their church and their homes to us, and for this we are thankful. We met wonderful people throughout the weekend, either as our hosts, or at the Coffee Mornings and at the various meals at the church. The Gospels show us that meals were an important part of Jesus’ ministry providing an opportunity to talk to people in a relaxed environment, and the people of Cairnshill did the Gospels proud, with wonderful meals and great conversation.
When the weekend drew to a close, despite the invigoration I felt by being a part of things, I felt a fair amount of sadness, knowing that this would be my one and only time as part of a Lay Witness team. I met some wonderful people that weekend that I would hope to stay in touch with. I look forward to venturing into my ministry experience in July, confident that it’s okay to be ordinary. But I also go into my ministry knowing that while I might not be a part of a Lay Witness team in the future, I am certain that I will encounter the Lay Witness Movement again having no hesitation in recommending and welcoming them to wherever God may take me in the future.
Keith Irvine, local coordinator, writes….
A Church Council meeting was held to discuss the church’s mission. Ideas flowed but nothing would gain any traction. The common thread was we felt called to be reaching out into the community and getting people to come into the church. We have been losing touch with so many families who have drifted away. There is a desire for youth work but few willing volunteers. The people who have been faithfully serving are tired, feel drained from giving for so long, and frustrated as they cannot get things moving they see as important. There is a desire to help the lonely and vulnerable but no certainty of where to start. The list went on!
‘Have you ever thought about hosting a team from the Lay Witness Movement?’, was the question asked. ‘If you want to achieve your objective on mission, then that may be a good place to start.’
The Council was open to explore such a venture as there was an awareness that spiritual foundations needed to be built to help people be confident to move some of these ideas forward.
Any development within the church needs to start with the people elected to office. The Leadership team need to provide the example by living out a faith, setting the culture, providing the impetus for change and giving a sense of direction for the whole church community. From an initial prayer meeting to consider how we as a church should move forward, a strong well supported prayer time was established each week. This underpinned all aspects of the planning for the Lay Witness weekend.
Months of planning, phone calls, texts and e-mails followed. Human nature determines that we will be anxious about things like this. Over the 6 months before the weekend, there was a feeling of remarkable calmness. So much so that it affirmed this was right for us and good things would come out of it. However, it was also reaffirmation that the people who had put their hands up to help were totally committed to the weekend.
The events and messages during the weekend catered for a wide range of many needs within the church. During the planning stage it sometimes felt that there were too many events. On reflection, that was not the case because the visiting team’s stories were entirely appropriate for those attending each event.
The men’s breakfast saw fathers and sons attending. Whether they were brought kicking and screaming or of their own free will was irrelevant. This was fathers and sons connecting, which with the breakdown of family relationships etc today was so good to see. The testimonies reflected on the difficulties of being a Christian in a hostile environment; this will I trust have been absorbed by these young men. I also came away from the breakfast thinking we need to do this more often.
The feedback from the Coffee Mornings was positive. The interaction, conversation and fellowship at each venue was open, honest and it was evident there is a real desire to grow closer to God and to each other within our community.
The Youth Leaders’ lunch provided an opportunity for Council members to acknowledge the significant contribution of this ministry in the life of the church and to thank those involved.
later years. From conversations it is clear that the parents of young children are anxious about their children’s future, both from a work and spiritual perspective. As a new church 17 years old, we do not have the luxury of a second, third or fourth generation of connections who may return to the church in the future to sustain worship in this place. We need to continue to try to build a legacy following this weekend and address these matters as we provide opportunities for people to develop and grow their faith for the future.During the time of fellowship on Saturday evening it was difficult not to wonder:
Our hope and prayer is that people will use the many opportunities that exist within the church to develop their prayer life or study of the bible in the weeks ahead. We hope we have provided an opportunity for people to connect with God. We certainly tried to connect with each other in the run up and during the weekend and the prayer focus of the church now underpins all our activities.
Everyone will have been affected in different ways from their experiences, whether in the preparation in advance of the weekend, or just by attending the events during this weekend. There are two final questions that can be asked in relation to the weekend and how we respond. Where will this weekend’s experience feature in our individual God stories? How will we each let that story unfold?