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The new Methodist church in Kilsyth was dedicated on 13th March 2016 at a service led by the Chairman of the Scottish District Rev. Dr David Easton.
The first Methodist Church in Kilsyth was opened in 1840. It was replaced by a larger structure in 1885, but this was followed by a period of decline.
In the 1990’s it became clear that the church building did not meet modern requirements for mission and the burden of repairs was sapping finances and inhibiting our true calling. It was with a heavy heart and many memories that the membership of 69 decided to relinquish the building in 2007 and to meet in rented accommodation from which our mission was able to continue through social contacts, bible study and prayer meetings although with some restrictions.
From this time there arose a vision of a new church not just as a building but as commitment to God’s purpose. A search for finances to enable this vision to materialise was begun. For some time before this decision the church in Kilsyth was the only member of the original circuit, so it became expedient to join the Glasgow Circuit which subsequently morphed into the Strathclyde Circuit. Under the Superintendent, Alan Anderson the Circuit committed a substantial amount of money to a new church and this was followed by District support but this still left a substantial amount of money to be raised. Coffee mornings, requests to members and past members, as well as in more recent times the “buy a brick” campaign brought in substantial funds.
There were times when we were down hearted, especially when the Landfill Company Biffa turned down our grant application, but our faith that God’s purpose was for a new church to be built in Kilsyth carried us through. Dr Higgs of the Rank Trust visited us and was an inspiration for us to continue. Through him the Trust made a substantial contribution and he highlighted other sources of revenue. Finally the Connexion made a very generous contribution to our funds. It was during the latter part of our fund raising that momentum was created and we received substantial personal contributions to our funding. We were now in a position to invite a local builder to begin to construct our new multifunctional church which was completed on 22nd December 2015 on the same site as the original church and like that, it has no vestry or porch or pews and moreover it is in the same Circuit as the Airdrie churches who are now part of the Strathclyde Circuit – there seems to be nothing and everything new in God’s purpose.
This is only the beginning of our mission to support the Community in Kilsyth and elsewhere, but we know that with prayer and God’s blessing we will succeed.
Over the four weeks in December at New Stevenston Methodist Church, we have had a very enjoyable time. Each week we were asked to bring along pictures of men and women of vision and discovery, people who have been totally immersed in the work of God and who have changed the world by their dedication and their love for God. These people we had to put on our Jesse Tree and by the end of the four weeks we had an impressive group of people, past and present, adorning the tree, including David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Nelson Mandela, William Alexander Smith, Martin Luther King, St Cuthbert and Mother Teresa to name but a few.
I arrived in Wishaw mid-August 2014 having served the Methodist Church in Lytham St Annes for the past five years. Since then I have been trying to find my way around the area, the transport system, the streets of Lanarkshire and the various groups associated with the Strathclyde Circuit. I say trying to find my way around, because at some point of each week I have found myself ‘lost’; in unfamiliar streets, in unfamiliar towns, on unfamiliar train stations amongst unfamiliar people. (Don’t even mention how lost I feel trying to decipher the phone conversations!) As always, some people have been very helpful in coming to my aid and as always some have not. One morning, as I made my way to Singer on the train, it was suddenly put out of service. A young women student came my aid and shared her taxi with me so that I could get to my destination, all be it a little late. Her act of grace had enabled me to move from a place of vulnerability to a place of safety. Can I hear you asking, ‘What has this got to do with Christmas’?
Two thousand years ago Jesus left the heavens (I guess a very safe and familiar place to him, and probably a bit further than Lytham St Annes, although the serious theologians amongst us may want to rightly debate that statement) to come and offer grace and mercy to the lost.
All of us can find ourselves lost at Christmas: lost in the commercialism, lost in the financial demands, lost in the traditions of the new in-laws, lost in bereavement and certainly lost in ‘time’ without a Tardis.
As Mary and Joseph were just as human as you and I, then we can deduce that they felt somewhat lost in their situation. They too, lost in the new fan dangled commercial Roman registration (and you can guarantee someone somewhere was making a fast buck), lost in financial demands, lost in an ‘in-law’ tradition as one of the shepherds gate crashed the stable claiming to be Joseph’s cousin’s brother-in-law on his mother’s side (perhaps) and lost in an untimely labour. But just as I was aided on my train journey by a young woman’s grace, so Mary and Joseph were offered hospitality by the grace of an inn keeper. It’s hard sometimes to find the small acts of grace amongst the tinsel but I pray that you, in your Christmas, will
find the grace of God in the places where you need it most. May you too, amongst the hype, be like the inn keeper and offer God’s grace to those who come your way.
Deacon Anita Shaw has pastoral responsibility for Netherton and New Stevenston Methodist Churches.