May 2018

Part of me cannot quite believe that this is my last monthly letter in Connexions - the Congregational Magazine for Rankin and Chapelton. When I sit down next month to write (for the June edition), we will have become Strathaven: Trinity.

I can hardly believe that the initial conversations of a year and a half ago are about to bear fruit. There have been lots of meetings, many conversations and plethora of plans to work our way through. However, it has been wonderful that these have been very amicable and constructive with a focus on the future. So much so that I am genuinely excited about entering into a new (and quite different) stage of my ministry. I have no doubt that there will be challenges ahead but these can readily become opportunities if everyone from the four congregations carries forward the same spirit of cooperation and togetherness that has been evident thus far.

While I am excited about the future, the reality of the Union is also tringed with sadness. On a personal level, I am losing a colleague in ministry. For close to 27 years Bill Stewart and I have worked together and covered for each other. We have shared many a laugh (often at the other’s expense) and the ministering in Strathaven is going to be quite different! That said, I wish Bill every happiness in his well deserved retirement. He has served the East and Glassford churches and the Strathaven community well over the years and he will be sorely missed.

As we go through the month of May, you will notice a few changes beginning to take place as we prepare for our first service as Strathaven: Trinity. The biggest change of all will be the closing of the East Church. I would like to encourage all of you to remember our friends in the East at what must be a heart breaking time. To see your church building with all its history and family memories close cannot be easy. They are very much in our thoughts and prayers.

Finally, a wee reminder to those who will be worshiping in Strathaven. What has been known as Rankin Church will now become the Strathaven building (on Lethame Road) of Trinity. It will be new for everyone. Let’s ensure everyone feels welcome and will view Strathaven Trinity as ‘their’ church.

With every good wish

Shaw J Paterson

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