Saturday marks the tenth anniversary of my first visit to Saint Catherine’s (I remember the date because it was Remembrance Day). I’d like to say something super spiritual here about how I came to be there, but I can’t: it might be fair to say I didn’t have a faith of my own in those days. “Faith” meant following a series of rules based on out of context quotes and stories and going to a church 200 yards up the road from my flat so I could tell my parents I’d been.
In my second year of uni, I’d developed an interest in one of the girls in my course, and it just so happened she went to St Catherine’s (it’s probably not worth speculating on who this was as most of you are unlikely to know her, and in any case she left town some time ago). I asked if I could come to church with her one morning (as it happens, my flatmate went there too but he was away that weekend) and it so happened that it was Remembrance Sunday, which meant an earlier start than usual: however I misread “ten to” on the text she sent me and so showed up at ten. So, with fifty minutes to kill, I sat on the bench at the corner of Chalmers Crescent and Grange Loan and thought about how I could solve the world’s ills. Or maths. Or football. Or possibly some combination of the three. A man walked past me, who I would later learn was the assistant minister, one Robin Sydserff.
I thought the service was pretty good, similar to what I was used to at home. Someone greeted me at the door, but I was much too shy to make conversation, less so remember who it was. But I did go back every so often after that. I met Mary Traynor in Cameron Toll while I was shopping one day and she invited me round for lunch the following Sunday. It would have been rude not to stay…
Since then, I’ve seen two refurbishments, two ministers, two assistant ministers, eight ministry associates, one ninety degree turn, one extra morning service, one young adults’ & students’ group morph from a handful of people to 80 meeting regularly on a Tuesday night, one visit of John Piper, had two spells as a small group leader, 6 dramas, about 100 powerpoint presentations, many games of Friday night football, more good food and friendships than I could possibly imagine, a cup final, a fine Highland football club, and most importantly, many people coming to faith and getting to know the Lord Jesus, myself included (a story I will hopefully tell another time).
And this is what the church does well. All ten years, the united focus on bringing people to Christ through faithful preaching of the word and equipping people for evangelism has continued unabated. I have no doubt this will continue, whatever the future holds.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.