GCL’S 5TH BIRTHDAY - SUNDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER
Sunday 4th September 2016 marks five years since the public launch of GCL. To celebrate this special occasion we will have a bring and share meal together after the service from 6pm at the YMCA. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance, we hope you can be there!
What are we celebrating?
5 YEARS OF GOD'S GRACE
On Sunday 4th September 2016, Grace Church Leith will be celebrating 5 years since our first public service in Leith. In our time-impoverished culture, anniversaries allow us rare and precious opportunities to pause and look back. For us, this 5-year milestone is an ideal time to reflect together on how things have come on since the early days of Grace Church Leith. As a church we’ll be getting together for a meal, and will be hearing from members of the church who have seen the church grow and develop under God’s grace; who have been part of that growth, and grown with it.
The public launch of the church was 2 years in preparation, beginning when Athole and Rosalynd Rennie moved to Leith in 2009 to start a church in the community. Things began slowly; the first addition to the church came only with the birth of their son, Erskine. By 2011 however, a small community of Christians were gathering regularly in the Rennies’ flat in Leith to study the Bible, pray and worship together. This group became the launch team which began meeting publically in 2011 under a new name: Grace Church Leith.
Though it was chosen 5 years ago, the church’s name has aged well over the years; it still reflects our story and expresses our identity as a community.
We are a church. In the Bible, the Church includes all people who trust in God to save them- a promise He fulfilled and accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. The Church is made up of people made right with God by His doing, through their faith in Jesus. A church, then, is a local community of these people, who want to know more of God, live well together and serve the community around them.
We are for Leith. Not only are we based in Leith geographically but also personally and culturally. We want to be part of the community in Leith and welcome our friends and neighbours around the church.
We are recipients of God’s grace. This is the jewel in the crown. It can’t be overstated: it is the fact without which our community would be pointless and our upcoming celebration would be a farce.
In its simplest terms, grace is God giving love and showing kindness to people who fundamentally don’t deserve anything good from Him- and without doubt, that is us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And the fact that we still exist as a church community after 5 years is a testimony to God’s consistent grace to us throughout those years, not to our ability to hold it together. As the saying goes, we’re only human- by which people generally mean, we’re not perfect. Worse still, we’re broken. In ourselves we’re fragile, and there have been plenty of disappointments, inconveniences and discouragements along the way.
So while we look forward to celebrating 5-plus years of God’s grace towards us, it’s important to remember that anniversaries are not necessarily times of high spirits and celebration. But for God’s grace and faithfulness we would have quite a different, more painful set of memories to look back on, and a very different story to tell. Instead, we can look back joyfully and thank God for all he’s done and all he’s doing in Grace Church Leith.
From a small group meeting in a living room, Grace Church Leith is now a busy, growing community sharing the hope that we have in the heart of Leith.