From a family settling in Leith to a body bursting at the seams: celebrating the 5th anniversary of Grace Church Leith.
On Sunday 4th September 2016, Grace Church Leith celebrated five years since our first public service in Leith; an ideal opportunity to reflect on how things have come on since the early days of the church plant.
The church gathered after our 4pm service for a meal, and heard from members who had been part of the original group that formed to plant the church.
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. In 2010 however, the Rennies were joined by Andrew and Laura Duckering, and Kenny and Heather McGibbon.
This group gathered regularly in the Rennies’ flat in Leith to study the Bible and pray together, and think carefully about the kind of church that was needed in Leith. In 2011, with the public launch in sight, the group adopted the name Grace Church Leith; a name that expressed the identity of the new church as a people rescued by God’s grace, gathered together by him, and committed to reaching the people of Leith.
Reflecting on their initial commitment to join the planting process, Heather explained- “the more we prayed about it the more convinced we were that this is where God would have us, even though at first it didn’t really make sense career-wise, but God provided for us to be here.”
The group also spoke about some of the encouragements they’d experienced over the last five years of the church’s growth. “One big encouragement”, shared Kenny, “is the way we’ve been able to share Jesus with people in small ways in the community that may never have heard the good news before, and to see that God in his grace uses imperfect people like us to share himself with others.”
“I’m also very thankful”, said Andrew, “that church planting is so much higher on the agenda now in Scotland. When we were starting out in 2010 there wasn’t much happening in that area, but in the last few years alone there have been so many churches getting off the ground.”
Laura also expressed thanks for “so many brothers and sisters in Christ we’ve met from around the world who’ve been so supportive, especially in the early days.”
Looking forward to the next five years, Andrew affirmed that “this church exists for the whole of Leith, and we long to see people in Leith come to love and follow Jesus. My prayer is that we would keep looking outward into the community around us.”
Heather also expressed a hope that “five years from now we’d be looking at a crowd of our friends and families and neighbours coming in and knowing the joy that we have in the gospel.”
Finally, minister Athole Rennie shared a word of thanks: “It’s been an incredible blessing for Rosalynd and I to see the people the Lord has sent from the very beginning to build the work here and we’re thankful for all of you, for the way you’re involved in the life of this church and engaging with this city. We’re so thankful to God for all that he’s done.”
From a small group meeting in a living room, Grace Church Leith is now a busy, growing community sharing the hope of the gospel in the heart of Leith.