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Our new outreach coordinator

August 2008

Dear Friends,

On 1st September Douglas Humphris starts the full time post of Outreach Coordinator among us. Recognising as we do that this is an act of God’s favour towards us, I want to write of the discomfort and opportunity we shall probably experience in the months to come!

Until now Douglas has been part time young adult and international student worker. We have been glad to support this ministry and observe its fruitfulness.

From now, it is our ‘making a difference for Jesus’ that Douglas is coordinating. Notice the ‘our.’ That is why I used the words discomfort and opportunity!

But this is emphatically not a matter of our becoming busier. I repeat, not. Indeed some of his initial thinking has been on whether we can find ways of being less busy.

How will he spend his time? He has a fair amount to plan and prepare during his opening weeks. The Kirk Session has appointed the morning service of 21st September for his commissioning service.

And then I commend to all who can possibly attend, the two ‘Imagine’ evenings on Wednesdays 1st and 8th October. Douglas is running these evenings and they are designed to introduce some of his initial ideas. I have just watched the video starters for the two evenings and have found them interesting and stimulating.

‘Imagine’ is not ‘yet another programme’ but a most refreshing look at just how much of our lives God is interested in and a stimulating challenge how we can help one another on a broader front than ‘being a congregation’ sometimes involves.

For the reality is that many fine Christians feel rather unhelped – as far as Church and preaching are concerned – as regards daily life issues like overwork, painful parenthood, sometimes-difficult neighbours, financial management and grey areas like how to be part of a workforce where Christian values are not lived by. Yet it is in just such matters that making a difference for Jesus has its closest contact with outsiders to the Faith.

Since September marks this transition in Douglas’s service, we thank him with all our hearts for his time as part time young adult and international student worker. We have seen significant encouragements: development of the international student work; the starting up of the Fringe; the stabilisation and development of the praise group teams; the radical furtherance of our website and its ministry; a significant if unpublicised amount of personal care; and a progressive recognition of Sandyford members to whom he is steadily delegating leadership in these works. That is, genuinely, a very significant achievement in two years' part time.

So let us pray for Douglas as he takes up this new work. Let’s give him all interest and support and, as in his previous post of young adult worker, be alert to God’s footsteps among us through him. Like the peasant in Good King Wenceslas who followed where the saint had trod, let us give our own ‘Amen’ and response to those footsteps, and in them plant our own.

Yours sincerely

C Peter White

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