Planting churches that will plant more churches
Haddington Community Church publicly launched in September 2018 as a plant from St Columba’s Free Church. The church is led by Ali Sewell, who is married to Julie and they have three children; Emily (8), Louisa (5), and Will (2). Since its launch the church has met in various venues including a year online due to Covid. It’s currently meeting in the Maitlandfield House Hotel in Haddington, where 80-100 people of a range of ages gather to worship God together.
The church has as its core values the centrality of the bible and the necessity of prayer, through which we strive to be a welcoming, serving, growing, and joyful community. Our goal as a church is to glorify God by both encouraging one another and reach new people by constantly pointing to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the certain hope that he alone brings.
Neil and Louise MacMillan along with their 4 children and a small team from St Columba’s Free Church planted Cornerstone in 2014. The aim from the outset was to be ‘a church for people who don’t go to church’ and to be local, walkable and easy to connect for the people of Morningside and Bruntsfield.
The church loves its surrounding community and the city of Edinburgh, and they are invested in contributing to its flourishing as much as possible. We keep things simple and keep the gospel at the centre of the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of everything that happens in Cornerstone. It offers people a place of belonging and friendship, no matter who they are or what they believe. A lot of weight is placed on building community – life is a gift to be enjoyed with others and so we prioritise friendship, celebrations, sharing meals, and supportive and caring relationships.
An unexpected and treasured feature of the plant is its significant Latino community. This began with one Colombian woman coming to Cornerstone and spreading the word. We have monthly Spanish services with bring and share lunches, monthly bilingual services and around 40 Latinos connected as Cornerstone continues to grow into an intercultural church. We are a church plant that wants to plant more churches and we are committed to be a church that will train people for mission and resource new churches locally, nationally and globally. We are no longer a church plant but we are still a church with a passion for people and God.
Cornerstone services are held in the Old Schoolhouse on Morningside Road at 9.30AM and 11AM each Sunday morning and they have a more informal meeting at 5pm.
Esk Valley Church is being planted by Tom and Sharlene Muir, with their kids – Clemence and Sam. The family moved to Midlothian, immediately south of the city of Edinburgh, in 2015. There was a small core group in the early days with a vision to grow and put down roots. This ‘base church’ would both provide a gospel-centred focus for the fastest growing region in Scotland, and mission and church-planting opportunities for the future. We’d love to see more and more churches spring up in coming years as more folk hear about the gospel of Jesus!
Our church family now has around 100 people involved, a high proportion being children and young people. We love the many young families who come along – and really value all ages and stages. There’s a place for everyone at EVC.
We currently worship on Sundays in the Rosewell Steading community centre, and have various gatherings during the week to help us grow in knowing Jesus. We put a big emphasis on extended family events which are ‘pop-up’, happening in various rented spaces, or in the great outdoors! These provide places for our church family to spend time together, and are also great for friends and family to join who may be looking to find out more about the church, or just enjoy some social space together.
You’d be really welcome to come along and visit.
Govan Free Church is a church plant in Glasgow passionate about its community.
Govan is an area of multiple-deprivation with a huge addiction problem allied to anti-social behaviour, high levels of violence and severe unemployment. Funerals are commonplace and most, if not all, families have experienced some sort of pain and bereavement through the loss of loved ones. Despite this, the area retains a sense of community characteristic of old Glasgow housing schemes.
Govan Free Church began with Norman Mackay who, having grown up in the area, moved with his family in 2014 to plant a church to reach the people of Govan. The church has employed multiple ministries to serve the Govan community, partnering with several agencies to connect with people whose life has been blighted by crime, alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour. Govan FC has strong roots in Govan with its own building and with a strong desire to continue to develop an indigenous church to advance God’s kingdom in Govan.
Andy Robertson trained for ministry for 6 years at Chalmers Church Edinburgh. It was there he did a two year apprenticeship before moving on to do a 4 year “Church Leader in Training” programme alongside study in Edinburgh Theological Seminary. Andy is married to Caireen and they have a wee boy, Finlay. It has always been Andy’s desire to plant a church in his native Dundee, especially in one of the many areas of urban deprivation that lack an evangelical witness.
In the summer of 2017 Andy and Caireen moved to the Charleston area of Dundee to begin the process of planting a church under the oversight of St Peter’s Free Church. Since being there they have been training up a launch team to work in the area, they have developed youth outreach, and just finalised the lease of an abandoned shopfront to be renovated as building for gospel work. Please pray for them as they continue in this work.
Christ Church Glasgow exists to make disciples of all nations and impact Glasgow for the glory of God.
The city of Glasgow’s motto is “Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name.” While everyone wants Glasgow to flourish, sadly not many believe this will happen through the preaching of God’s word. Yet Glasgow is urgently in need of more diverse churches to preach God’s word and praise his name amongst the many people who are lost and know nothing of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Christ Church began with Jonathan, his wife, and three children. It launched in September 2019 in north west Glasgow. This is an area where, amidst affluence and poverty, you will find professionals and the unemployed, students and the elderly, young families and young singles all living in close proximity to one another. The vision has been to plant a church to be engaged in this urban context where people can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, see it lived out, and come to believe it for themselves.
Chris Davidson is from Caol, near Fort William. He was raised in the highlands community and served as a joiner before feeling the call to theological training at Edinburgh Theological Seminary. After graduation, Chris took a position as an associate church planter in a church plant in Edinburgh with Senior Minister Neil MacMillan. After his year as an associate, Chris felt a firm conviction to go to a church and help in revitalisation or church planting within the Free Church of Scotland. An opportunity for a church plant came from the Highlands in a community called Merkinch. After some discussion, he signed a contract with the Free Church of Scotland to serve in Merkinch alongside a partnership with 20 Schemes.
Post-COVID, the Merkinch have been meeting regularly on Sundays. Chris and his wife Katherine have been amazed at the work the Lord is doing within the church plant and the opportunities to engage people from our scheme. Merkinch statistically is categorised as an area of great need, but we believe the greatest need in our community is for Jesus to be known and loved. For to the hurting, weary and needy Jesus gives Hope.
Matt Round is the lead planter at Hope City Church Edinburgh, an FIEC church plant sent out from Charlotte Chapel at Easter 2018. After 15+ years in business and technology, church planting began to capture Matt’s heart, leading him back to university to get properly trained. Following three years serving as Assistant Pastor at Charlotte Chapel, the elders and congregation approved sending out around 40 adults and 20 children to plant Hope City Church on the western edge of Edinburgh.
Hope City is built with a sharp focus on multiplying disciples and ultimately multiplying churches. Our plan is to pursue this through challenging every one of us to take small steps to reach out to those around us with the hope that we have through Jesus. We build our gatherings around the Bible, seeking to listen to what God is saying and to put it into action, but aim for them to be accessible and welcoming to those still exploring faith. We’re encouraged to have seen a measure of growth in our first four years and are now preparing to plant again.
Athole is married to Rosalynd and they have three children, Erskine, Grace and Abigail. In his spare time he enjoys playing, coaching and watching football! Athole was born in the Highlands and grew up in central Scotland. He trained at Oak Hill Theological College in London before completing further study at Edinburgh University.
Athole and Rosalynd began planting Grace Church Leith in December 2009 from a flat in Leith. After gathering a core group over a period of almost two years, Grace Church Leith launched public worship in September 2011 and today is a growing church in the north part of the city of Edinburgh.
The vision of the church plant is to see Leith, Edinburgh, and all of Scotland transformed by the good news of Jesus as people come to know, love, and follow Him. Their desire is to see God glorified as the gospel transforms us and those around us. Therefore, in obedience to Christ, we seek to build strong community relationships, share the message of the gospel, and serve our neighbours in practical ways
New churches are planted in many ways and take many forms. Stirling Free Church has its origins in the vision of one man, a layman called Murdo Murchison, an elder in nearby Dunblane Free Church.
The vision was planted in Murdo’s heart in 1212 and worship services were started in 2013.
Services were held, first in a local home, then a museum, briefly in a conference centre before landing in a hotel. The pilgrim church continues its search for a permanent base.
The congregation became a self-supporting unit in 2019 under the ministry of its first minister, Iain MacAskill. He has left to do pioneer evangelism in the north of Scotland and Rev Angus Lamont has recently been inducted as minister at Stirling.
This diverse congregation continues to progress in the city of Stirling which is right in the centre of Scotland. It is said that, ‘the one who takes Stirling takes Scotland.’ The city is the location for a thriving university community as well as being a hub for financial services. It was recently identified as ‘the happiest place to live in Scotland’.
Murdo Murchison sadly passed away in 2018 but his vision continues.
Grace Church was started when a group of people in Montrose sought to start a biblically faithful church where the gospel was clearly proclaimed. Ciarán Kelleher, along with his wife Sarah and their son Tadhg, was invited to join the work in 2022. Ciarán had previously served and trained at churches in Broughty Ferry, St Andrews and Edinburgh. As you might guess from his name, he is a proud Irishman. Sarah is decidedly Scottish. She currently works as a lecturer at the local college.
As Ciarán looked across the spiritual landscape of Scotland, it was harder and harder to ignore Angus and the great need for healthy gospel churches in the region. His hope is to see a healthy church established in Montrose, where people in the town and surrounding communities will be transformed through the gospel of grace. And in the longer term they will also seek to partner in seeing other churches in Angus planted, revitalised and strengthened.
The church plant is in very early stages as lead church planter Rev. Craig Anderson and his family have moved to the town, known locally as Gala, in summer 2022. A launch team, which is still being gathered, is set to meet to begin to establish as a group and build a sense of church community and gospel culture.
Craig said: “We really are in the very early stages of the church plant. There hasn’t been a Free Church in Gala, or I believe the Borders. for around 120 years, so the Free Church is an unknown entity, but there is great scope to set up a church within the town and be part of the community. We want to be rooted in Gala – to have a healthy gospel church here – and to reach out to other places within the Borders seeking, in time, to plant more churches.”
The venture is a church plant from Buccleuch Free Church in Edinburgh. In preparation, Craig has been working at Charleston Community Church, a plant from St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, for the last year as a ‘Church Planter in training’ and has received training through Generation which has provided him with a host of transferrable principles and skills.
Plans are coming together to set up Winchburgh Community Church in West Lothian.
A group of church members from St Columba’s in Edinburgh, who live in Winchburgh, have been meeting for regular community groups and bible studies. They have been seeking a leader to make the move from meeting as a church community group to being set up as an established church congregation.
Robin Silson has been appointed as the church plant leader. He and his family – his wife and their three children – have moved to Winchburgh. He said there is much happening now to build a core team of people to get the church plant up and running, ready for the launch at Easter 2023.
He said: “We’re meeting once a month now. We’re planning to take a break over summer and then resume when the schools go back when we’ll meet once every two weeks. We’re aiming to meet every week from October with the view to formally launching at Easter next year.”
Geoff, his wife Maddie and their son Alistair have just moved to Fife as Geoff leads the church planting work in Levenmouth whilst working alongside John Johnstone at Kirkcaldy Free Church. Between them, Geoff and Maddie have spent the last 9 years training for ministry as Maddie has studied theology at Moorlands College and latterly biblical counselling through BCUK, and Geoff has undertaken studies at Edinburgh Theological Seminary as a candidate for ministry in the Free Church of Scotland. During his studies, Geoff worked for Cornerstone as a Minister-in-Training, where his love for reaching unbelievers with the gospel grew and ultimately has resulted in the pursuit of church planting.
The Murrays love for Levenmouth and desire to plant a church there began around 6 years ago where Geoff became convinced that ministry among deprived communities was where God was leading him and his family to minister and it was then that Levenmouth began to enter the picture. Levenmouth is a great area with a big heart and a generous community spirit, but like so many post-industrial towns and villages up and down the country, it has been left behind. Though there has been significant reinvestment recently, the area experiences high levels of poverty, drug addiction, and crime. Also, in a similar fashion to towns and villages all over Scotland, a gospel-centred church is few and far between and the spiritual need in Levenmouth is great.
The Murrays are at the start of their church planting journey with one more family joining them, and their vision for the church plant is a church for the people of Levenmouth by bringing the light and love of Christ. Jesus says in John 10:16: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” As the Murray’s start this work, please pray for them, that Jesus might use them and the church plant in Levenmouth as part of His calling sheep into the fold.
Tornagrain Community Church is being planted from Smithton Church in Inverness, with a team of 35 adults and children. Tornagrain is a new town currently being built along the A96, near Inverness airport and between Inverness and Nairn. There are thousands of new homes planned and no other church, so our desire is to share the hope of Jesus in the community, through community.
The plant is being led by Innes Macsween, who moved into the area in the spring of 2022 along with his wife Anna and his young son Isaac. Innes has been the Smithton Church Assistant Minister since 2017, having graduated from Edinburgh Theological Seminary. Prior to training for the ministry Innes studied Scottish Literature at Glasgow University and worked for UCCF in Cambridge. Innes leads the Tornagrain Community Church along with another elder from Smithton Church, with a team comprising of a range of couples and families young and old. The hope is to launch in early 2023, and to grow the glory of God in town as it grows.