Covenant Church in Newmilns, East Ayrshire were formally welcomed to the Free Church at the General Assembly this afternoon (Wednesday 20 May).
The congregation, initially set up by believers who had left the Church of Scotland over the sovereign rule of God’s Word, have been worshipping together since October 2013.
Since then they have seen the Lord adding to their number with adults and families attending from throughout Ayrshire.
Angus Steel, one of the elders in the congregation, said: “With much prayer we formed Covenant Church; the steadfast hand of God has been so evident and essential in leading us to where we are today.
“After praying and considering our options as a church family, we believe the Free Church is the right denomination for our future.
“Our vision as a congregation is to worship God with bible study, prayer, the sacraments and fellowship as we seek to reach out with the gospel and be an effective witness within our community.
“We commit to the Lord our future, as we look to call a minister, but above all pray that He would build Covenant Church to bring Glory to His Name.”
Covenant Church meets for worship in the Morton Hall in Newmilns on Sundays at 10:30am and 6pm and on Fridays at 7pm for bible study and prayer. All are very welcome.
A Free Church spokesman added: “East Ayrshire would not typically be described as a Free Church stronghold, and we are delighted to welcome Covenant Church Newmilns to the denomination.
“Many folk are realising that the Free Church is very different to what they perceive it to be, and that we have vibrant churches which combine a robust Biblical ministry with an awareness of the needs of contemporary Scotland.”
The arrival of Covenant Church Newmilns was warmly welcomed by commissioners, and Angus Steel was also presented to the Free Church Moderator Rev David Robertson (pictured above).
Dr Neil Galbraith (pictured above), elder at the High Free Church in Stornoway, spoke of his discouragement at the “dark trajectory” that had “gripped the heart of the Church of Scotland” and the resulting “delusion”.
However, he continued by sharing “the High Free Church experience in walking away from the manse, the buildings, turned out to be nothing but the most immense sense of relief”.
Dr Galbraith added: “We will always talk about the church as people, not building or stone. We have had nothing but blessing since that time
“Meeting in a primary school means that we now have people coming to us that wouldn’t ever step inside a church building.”
The High Free Church have over 80 children coming along every Sunday, and Dr Galbraith thanked the denomination for arranging supply as they look for a new minister.
The afternoon closed with speeches from a series of visitors to the Assembly, including Elaine Duncan from the Scottish Bible Society and Fred Drummond from Evangelical Alliance Scotland.
Tonight there will be a special presentation from Edinburgh Theological Seminary.