A service arranged by the Free Presbytery of Glasgow and Argyll to welcome Covenant Church, Newmilns, into the Free Church of Scotland, was held on Friday (19 June).
A congregation of over 150 joined in worship led by Rev Dr David Ford, Moderator of Presbytery, in Morton Hall, the current venue for the congregation since leaving the Church of Scotland in 2013.
Preaching a sermon entitled “A second blessing for God’s people” based on the story of Jonah, Dr Ford pointed out the goodness of God to Jonah and to the people of Nineveh and that God frequently does more than we expect.
Rev Angus Howat, interim moderator for Newmilns, recounted the narrative of events, the Presbytery having successfully petitioned the General Assembly in May to establish the congregation as a fully sanctioned charge of the Free Church of Scotland.
In addressing the congregation, Dr Ford commended them for their courage in deciding to join the Free Church, an indication of their adherence to the authority of the Scriptures.
He hoped that they would be comfortable with their new identity, not as a guest in a home but as part of a family.
He concluded by hoping that they would feel confident to express themselves in contributing to the wider denomination.
Following prayer by Rev Ian Watson, minister at Hope Church, Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill, Rev Angus Howat explained the next steps which would need to be taken such as appointing a Kirk Session and applying for charitable status.
The service concluded with short speeches from Robert Miller and Angus Steel, members of the congregation, Alan Shearer, divinity student, and Rev Kenneth Ross from New Prestwick Baptist church.
The Newmilns congregation has been blessed with a tradition of evangelical ministries including that of Eric Alexander, Iain Hamilton, David Randall (jr) and John Macleod, and we pray the Lord will provide them with a suitable minister to help proclaim the Gospel in East Ayrshire.