New facility is now somewhere the whole community can come together
Two forward-thinking ministers are determined to make their church somewhere for the whole community.
Helensburgh Parish Church has a new team intent on opening up the facility for use by everyone in the town and beyond.
Rev David Young, once the youngest Church of Scotland minister, and Rev Tina Kemp, who has over 10 years experience in Helensburgh, head up the devoted ministry.
After a £2.2million transformation of the historic building which sits proudly in the town centre location of Colquhoun Square, work is now well underway to ensure the space can be best used for everyone. The 1600-strong congregation incorporating Rhu and Shandon was formed in February 2015 and David was formally inducted later that year. He came having spent three years as chaplain of Strathclyde University and having served in Gourock for five years prior to that. David said: “The vision I bought into was the mission statement which the Kirk Session came up with and part of that was that they wanted this to be a ‘place to be’. The idea that no matter who you are,no matter your religious beliefs or where you have come from, there’s always a place for you here whether that is worship, activities, one of the 40 groups which meet here or just popping in for coffee.”
The halls which have attracted most of the investment over the last few years will be formally named “the bridge” to represent the connection between the sacred and the secular and the link between the church and the community.
David was also quick to praise “team ministry” made up of staff, volunteers and members who work behind the scenes to make sure the church fulfils its mission of being “a place to be” and was delighted when Rev Kemp returned to the area.
The Dumbarton woman, and former Lennox Herald journalist, had served alongside Rev David Clark at the West Kirk and later the joint charges of the West Kirk and St Columba’s for 10 years before taking on two congregations in Clydebank.
She came to Helensburgh Parish in a part-time role, initially reluctant to make it more than that.
Although Tina admitted she doesn’t like to take a step back in her life, she couldn’t pass up the chance to get involved with the vision David had created at Helensburgh.
Tina told us: “I don’t think you should ever go back but I came back to something completely different, a completely different type of ministry, a different type of set up and a new congregation.
“The whole vision that David talked about has always been important for me – that outreach into the community and being able to be around people and not necessarily be talking about faith.
“After two or three months, I was effectively doing the job.
“I became more involved and realised I really wanted to do the job
Welcome David and Tina