New fa­cil­ity is now some­where the whole com­mu­nity can come to­gether

Lennox Herald - - THE BIG READ - Lor­raine Weir

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

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