7th December 2017
The Edinburgh congregation had a vision to plant another church in Musselburgh, east of Edinburgh in February 2016. Within the church plant, there was a small group that met on Wednesday evenings for Bible study. At the time, the small group consisted of 2 church members, Adele and Clive, and about 5 local residents. What these 5 local residents had in common was that they either knew someone who was actively addicted to narcotics, or were taking substance themselves.
16 months on, and this group is still meeting on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm, but now in the house of one of the local residents, Gordon. A few furniture re-arrangements were made in the house to accomodate enough space for everyone to sit. They sit down to a bowl of soup and some sandwiches, there is always cheese, cake, and of course a cup of tea.
The purpose and progression of these studies is to not only help overcome their addictions, but to support and enable them come to a place in their lives where they feel they are worth something, and that they have much to contribute to their own families as well as their community. We study values, relationships, grace and purpose.
The actual Bible study usually looks a little different from any other study you may have seen. Special care is taken to wait for everyone to find the text, and they are all keen to have a chance to read. There is always a session of art, whereby each participant draws or makes something related to the study. These exercises are designed to help the participants express their feelings and wishes in a way that is easier than to formulating words. To most of these members, even though they have studied together for 2 years, the Bible is still new and unchartered. We are excited to see these members also attend church on Saturdays and enjoy staying for study after lunch.
One relatively new person to the group is Janine. Janine is not, like some of the other members of the group an addict, but she became part of the group when she discovered the church when searching for a Sabbath-keeping group. Since she started coming to church, she felt the drive to join the group, and her input is invaluable. Apart from myself, Adele and Clive, there are no other church members involved.
Clive currently works as a chef at the Hollies Day Care Centre, an initiative of the Musselburgh council, that provides food and clothing cheaply to the members of the community. Clive feels that the Lord has placed him there for a reason, and he enjoys cooking and baking for these people, whom he is getting to know very well.
Clive and Janine came up with a plan, to feed the hungry of Musselburgh. In the summer of 2017, they contacted local supermarkets to see if there might be one that is able to provide food which might otherwise have been thrown away. To their surprise, Morrison’s was just looking for such an endeavour and indicated their interest immediately. The group is currently also having discussions with another food provider on the high street, and that information should be available soon.
Janine’s husband, Duncan also forms a major part of the group, even though he doesn’t attend anything. He has been supporting Janine in every way, and helped her getting around to the supermarkets and other entities, dealing with the possible forming of a charity in order to properly feed the people of Musselburgh. Duncan is helpful on Sundays when there is cooking and deliveries to be made. Everybody helps and pitches in.
The project to feed needy people in Musselburgh started on 8 October 2017 with the first trial run. Food donated by the supermarket was used to cook the first batch of deliveries. Initially there were only 2 deliveries to be made, but as the weeks went on, more and more addresses were added to the list. Any surplus food is donated to the Hollies Day-Care Centre.
The group is currently delivering food in Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Tranent and Prestonpans. There is great involvement by everyone, with new faces added to the cooking process on Sundays, as new friends become interested in helping. On 13 November, the leaders met with John Wilby, Community services sponsor for the Scottish Mission, in order to establish whether this endeavour can eventually be incorporated into the church’s community services. More applications have been made for funding and the group is hoping to grow and form into a formidable force in the east of Edinburgh.