Originally posted on 22 Aug, 2014
September is an exciting month for 20schemes. We will have a church planting project happening in Lochee, Dundee (more on this in later blogs) and we will begin the process of church planting in a neighbouring scheme to us in Niddrie called Gracemount. We will be filling you in on more of the details as things progress but, for now, we thought we would take the time to introduce you to our newest member of the team, Andy and his wife Sarah. Andy has kindly taken the time to answer some questions for us to keep our friends and supporters updated.
Tell us about yourself and your family?
I’m Edinburgh born and raised, and very grateful not only for being raised in a beautiful city, but for loving parents who loved Jesus. They taught and modelled the gospel to me daily, and through a Christian football camp that they ran I came to know and trust Christ in my early teens. Following two years as an apprentice at Enfield Evangelical Free Church I studied at Oak Hill Theological College, and have spent the last four years on the pastoral staff at Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh. I met my wife Sarah through a Christians in Sport camp, and we got married in May 2012 on the only sunny day that year. Since then we’ve increased our number by one through the addition of a mischievous Beagle called Sanka.
Tell us about how you discovered 20schemes and why you want to come and work in the schemes of Scotland.
My wife, Sarah, has been involved in gospel ministry for 10 years in Gracemount, initially informally with her brother, and subsequently through the establishing of a charity called Switch. Switch exists to reach the young people of the Gracemount housing scheme for Christ. It aims to use sport and other activities to provide opportunities for each young person to hear about Jesus and his life-transforming power. Switch takes its name from Ezekiel 11, where God promises to ‘switch‘ hearts of stone for hearts of flesh.
Over the last 18 months Switch and 20 Schemes have entered into partnership. This combination of the existing relationships and experience in Gracemount that Switch has, with the experience, resources, and training that 20 Schemes has, provides a great opportunity and a great foundation on which to plant a church.
Gracemount falls into the ‘Most Deprived’ category of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), 2012. Covering the domains of income, employment, health, education, housing, and crime, Gracemount is ‘statistically significantly worse than the Scottish average.’ However, the biggest need, the most urgent crisis, and the most crippling poverty in Gracemount is spiritual. Most living there are spiritually dead, trapped, lost, unreached and unengaged by the church. Though there is a small Church of Scotland congregation (currently without a pastor) in Gracemount, the need is great and the labourers are very few. Without the sustained witness of a gospel church, with the vision to engage and reach those who are ‘most deprived’ with the gospel, this need will remain unmet.
How are you preparing for ministry in this particular field?
This next year (from September 2014) will be a combination of time spent being trained at Niddrie Community Church by 20 Schemes and getting to know the area and community of Gracemount in partnership with Switch. The particular challenges of scheme ministry, and my lack of experience in such a ministry, necessitate the time spent learning from the team at NCC. And given that every scheme is different it is also necessary to take time to exegete the culture of Gracemount, seeking to understand the people in order to reach them, knowing how to make the gospel intelligible and relevant to them. It is important that this period precedes both the gathering of a launch team and the commencement of a service. I neither want to be a pilot who asks people to get on my plane before I’ve learned to fly or set the direction of travel, or be a pilot who’s building his plane whilst trying to fly it.
How are you getting on with your fundraising?
We are hugely grateful to the many individuals, churches, and trusts who have been generous in their support of Sarah and her work with Switch financially. The Lord has answered many prayers, and has been constant in his faithfulness to provide. And so we do not doubt that as we seek to raise support for our ministry in Gracemount with 20 Schemes that, once again, He will graciously meet our needs. We’ve been astounded at the generosity already witnessed in support from Charlotte Chapel and many family members, friends, and even individuals we don’t even know.
At this point in time, we are just over half-way to raising the necessary support. If we were to find roughly 60 people willing to give £25 a month, we would hit our target.
How can people best pray for you as you take this step of faith?
As we enter this new phase of ministry, we are humbled in the awareness of our own weakness, in the face of many unknowns, in the shadow of such a great need. We are desperately in need of God’s help, knowing that apart from Him we labour in vain. So we would greatly appreciate and need your prayers. Please pray for a heart after God’s own, that beats for the lost. Pray for our own personal integrity in walking with the Lord in holiness and humility. Pray for open doors, relational opportunities and inroads into the community in Gracemount. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out more labourers into this harvest field.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to read about the vision and the plans for Gracemount. The scheme has a great history. Once known as Priesthill, the reformers changed the name to reflect the gospel of grace, dubbing it Gracemount. Our prayer is that God’s grace would not only transform the scheme’s name, but the hearts of those who inhabit it. If you have any questions about our plans or support issues please do give me a call or send an e-mail.
Yours in Him,
Andy & Sarah Prime
Please consider supporting the work of church planting in Gracemount. To find out more contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be on the lookout for information regarding another couple, Andy & Lauren Mathieson who will be sharing their vision for the community of Lochee in Dundee.