|Progress/Category:||Church launched Sun 16 April 2017|
|Address:||Gracemount Church Plant
PO Box 20840
Edinburgh South East
To plant a church that will glorify God by preaching the gospel and making disciples of Jesus Christ in Gracemount.
Gracemount is a housing scheme with a population of c.3000 people. Although it’s a tight-knit, friendly and protective community, it 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 Scottish average.’
When SIMD 2012 and SNS data for Gracemount is compared with the rest of Edinburgh the following key differences in deprivation were found:
The rate of income deprivation in Gracemount in 2012 was almost 2.5 times higher than the rest of Edinburgh.
The rate of employment deprivation in Gracemount in 2012 was almost 2 times higher than the rest of Edinburgh.
In 2011 – 12 the percentage of S4 pupils with 5 awards at SCQF level 5 or higher was nearly 2 times higher in the rest of Edinburgh than Gracemount.
- The rate of hospital episodes related to alcohol misuse was about 2.5 times higher in Gracemount in 2004 – 07 than the rest of Edinburgh.
- In the same period the rate of hospital episodes related to drug misuse was nearly 5 times higher in Gracemount than the rest of Edinburgh.
Levels of crime
In Gracemount there were 943 crimes per 10,000 population in 2010-11 compared to 441 per 10,000 in the rest of Edinburgh.
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 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.
20schemes’ long term desire is to see Scotland’s housing schemes transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ through the revitalisation and planting of gospel-preaching churches, ultimately led by a future generation of indigenous church leaders. To that end we have initiated a church planting and revitalisation effort by recruiting training supporting and sending church planters, female outreach workers, ministry apprentices and short term interns to work part of church planting teams within Scotland’s housing schemes.
Andy Prime is a graduate from Oak Hill College and was an Associate Pastor at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh since 2010. In September 2014, he left Charlotte Chapel to become a church planter with 20schemes in Gracemount.
Andy’s wife, Sarah Prime has been involved in gospel ministry for 11 years in Gracemount, initially informally with her brother, and subsequently through the establishing of Switch (Registered Charity No. SC041512). 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.
The combination of the existing relationships and experience in Gracemount that Switch has, with the experience, resources, and training that 20schemes has, provides a great opportunity and a great foundation on which to plant a church.
PHASE ONE | Training & Indigenisation
The first year (from September 1st 2014) have been a combination of time spent being trained at Niddrie Community Church by 20schemes and getting to know the area and community of Gracemount in partnership with Switch. The particular challenges of scheme ministry, and Andy’s 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 learnt to fly or set the direction of travel, or be a pilot who’s building his plane whilst trying to fly it.
PHASE TWO | Gathering a Launch Team and Preparing for Church Launch
The second phase (c. September 2015) involves being more on the ground in Gracemount, making contacts and developing relationships with the unreached within the community, whilst also communicating the vision to, gathering, and training Christians who will sign-up to that vision, forming the launch team for the plant. Initially we have met to pray, to study God’s Word, to be trained as a group prior to launching an official Sunday worship service. It will be imperative that this group all be missionaries to Gracemount, incarnational in Gracemount, and a gospel apologetic together for the sake of Gracemount. As of August 2015, Mark and Fontaine Selway have joined the team in Gracemount. Sol and Carlie Fenne and Charlie Finlayson joined the team in August 2016, working with 20schemes.
PHASE THREE | Church Launch
With the vision set, and a team gathered and trained around that vision, the plant will move towards its launch. With Christians living within the community, events for the community, and the preaching of God’s Word at a service in the community, the group would seek to make disciples of the Lord Jesus, to the glory of God. The long term goal is that the church would ultimately be led by a future generation of indigenous leaders.
1) Prayer partners: Will you commit to regularly praying for Andy as he establishes this important work in Gracemount?
2) Financial support: Would you consider supporting the workers financially?