Gracemount, Edinburgh

Planter(s): Andy Prime
Progress/Category: Launched
Address: Gracemount Church Plant
c/o 20schemes
PO Box 20840
Edinburgh South East
EH16 4RY
Andy and Sarah Prime

Andy Prime

The Vision

To be a church in Gracemount that reaches the people of Gracemount with the gospel of Jesus.

The Need

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), 2016. 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:
When Gracemount is compared with the rest of Edinburgh the following key differences in deprivation were found:-

• The rate of income deprivation in Gracemount based on SIMD 2016 was almost 2.5 times higher than the rest of Edinburgh.
• There was a reduction in income deprivation in Gracemount from 32% in SIMD 2006 to 23% in SIMD 2016.

• The rate of employment deprivation in Gracemount based on SIMD 2016 was almost 2.3 times higher than the rest of Edinburgh.
• There was a reduction in employment deprivation in Gracemount from 26% in SIMD 2006 to 19% in SIMD 2016.

Levels of crime
• Crimes per 10,000 population in Gracemount based on SIMD 2016 was 1.8 times higher than the rest of Edinburgh.
• There was a reduction in crimes per 10,000 population in Gracemount from 1,354 in SIMD 2006 to 702 in SIMD 2016.

The 2015 Health and Wellbeing profile contains 56 indicators across 11 domains. The small area comprising Gracemount, Southhouse and Burdiehouse has 17 indicators significantly worse than the national average. The key differences included:

• Male life expectancy of 71.4 years compared to 77.4 for Edinburgh;
• Rate of alcohol-related hospital stays about than 2.2 times the rate for the whole of Edinburgh
• Rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (e.g. emphysema) hospital admissions more than 2.7 times the rate for the whole of Edinburgh;
• Teenage pregnancy rate of 74.1 compared to 33.6 for the whole 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.

The Opportunity

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 Switch’s existing relationships and experience in Gracemount and the experience, resources, and training that 20schemes, has provided a great opportunity and a great foundation on which to plant a church.

The Timeline

PHASE ONE | Training & Indigenisation
The first year (from September 1st 2014) was 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, necessitated the time spent learning from the team at NCC. And given that every scheme is different it was 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 was important that this period preceded both the gathering of a launch team and the commencement of a service. Andy neither wanted to be a pilot who asked people to get on my plane before he’d learnt to fly or set the direction of travel, or be a pilot who was 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) involved 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 would sign-up to that vision, forming the launch team for the plant. Initially they met to pray, to study God’s Word, to be trained as a group prior to launching an official Sunday gathering. It was imperative that this group all be missionaries to Gracemount, living in Gracemount, and a gospel apologetic together for the sake of Gracemount.

PHASE THREE | Church Launch
With the vision set, and a team gathered and trained around that vision, the plant launched on Easter Sunday 2017. With Christians living within the community, events for the community, and the preaching of God’s Word at a gathering in the community, they are committed to living the great commandment and obeying the great commission, both within the gospel community of Gracemount Community Church. The long term goal is that the church would ultimately be led by a future generation of indigenous leaders. To that end they are praying that in 10 years time they would be a church that is established and trusted in Gracemount, having seen conversion growth that reflects the diversity of the scheme.

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