Dear Friends,

Our time away in the UK is over and I want to thank you if you prayed for us – I think we were able to contribute to many in the ministry of God’s Word. We are also greatly looking forward to being with you again and have prayed each day for our beloved church Family.

Thank you to all who have kept things going so well at St Thomas’ – Kathy and I have listened to the sermons we have missed and thank the Lord for the excellent teaching and exhortations each week for the past four Sundays. And Mike Clark has steered the staff in a wise and loving way and (no doubt) everyone has kept going with their part.

The first week we arrived was the Scottish Keswick – held in the town of Kilmarnock. The English Keswick has been held for about 170 years in the Lake District but this was the first ever Scottish Keswick. Four young pastors hired a hall to see who would come and were encouraged that nearly 600 turned up for the 400 seats. It was a great privilege to teach the Word and on the Saturday to talk to 50-60 pastors from the area about priorities in ministry. On the Sunday I preached in a Kilmarnock Free Church – we then caught the train to Glasgow from the very station where young John Paton did the same in the 1840’s before his remarkable missionary service in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu).

In Glasgow we attended the “Servants of the Word” conference led by Dr. William Philip of the Tron Church. It was a terrific week – held each year to strengthen pastors and students in handling God’s Word. It was great to share the teaching with William and my old boss Dick Lucas (nearly 93 but still sharp as a tack in every way). Each afternoon we had round table seminars with pastors who would present a short message to be gently critiqued and sharpened. The Tron Church took a biblical stand on marriage some years ago and was removed from its exceptional building in the middle of the city. But the Lord has blessed the real church with convictions and progress in so many ways – I think I was most convicted by the number of young people from the church thinking towards ministry of the Word and have resolved to pray and work towards more MTS apprentices (what could be a greater fruit from
St Thomas’?).

The Scottish churches struggle like all Western churches but I was able to preach at a Tron plant, the Tron itself and St Silas (an evangelical Anglican church in Glasgow) all faithful and fruitful places. And in Edinburgh a former Student Minister from
St Thomas’ (Paul Rees) leads a wonderful work at Charlotte Chapel with 700 members in the morning congregation.

We drove from Glasgow to Burford near Oxford for a Home Houseparty (a “Staycation”) which was a great time. The minister has worked in the village for twenty years and – no mean feat – has seen a small and formal church become keen and lively while becoming familiar with almost everyone in the village. My role was to teach the weekend and preach at the Sunday services. In all these opportunities I have been very conscious of your prayers and people have seemed very grateful . It has been good to catch up with friends – including Sam Chapman as he studies in Oxford.

The last week has been a holiday and we return with much thanks to the Lord and to you.

In fellowship,

Simon Manchester