a true holiday
Our word, holiday, is derived from the Old English haligdæg—in other words a holy day, a consecrated day, a day set apart from the norm, a Sabbath rest. In this original sense, our Refuge day away last Sunday was truly a holiday, a wonderful holy day, as we removed ourselves from our normal situation, and gathered en masse at the Mugdock Country Park, nestled in the Campsie Fells north of Glasgow.
During a wonderful time of worship, our guest preacher—Andy Hunter of the FIEC—addressed us from Acts 13 and laid bare the stark reality of the missional challenges that lie ahead for us in a rapidly secularised Scotland. At the end of the service, it was fitting, then, that Refuge Church sent out Ali, Erica and Olivia McKibben as they heed a call to help relaunch a church in Aberdeen [more on this below].
After our service of worship, we shared a delicious feast of pulled-pork before heading out to perambulate the loch and finishing our time together with coffee and cake.
a bittersweet farewell
Whilst our day away was filled with joy and laughter, it was also a bittersweet day as we said goodbye to our dear friends, Ali, Erica and Olivia. Our trip to the Mugdocks provided a suitable occasion to mark their sending off from Refuge, and providentially fitting that the text Andy preached on was (unbeknown to him) the very Scripture that had first spoken to Ali and Erica as they sought to discern God’s will in regards to moving to Aberdeen.
On behalf of Refuge, we were able to express our thanks for all the ways in which they have served our church and have been a blessing to individuals within. The were committed members from the earliest days—indeed, once upon a time, Refuge used to meet in their living room! They served in many ways together: both were part of the leadership team helping to direct the vision and values of our church; they hosted and led a community group; they both served on kids, worship, and by tending to our rota.
Both served individually in many ways, too. Ali is a Trustee (a role that he will continue to undertake remotely) in tracking Refuge’s finances and in helping with our budget. Whilst Ali’s enthusiasm extended to all areas of services, he had a very particular and peculiar passion for the distribution and arrangement of chairs on a Sunday morning, a mantle that he has now (rather tentatively) passed onto Chris.
Erica led the women’s ministry so very capably, as well as initiating and co-leading a women’s mid-week Community Group. Furthermore, she also led our prayer ministry, which she was passionate about.
Moreover, both Ali and Erica did so much more behind the scenes, much of which would have gone unnoticed. Significantly, they opened their home to many, and discipled many in the church family.
They will be sorely missed—not only because of all that they have done, not only because we will no longer be beneficiaries of their gifts, passion and commitment—but they will be missed most of all because they are good friends.
On behalf of Refuge, we give thanks for the McKibbens and may God bless them in all their endeavours up in Aberdeen.