Highland International Church open for service
On a 21st-century anniversary of Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a newly-formed congregation of the International Presbyterian Church had its first meeting in an Inverness Hotel.
On the first day of April, on a sunny Spring morning in Spring 2012, a group of Jesus' followers gathered in the Highland capital for the first service of a new congregation in Inverness. Along with encouragers from the local area and other supporters from further afield, two former Church of Scotland ministers led a service which mainly comprised of former Kirk members who have left the denomination because of the latter’s de facto departure from a biblical stance on sexuality.
Around 60 worshippers covering three generations gathered in the city’s Palace Hotel which looks across the river to Inverness Castle. Young children with their parents met first at 10.30am followed by the bulk of the adults arriving around 11.00am. Light refreshments were available as folk mingled and chatted expectantly prior to the formal part of the service which commenced at 11.30am and lasted for over an hour. Clerical attire was nowhere to be seen in an atmosphere which was – at both ends of the service – highly informal and friendly.
Rev. Peter Humphris who had retired from and left both his former denomination and church in Kinmylies shared the leading with Rev. Dr. James Torrens who has also left the Kirk. Peter gave his testimony of how he found faith in Christ during his studies at university, while James – until recently the minister at St. Rollox’s Church in Glasgow – delivered the sermon. He spoke of how change and uncertainty can be destabilising; but also of the confidence that believers can have in the Lord for all their present and future direction and needs.
James, who belongs originally to Northern Ireland, plans to move to the Highlands with his wife and children during the summer holiday period. Originally a medical doctor before taking up his first church charge in Glagow, said of his new situation and opportunity:
“I am delighted to be involved in this new work; and to be plaing my part along with my family in an outward-facing church reaching out with the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Until the summer period his colleague Peter will serve as an ‘anchorman’ prior to the Torrens family taking up residence in the area.
The background to this new development, and its links to the International Presbyterian Church are described in an earlier article. For the present the new congregation will continue to hold the Sunday services in the Palace Hotel in Ness Walk, with a mid-week Bible study group taking place in a family home in the city.
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