Pentecostals and Presbyterians get together
Two local churches which sit at opposite ends of the theological spectrum have recently held a joint service in their local town.
Revs. J Dereck Grant and Murdo Macleod
In what has been described as “an unique occasion", the Pentecostal Church of God and the Free Church of Scotland congregations in the Highland town of Nairn recently met together for a joint church service.
Paving the way for this development has been the recent relaxation by some Free Church congregations regarding the denomination’s previously strict ‘no hymns/no instruments’ policies with respect to sung worship.
As an acknowledgement to the two differing traditions of Pentecostal and Free Church praise, the Sunday morning service held in Nairn’s Rosebank Hall commenced with a traditional psalm being sung in unaccompanied fashion. The subsequent songs and hymns were all sung with the support of musical instruments. Children from the Holiday Club also contributed to the service with one of their songs, and the youngsters also recited a memory verse from the Bible to the gathering of around 90 people in the Rosebank Hall.
Church of God pastor J Dereck Grant led the service and the Free Church minister Murdo Macleod preached the sermon from Isaiah 40. The message was centred around the life of Scottish athlete and missionary Eric Liddell and his witness in the Olymic Games in 1924.
Although the barbeque after the service had to be moved indoors because of the weather, both ministers were delighted with the way things had gone. The initiative attracted many positive comments about the Holiday Club and the coming-together of the two local congregations.
It has been said that the two ministers work very well together and the “historic” joint service perhaps illustrates that doctrinal issues of a secondary nature can be set aside when there is a spirit of mutual deference and respect amongst church leaders and within their congregations.
A coming together and a working together based on personal relationships, mutual respect and prayer together will work in a way that formal committee-led ecumenical ambitions very seldom do.