Minister’s Letter September 2015

Dear friends,

On Wednesday 1st July we were privileged to set off as a family for Ghana to visit our friends in Christ Presbyterian Congregation Adentan, the congregation with which St Andrew’s has been twinned with for the past 8 years. It was truly wonderful for Julie and I to be back in Ghana; this time accompanied by Bethany and Karalyn.

We offer our sincere thanks for the generous hospitality that was extended to us, and it was very moving to be welcomed by Rev Nii Armah Ashittey and the members of his congregation with such warmth. We were deeply touched to rekindle friendships that were forged when we have met visitors from Christ Presbyterian Congregation over these past years. We were equally touched by the affection that the people of Christ Presbyterian Congregation have for our own congregation in Brussels.

As a family we visited the General Assembly offices, GA Presbytery offices, the Abokobi Women’s Retreat Centre and Akrapong, where the early missionaries establish Presbyterianism. Not far from Akrapong is Aburi girls school, where our very own Edith Sangster taught as a missionary teacher in the early 1950’s.

Returning to Ghana after a period of 8 years has led me to reflect on a deeper level about our twinning. What have we gained over the years with both congregations putting time and effort into sustaining and developing the relationship?

Firstly congregations that have developed a twinning relationship experience the world church first hand. It is quite a different thing to speak and pray about the world church than it is to experience fellowship with other Christians from a different continent. To some extent at St Andrew’s we are very blessed to be an international congregation that welcomes believers from all over the world. However by and large this is a very different situation to other congregations in Scotland.

Secondly, we discover what we have in common. We share the same scriptures and we have the same purpose to be a living and faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Both churches share some of the same problems. So it is a blessing to gain a mutual understanding of one another’s context. Over the years we have been able to be of mutual support and encouragement to one another with various projects.

Next, we gain an appreciation of the differences that exist between the two congregations. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has developed a particular approach to Presbyterianism which has significant differences from our own. For example every four years the minister is moved on to another congregation. Senior ministers are put in charge of a district which normally comprises several congregations. The numbers of people are much larger than what we experience in the west. For example, in Christ Presbyterian Congregation there is usually about 700 worshippers over the two morning services while about 200 people are part of the Sunday school. These are just some of the things that are part of the ‘brand’ of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG).

Lastly we are enriched by the friendship that have develop over the years. In particular the people with whom we have had regular contact or the members of Christ Presbyterian Congregation who have taken the time to visit St Andrew’s in the past.

We give thanks for our brothers and sisters in Christ at Christ Presbyterian Congregation Adentan for we are reminded that our church in Brussels is part of something much bigger as we share fellowship with Christians all over the world

Your Minister and friend,