The Parish of Newbattle - Our Vision
The parish of Newbattle is the largest in Lothian Presbytery with a population of over c 14,000 which is forecast to continue to grow with planned new housing development. In 2003, the boundary of Newbattle Parish (covering Newbattle, Mayfield and Easthouses) was extended to include the village of Newtongrange - effectively restoring the original parish borders of several centuries ago.
The Pilgrims Way at Lindisfarne. - The posts were orginally placed to help guide pilgrims safely across sands during periods of low visability . The are if you like a visual metaphor of our Christian pilgramage and the development of congregational life and activities. We don't always see the big picture or the end goal. Often we walk by faith only seeing the next step. Sir Walter Scott expresses this elooquently:
The church has a distinctive historical heritage. The current building was opened in 1727. However, the congregation can trace its origins back to 1140 and the Cistercian Monastery established by King David I of Scotland. Whilst the church is in need of a certain amount of internal upgrading (heating & lighting) and a sympathetic restoration of the internal layout, we see the building acting as the principle venue for parish weddings and funerals.
Our vision is for the current church to continue serving the local community by offering an inclusive evangelical ministry with an emphasis on preaching and informal worship supported by a strong family ethos and welcome. In addition this part of the parish has no obvious focal point, so we have completed the further development of the Kirkbank Centre (opened in 2007) to host a wide range of community groups and activities, further developing the relationship between church and community.
Newtongrange church was opened in the early 1940's to serve the growing mining community. Although the pit has long since closed, the village is enjoying a new lease of life as a commuter settlement. This has brought increasing levels of prosperity. The anticipated reopening of the Borders Railway (2014/15) with a station situated on the outskirts of the village suggests this trend will continue. Whilst the church enjoys a large site and commanding position within the centre of the village, the premises are in poor condition and not fit for purpose. However, we feel a need to retain a physical presence on the site as a venue for local groups and activities such as Girls' Brigade, Jelly Tots (parents & toddlers group), friendship group, regular worship, study groups and Alpha Courses and a future emerging church project. A options study of the site is due to be carried out in the near future (Spring 2013 - funded by Grant from the General Trustees).
Our vision is to re-establish and develop robust relationships with the community, including the local primary school, centred on building and developing relevant church activities with all sections of the community, but with a particular emphasis on families belonging to the village as well as those new to the area. This will include hosting income generating groups such as children's dance classes, Zumba etc., and the possibility of developing a ministry to isolated elderly with the creation of a mid-week lunch club building upon link through an existing friendship group.
Mayfield and Easthouses
Mayfield and Easthouses Church was opened in 1955 and originally conceived as a hall church, with a separate hall opening some 10 years later. This part of the parish includes significant pockets of urban deprivation and has many of the social problems associated with post war housing developments and more recent relocation of families from other areas with social needs.
Our vision for ministry sees the church returning to is original intended function as a multiuse building, but reconfigured into a community hub offering a cafe facility, soft play area and flexible accommodation suitable for a variety of purposes including Girls' Brigade, play and nursery groups, Messy Church and traditional church services. Central to the vision is the church as a place of hospitality and welcome at the heart of the community. It is anticipated that the cafe facility can be further developed to offer employment training, healthy eating courses etc. as well as a place where people can meet in a safe, comfortable environment where alcohol is not served.
Parish Wide Progress
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