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From the 19th-26th July 2014, over 400 Reformed Presbyterians from Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Mexico, and Australia gathered at Gartmore, Scotland for the Irish RP International Conference held every 4 years. Grant, Yvonne, and Jacob Alexander (Airdrie RPCS) had not been to an International Conference before, so we asked them to write about their impressions of the week.
When the ‘save the date’ cards came out for Gartmore 2014, back in 2012, we set our minds on going. Not just attending but staying for the full week. We decided that by staying we would meet more people and enjoy the conference to the full. As the day approached we wondered what the accommodation would be like and about the food.
From the moment we arrived we felt at home. The accommodation was lovely (we stayed in the house itself), and the food was excellent and very family friendly. We were in the family dining room. This was good for us as we were forced to get to know other people rather than staying with those that we already knew. There was a rota of young helpers to aide parents with young children. They helped by carrying plates to the table or sitting with children whilst parents were being served. It was the little touches that created such a loving, family environment.
The conference speaker was Rev Kenneth Stewart from Glasgow RPCS. The theme was 40 days: Resurrection to Ascension. Everyone was challenged in some way by his sermons and exposition of Scripture. In the morning, after the main teaching, there was the choice of some seminars. These included medical ethics, making the Sabbath a delight, social media, and woman to woman, to name a few. Whilst the adults were learning the children were also learning in their own age appropriate groups. What a fruitful time for everyone.
The afternoons were filled with various fun activities and outings. Given the fantastic weather it was a joy to relax, chat with others, and appreciate the surrounding areas and scenery and the beauty of God’s creation. Younger children played together in freedom and safety whilst older children, teenagers, and adults of all ages took part in organised activities. In the evenings Rev Robert McCollum led family worship after which there was a game or quiz for everyone.
Here are a few of our own family reflections:
Grant enjoyed the preaching, teaching, and the fellowship.
Jacob enjoyed the family worship times, his group time in the morning, and making and playing with lots of new friends. Water guns were also mentioned!
Yvonne enjoyed the teaching and fellowship as well. She also enjoyed seeing Jacob so happy and learning and retaining so much.
We really appreciated the time and effort put in by all those involved in working with the children. It was an encouragement to experience the love and effort given to teaching the children and young people in the ways of the Lord.
There were a number of people present at the conference from the Scottish RP congregations. This in turn was a great encouragement to those who have prayed for the RP church in Scotland. Each person will have their own personal experience that they will undoubtedly be happy to share. We have been richly blessed and challenged in so many ways. We plan to be at Gartmore 2018 – will you?
“From the perspective of a new member of the Scottish RP church, it was great to meet brethren from the Irish and American church who have given us so much support.
A great time of fellowship and as always with Mr Stewart very challenging talks which move you to self examination.” – David Murray, Glasgow RPCS
“Really blessed by Gartmore 2014. You should all go in 2018.” – Karen Reyburn, Airdrie RPCS
“We are thankful to God for the international RP conference, held in Gartmore last week. It was so encouraging to see over 400 people gather together from so many countries for a time of teaching, fellowship, psalm singing and wholesome, family centred entertainment. It was especially great for us to meet some from the churches who have been so generous in helping the RP church in Scotland. We now look forward to Gartmore 2018, God willing!” – Glasgow RPCS
“RP International Conference at Gartmore – excellent preaching and excellent fellowship!” – Debbie Boyd, Airdrie RPCS
The talks are now up on the RPCI website and can be downloaded here – Gartmore 2014