It is midsummer in Edinburgh and living at the Meadows, where we do, we see the seasons come and go in stark contrast to one another. The bright green lawns and leafy trees will change in the coming months to the pretty fall where autumn-colored leaves pile up in mounds along the pathways. Winter will come with bare black branches and stark landscapes, gaining the ability to see the distant hills and a possible white blanket of snow. Then the signs of Spring will appear, and the patches of yellow daffodils and all the blossoms of the flowering trees will give way to bluebells and buttercups and the variety of the beautiful summer flowers once again. What amazing creation and a magnificent Creator indeed!
We were in Edinburgh for the first gathering of Victory Hill Church, a Christmas service on 8th December 2019 at the Kimpton Hotel in Charlotte Square. Our return flight to Cape Town had been delayed for a day and we were grateful to have had the opportunity to be present. There was such an air of expectancy and faith for this new beginning led by Niko, Bex, and a small group of young adults giving it all for the King of Kings.
2020 was a year of lockdowns, but amidst social distancing, the church grew with online Sunday and midweek meetings.
Relationships developed and we, too, were able to participate in some of those meetings from Cape Town, opening an opportunity for us to know the small group that was gathering.
On the first Sunday of April 2021 when we arrived back to now live in Edinburgh, the church was able to return to meeting at the Kimpton Hotel in person. Despite having to wear masks, we were happy to congregate and see people whom we had only met online. The church grew rapidly as God added people from different nations who had recently arrived in the city, including five new students who came to Edinburgh University. Many events were held including picnics, baptisms at the beach, midweek worship events, and special services for Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. The church venue changed several times using hotel meeting rooms and ending the year in a hotel in Grassmarket which suited us well, primarily through the cold and sometimes snowy winter.
We have now moved again to meet in the Community Project Centre, Grassmarket. It is just around the corner from our previous venue and in the city center and easily accessed.
With predominantly single young adults and as happens in any city church, there has been much coming and going in Victory Hill. Those who have moved on are deeply missed and we are grateful that God had positioned them here in the early stages. The church has been changing month by month and we are excited to see what God will do in the weeks ahead. A strong base is being established and all those now with us are committed and engaged in serving in various capacities. Praise God for his faithfulness!
It was a blessing to host a one-day Regions Beyond leaders gathering for the Northern Region here in the UK. Friends from Hull, Durham, and Northumberland came to the city, having Fusi Mokoena, Alan Bell, and Niko Kapoor minister on leadership. It was an encouraging time of fellowship, prayer, and worship, and it was good to get to know one another and hear what God is doing in the relating churches. We trust that this is just the beginning of future such events as we see new leaders raised, new churches planted, and God’s Kingdom established here in Scotland and England as well as in our neighboring countries across the seas!
A vision was shared for Victory Hill of many small children within the church. The following Sunday, the first new family with children, apart from Niko and Bex, who have Asher, joined the church! We trust that God will bring many more families in the coming days.
Steve Whittington ministered in the church recently, and through several words of knowledge, there was specific encouragement and affirmation for individuals in the church. Steve also brought news of the new church in Birmingham and news from Tanzania. We were encouraged as he shared how it was good to be with us in person as they had been praying for us. We have been cultivated as a church to be bold in our witness and go out into the highways and byways. With that, we are presently running evangelism equipping teaching in our connect groups.
We thank God for our partnerships in the Gospel through being connected with Regions Beyond and look forward to ongoing connections being made and relationships established within the UK and the Nations as we see His Kingdom come!
Walking out early one morning as I admire the beautiful spires of the many old church buildings in the city and asked God about them and the city, I felt Him saying: “Their hearts were for me”.
With the new academic year starting in September, we look forward to a fresh advance in the life of the church as we pray for the new first-year students who will be coming into the city. Also as the students and others return from summer vacation, we trust in God for growth and an advance of the Gospel.
Scotland used to be called the Land of the Book and there have been several revivals here; the effects of which have reached across the nations. In the past, many preachers and other famous people have come from Scotland, but now many people are anti-God and anti the church. We pray now that the Holy Spirit will come and breathe life into this region and that Scotland would be known not only as the Land of the Book, but the Land of God’s Spirit and His Presence.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Sending love from Edinburgh,