Paul Bayton gives us an update on Scripture Union up at Aviemore
Life at Alltnacriche has been busy over the winter season, which seems to have been quite lengthy in comparison to last year. We still had several inches of snow on the ground last week and ice in the gorge, meaning the planned activities had to be changed.
We managed to complete many of the winter objectives we had set and asked you to pray for.
Training courses always result in some additional work, as you learn to look for new things, evaluate what is currently done, and ensure you are following current best practice. A mixture of ropes course maintenance, first aid, archery, winter mountain biking, coaching, speaking about our faith with young people, staff conference and management training (a course called LeadOn) have all been attended by various members of the team.
This week sees the fourth school group of the season and we’ve had a number of weekend groups in the centre since the new year. Forward school bookings are strong, but we still have some vacant weekends.
Bookings are now being managed on our new booking system called Venue360, alongside bookings at Lendrick Muir and soon, Gowanbank. While this was a significant investment of time, it has been very worthwhile. It simplifies a lot of our processes and will allow all the centres to see where there is availability, which will be really helpful.
We have welcomed Bregtje Sijtsma as house keeper who originally hails from the Nederlands, but has lived in Scotland for some years. She is learning about the way Alltnacriche works, going on training courses, and very much making Alltnacriche a welcoming environment.
Unfortunately we have not been successful in appointing a cook. In the short term we have been working with agency chefs to ensure our kitchen function continues and the groups have certainly enjoyed the food! It would make a massive difference to the team to have someone in that role in the long term, so as we review out advertising strategy, and how the role is described we would value your prayer – and if you know a Christian Chef who is looking for a new challenge….
Paul is spending an increasing time away from Alltnacriche, as he is heavily involved in the set up of Gowanbank House in Ayrshire. He is regularly there Monday and Tuesday each week, and then back at Alltnacriche for the remainder of the week, although his work during that time is still focussed on Gowanbank. Please pray for Dave Moss as he looks after the operational needs of Alltnacriche, supported by his team, and for Paul as he seeks to support him.
We will shortly be welcoming SU Holidays back for the first of their 10 weeks of events over the year. In the pro- gramme this year we have increased the number of primary events, allowing us to promote more SU Holidays at Alltnacriche at school residentials.
In autumn we plan to mark 30 years of SU Scotland ministry at Alltnacriche, and our next update in June will give some more details about what we plan to do. If you would like to get more of a feel of what is going on, why not have a look at our Facebook Page?
The overall financial position of SU Scotland has improved substantially over the past 12 months due to the generosity of supporters and the careful management of expenditure, and only a small deficit remains. That said, we still need regular committed giving to help us plan the work and ministry, which we believe God has asked us to do. If you would like to get on board and help us in helping young people explore the Bible and respond to the significance of Jesus, you can donate here. You can choose whether your donation supports the wider organisation or the specific work at Alltnacriche.
Please pray for:
- The successful recruitment of a cook, who will integrate well and quickly contribute to the practical and spiritual life of the team.
- The safety and wellbeing of every child and young person who comes to Alltnacriche.
- The whole team at Alltnacriche and the families that they represent. The centre would not function without the wider support that these families give those on the staff team. Pray for their protection.
- Pray in particular for Richard Revill, husband of our administrator, Elizabeth, who suffered a heart attack earlier this week. Pray for a full recovery and restoration for Richard.
- Confidence for our team as they share their faith appropriately with young people, putting training into practice!
- That we would be people of integrity, living out the Christian faith in a way that commends it to all who come here.
- We have a number of vacant weekends and are keen to get them filled. Fancy a weekend away?!
Paul, on behalf of the team at Alltnacriche.
On a more personal note …
Over winter, we often feel as though there is a lower pace, time to strengthen for the season ahead. With the vacancies we are carrying, Paul’s increased commitments away from home, and Shula having increased responsibility at Alltnacriche, it does feel as though we are starting the season more tired than we would like. This has an impact on both work and family life.
Family life is varied and busy—Morven heads to Birmingham to compete in a school robotics event with some fellow pupils this weekend, so that is her focus at the moment. Finlay is looking forward to his SU weekend in a couple of weeks. We are then off on holiday at Easter time, visiting family in Surrey and Oxford. Prayer for a time of refreshing would be appreciated.
Paul is based at Gowanbank (Ayrshire) on Monday and Tuesday each week, then drives back home on Tuesday evening. Pray for safety in travel, and for Shula and the rest of the family while he is away. Church-wise we are about to start the process of looking for a minister after 5 years of vacancy, and there is a sense of trepidation about that. Again prayer valued.
Thanks again for all of you who keep in contact with us, encourage us and pray for us.