This is my first submission to this blog. I’m still something of a newbie to Scotland, having moved to Irvine, from Worcestershire just a year ago, to take up my role as Development Coordinator for the Go For It-funded project, Fullarton ConneXions.
ConneXions is a social enterprise that serves as the ‘arms’ of Fullarton Parish Church, providing hospitality to a priority area in the shape of a hub for the local community that is a safe space, celebrates and nurtures caring relationships, runs a community cafe serving nutritious food, provides opportunities to volunteer and develop skills, celebrates the Arts, and grows and develops new ecclesial communities. Ultimately we are about extending the powerful, transformative love of God to the parish and reaching out to people who are put off or confused by the word ‘church’.
ConneXions is the sort of project that I have had a vision to be involved with for many years. I dreamt of the kind of community that grows up out of sharing life incarnationally with those around us.
It never occurred to me, initially, that the geographical location for this vision was to be Scotland, but following God is often like completing a jigsaw puzzle; worked out over time, as each piece of the overall picture slots into place, and the rest remains a mystery, to be discovered when we place our trust in God for the next step.
In 2013, I visited Glasgow on business and made some links in the area. I continued to travel up and down the country over the next couple of years in my role. It was at that time when I started to develop a deep love for Scotland.
As a family, we had holidayed in the Highlands and continually waxed lyrical about the charm and beauty of this country to all who would listen, and we began to think that God was guiding us to relocate. I could regale you with countless stories of the signs and confirmations we received over the next few years, but it would take a whole book! Eventually, after pushing numerous doors, we sensed that God was inviting us to position ourselves in South West Scotland and we happened to visit Fullarton ConneXions in passing one Sunday. Having got to know the minister, Neil Urquhart, we felt drawn to the vision of the church and fell in love with the town of Irvine. Within a few months we had been offered the job of coordinating all that goes on at the centre and investing our lives into serving Fullarton. All the usually-stressful parts of relocating, like finding and selling a home, removals and applying for school places simply fell into place as we entrusted the future to God.
And today, we are here, loving life in Scotland and fully ensconced in the ever-growing business of ensuring that ConneXions continues to serve the local people, address the needs of the community and build the kingdom of God here in this little corner of the world.
Ashley Vaughan is Development Co-ordinator at Fullarton ConneXions in Irvine, a role he shares with his wife Esther. They have four children and have lived in Irvine since July 2017. Ashley enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, music and sport and recently completed a BA degree in Mission and Ministry.
Subscribe to the blog
To receive the Go For It blog direct to your Inbox every Monday, please e-mail the Go For It Team