It is said that St Augustine’s Dumbarton is one of the liveliest and forward-looking parishes in the Diocese, and we wouldn’t disagree with that! Our main service on a Sunday is populated by a good cross-section of the community we serve, and worship tends to be informal but with a certain degree of devotion that one would expect! The 11am Eucharist includes folk of all ages, and a Sunday School is provided. The music tends to be “modern”, led by a keyboard, guitars and clarinet, rather than with an organ, but it caters for all tastes. The Liturgy is in modern language, and includes as much lay involvement as possible. The 9am Eucharist is attended by about 12 folk who prefer the Prayer Book Service, and this is a quieter more contemplative experience.
The building itself, completed in 1873, is rather remarkable, having been restored to its former glory in 2003, and is in itself an aid to prayer. We try to keep it open as much as possible, and folk from all over, visiting our High Street, will pop in from time to time to light a candle or simply just to soak up the beauty. Regular concerts and events take place in the building as well as worship times.
A new Community Hall has been added lately, and here we find numerous community groups at work tackling the numerous social issues which are found at the heart of any town ministry. The congregation is inclusive in its attitudes, welcoming opportunities for ecumenism, and are always grasping new opportunities to serve the people of our town.
We are open to change and are willing to take chances and risks to move forward. That is how every Parish should be! We sometimes disagree about how this should be done – but, hey- it makes for an interesting life, and we never fall out with each other! Living the Gospel should be an adventure, an exciting challenge, and we tend to deal with a God of Surprises!