It’s hardly surprising that the first folk to lead an SU holiday on Arran thought that Kingscross would be a good place to pitch their tents. I will always remember the view that first time I walked from the bus at the road end in 1983. I was a fairly young leader at an Easter camp. The rain was turning to snow and the wind was bitterly cold but it was the view that took my breath away. The weather did not improve at any point that week but my appetite for the site was whetted. I would be back. Nearly thirty years later our own children have very fond memories of Kingscross as they must have felt it was their second home for a number of years through the combination of our leading of camps and being involved in work parties to decorate, dig ditches and knock down walls.
It has been a few years now since we lead a camp at Kingscross so it was lovely to take the chance to return to visit the site recently to celebrate 60 years of SU Holidays at Kingscross. The sun shone for us – there haven’t been many days when you could say that this summer! There were many there who had been to camps in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s thus making some of us feel very young for once. What a privilege to hear stories of what God has done under the canvas or under the stars over these past 60 years. We toured the site, walked that familiar path to the point and shared lunch together. As we did so we talked about what it used to be like. We also reflected on the number of people who have heard and experienced the good news as a result of an SU Holiday here.
A service of celebration provided the main focal point for our thanksgiving. It is important to remember that the work of Scripture Union Scotland is not about events, campsites or the characters that we remember along the way. We were reminded that the Bible is a covenant and not merely a guide book. The good news is about the transformation of lives and not just about good holidays in a pretty place. New birth is not about what we can do but about what God has done. The enduring word of God lasts for ever. Despite the speed of change in our society the word of God is enduring and will endure long after SU Holidays have ceased to pitch tents at Kingscross. How many times has the word of God been opened and shared in this place? How many times has this resulted in enduring change in individual lives? How many people will point to a day and a time at Kingscross where they can say with certainty that everything changed?
We closed the service of celebration singing How Great Thou Art. The words of the first verse potently describe the sense with which we can marvel at God’s wonderful creation when we are away from the noise and dirt of the big city. The SU campsite at Kingscross provides a focus for such marveling. As we were leaving to come back home the team for KX5 was gathering and preparing to share good news again with many more children and young people. God continues to be good and we should continue to be thankful for all those who have been good news for us and for our children in that beautiful spot near Whiting Bay. I wonder what stories they will tell after another 60 years of SU Holidays at Kingscross.
Words and photos by Gordon McKinlay