History of Wellsprings
In May 2006 David & Maggie had never thought about moving home, but by the end of June they had purchased a former church on the edge of Edinburgh! It had been used as a piano workshop for 15 years, and was in need of much renovation.
Their daughter had been having a day out with Jesus on the beach in East Lothian. She was coming back on the bus, and saw a For Sale notice on the church. As an avid 24/7 intercessor, with a heart to start a prayer room, she was intrigued. She was chatting to her mentor soon after, who was encouraging and ‘gave her permission to dream’. A day later she went to see it with some friends. As they wandered around the building, which was crammed with pianos and other musical instruments, they sensed ‘this place needs to be released for worship again’! They felt it had to be a place of holiness and purity, so were struck when they came across an old plaque that said ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’.
She phoned up the agent, and was emailed the particulars. She asked her parents whether they wanted to come and see it too, so one sunny afternoon at the beginning of June they went out and had a look [thinking ‘this is a fun, zany idea, but would be impossible’]. However, as they wandered around it they felt something of excitement stir within. Maggie and David have had a heart for creative prayer and worship for several years, and God had spoken to them in scriptures, dreams and prophecies. As they walked praying around the area afterwards, giving it back to God, a ‘seed was planted’ for a House of Prayer.
As well as a venue for prayer & worship, they could see it being a place for Movement in Worship workshops. It is in a location designated to be a major growth area of Edinburgh to the east, and an ideal location for a church plant.
Nevertheless, there were a number of problems! The property had Planning Permission to turn it into flats, and a number of developers were interested. It was also on the market at offers over £450,000 with only 3 weeks or so left to the closing date.
As he looked into it, David realised that the only way they could consider buying it would be to sell the family home and move…no small decision after 20yrs! Also, trained as an architect, he knew the building needed a huge amount of work to bring it up to standard. It seemed that it would be a rather impulsive, even reckless step. However, try as they may to lay it aside, the thought would not go away. The following Saturday David was out sailing on Loch Lomond and felt the Lord say ‘You are not to worry about this; if it is of me, I will bring it about. If it is not to be, what would the the point have been in worrying about it anyway?’.
An offer was put in for the building – nothing was heard for 24 hrs (and when out swimming at Marchmont the verse ‘the child is not dead, but just sleeping’ came to mind…prompting the response ‘let it awaken!’) – we came home to a message saying the sellers had considered various offers and decided to select ours!
Now the fun began. The family had a holiday booked in Gibraltar, but the planning application was hurriedly put together and submitted the evening before we left. As we delivered the Neighbour Notifications to the adjacent cottages, a burst water main in front of the old church was making a river flow down the street.
Over the next 4 months the family moved into rented accommodation in Craigmillar, while a team of Polish builders created an apartment in the rear of the property. The name was given as ‘Wellsprings’: Maggie saw a well opened and David streams of water running down a hillside. From the earliest opportunity, Friday evening gatherings (called ‘Encounters’) started in the Prayer Room – the small hall at the side – and continue to this present day.
On 1st March 2007 David, Maggie and Christopher moved in (Rachel was sharing a flat with a friend in Craigmillar). That first night there was a bright, red full moon in the sky behind the building….Red Moon Rising!
We saw so many answers to prayer in those first few months. A visitor who ran a business renewing the runways at Edinburgh Airport offered to come and lay a tarmac car park for us. Our heating in the Prayer Room and main building was paid for for over a year. Willing helpers assisted in so many ways, laying carpet that had been used at an exhibition, collecting 100 chairs that were given by a local restaurant, painting and decorating large areas (measured in acres!), tile laying and fitting cupboards etc – Tom Morrow in particular gave selflessly of his time to assist.
One special blessing was in the overgrown field just behind Wellsprings, where a small square of land the width of the garden projected off the main field. The month that we moved in the farmer ploughed this area (which was usually abandoned) and in the days that followed we had an enormous carpet of red poppies. Having left a mature garden for a ‘dumping ground’ this display of colour was a delight. In the days that followed it the red gave way to a show of white wild flowers that grew up through, prompting many prophetic allusions.
In fact, we had a stream of prophetic encouragement as we embarked on this adventure. During the move, David had come across a word given us by John Paul Jackson in 1990, in which he said ‘David & Maggie, your house will be called a house of prayer’. People did not talk about ‘houses of prayer’ then, and we had never thought of it in this context. As David looked through his journals, he saw over 40 confirmations in dreams, prophetic words, scriptures or other signs. On one drive through to the west, God had spoken to him about creating ‘communities of the Spirit’.
Graham Cooke, on a brief visit in 2007, remarked on the peace he felt in Wellsprings, and later said ‘keep to the original vision’. Chris Larkin, his associate, gave us several powerful words, including one where she saw 7 baskets, each representing an aspect of our calling. She referred to us being on the ‘road less travelled’. Many saw the influence of Wellsprings, small though it was, affecting a much wider sphere.
Later in 2007 Regius, a Christian primary school that had begun in the King’s Hall in 1986, relocated into a purpose-built classroom on the ground floor. The links with the school are strong. Several individuals and families moved into the neighbourhood. ‘Wellsprings Community’ began to develop alongside the prayer room, and was formally constituted as a church in 2008.
Over the subsequent years we have had visits and input from many; Ruth Fazal, Chris Larkin, Trevor Baker, Martin Neil, Andy Au, Justin Abrahams, Dave Vaughan, John Crowder, Francois du Toit, Andre Rabe, Brian Hayes, Colin Symes, Rupert Ward, Paul Manwarring, Godfrey Birtill, Dr Baxter Kruger, the band Iona to name just some…
The vision continues to develop and evolve. While benefiting greatly from input from many quarters, not least Bethel (Redding CA) and the New Mystics, we have recognised that the Lord is doing an indigenous work here; we are ‘church with a difference’ and happy to be a unique expression of His glory and grace.