On Monday, I started to count all the stories appearing in the media that were concerned with poverty or the effects of this: “Easing tax on young workers”, “Increasing the supply of affordable homes”, “Benefit freeze to cost families £300 a year”, “One million live in areas of transport poverty” “Seven million children likely to be affected by benefits freeze”, “Parliament to debate roll out of Universal Credit”…
I gave up on Tuesday. It seems that we are all concerned with doing something about this... read more
Every day the Transformation Team works with people in communities across Glasgow, supporting them as they work on what matter most to them. That might be making sure that the older people in their community have a place to go where they’re welcomed so that they’re less isolated and have a better quality of life. Or perhaps what matters most is making sure that everyone in their community is well fed and children aren’t going hungry during the holidays. In another place a church might open its doors so that anyone can come in, get a cuppa and find a safe place and someone who’ll listen to them, whatever it is they need to say... read more
Speaking to a few parents that bring their kids to our existing Saturday morning cinema club, we found out that the very active breakfast club at the local primary school wouldn’t be running over the summer holidays. Parents told us that the social aspects of the breakfast club – coming together with friends, eating together, tidying up together, and getting a good start for the day ahead – were as important as the nutritional need that it filled. We spoke to a local charity called CFINE (Community Food Initiatives North East) and they very kindly made breakfast foods available to us free of charge under the FareShare scheme... read more
The first time I heard the story of how Castlemilk Parish Church came to exist at 1 Dougrie Road, I was covered in goose bumps. It is a story that goes beyond their move into their new building, past the ordination of their current minister, past the union of East and West parish churches, all the way to the start of the scheme with the remarkable people who still make up the body of the kirk each Sunday morning. It’s a story with a whole lot of God working in mysterious, michevious, and wonderful ways... read more
One theme that has come up over and over this past year is the question: how are we being the church? Within Scotland, within The States, within this 21st century world, how are we the church?
Our adventure here in Glasgow working in Priority Areas began in September and is coming to a close, but we have learned and laughed so much.
Working on the PA Instagram this past week, I asked church members where they see God at work within us and how we are being the church in the community. The answers varied. But, at the root was walking with people. At the root was the awareness of and embracing of our community, our brothers and sisters... read more
Alan Sorensen: Greenock: Wellpark Mid Kirk
Do you still have old love letters, or maybe a valentine, in a drawer somewhere? It means something to have, in writing, someone’s love or good wishes. In a PA congregation I’m acutely aware that many folks don’t get anything like the affirmation in life that I do and so at baptisms I often include some tangible way for the congregation’s blessings to be given to the family. It really can have a profound effect... read more
There is a new abbreviation that is starting to emerge in conversation and on social media. ABCD or Asset Based Community Development is the new buzzword, but I wondered if it was part of Jesus ministry, and if it was, then was it being displayed in my ministry as Young Person and Family Worker in Trinity Inverness.
The main youth ministry focus within Trinity right now is a film club. This came about through a Research Project funded by Go For It to look at what young people wanted, with the most requested need being the tools to create a film studio and a community cinema... read more
Community Consultation and the coproduction approach
Good day all,
I am here to talk about the importance of not only working for your community but working with your community.
You see, there is a difference and I have made decisions for people (with the best intentions) only to find out that with some discussion and consultation things could have been so much better. Mistakes are there for us to learn from however and learn I have – now any decisions I make involve community input wherever possible to ensure that they can have their voices heard and so they understand that they are valued... read more
These last days the news has been full of election fever and the broadcasting companies have bringing together candidates for the General Election in different groupings to be interviewed by TV hosts, studio audiences, and even one another.
It is good that we have these opportunities to hear the candidates together although it seems there’s always controversy about which parties get invited to take part, and the debates often end up being bad tempered affairs with people being interrupted and shouted down by their political rivals... read more
Derek Pope who retires as the Convenor of the Priority Areas Committee reflects on a Boys Brigade Review he attended and calls for the Church to embrace a radical theology of Defiance.
Last Friday evening I attended the Annual Review of the Motherwell, Bellshill and District Battalion of the Boys Brigade. The large town centre church was well filled with 250-300 boys, plus their parents and supporters. There was much about the event that was impressive. The large turnout spoke of the commitment of the Lanarkshire churches to the Boys Brigade. John Swinney, the Depute First Minister and Guest of Honour, spoke sincerely of how the BB had shaped his life and how its values were needed today. The Chaplain presented an age appropriate multi media address and the excitement of the boys was palpable as the previously unknown results of the various competitions were revealed. It was a particularly good night for North Motherwell, where this blogger has ministered for the past 22 years, as our small BB Company (the Motherwell 20th) managed to win ‘The Flag’ for the third time in four years. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t quietly pleased for the boys and officers who had put in so much work and were now enjoying the rewards... read more