Did you know that there are more than 1,700 references in the Bible to children and childhood? These reflect God’s special care and concern for children, the gifts they have and how God uses children and young people in His purposes and kingdom. There are so many stories through the Bible of God using and speaking through children and young people. Jesus and God gives priority to those who may seem too young; too small etc.
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‘Children are deeply woven into God’s purposes but are also makers of God’s story’
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
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
Maryhill Parish Church is coming to the end of its time as a Priority Areas church. As part of our PA journey, we joined the Chance to Thrive programme, which prompted us to focus on what it is we do to serve the community and how we could do better going forward. We wanted service to be embedded in everything we do, so we came up with three strands to describe our work: Care for Others, Care for Young People and Care for the Environment... read more
I saw a tube of toothpaste and I cried. But we’ll get to that later.
One of the five values of the YAV program is intentional Christian community.
“YAVs explore what it means to be a Christian community with one another and their neighbors. While some will live in housing together and others spread throughout their country, all YAVs will reflect together on their service and explore their relationship with God, the church, and their ministry in a broken world.”
Not that I wasn’t expecting it, maybe more so it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but my intentional Christian community in the context of my YAV year extends far beyond my YAV community... read more
Priority Area churches are examples for the rest of the church in the way they serve their communities in the name of Christ. Mission and service is in their DNA. The challenge is always to not think that service in the community is ALL that God requires of us. Worship is the first priority for us as visible expressions of Christ’s body on earth. Our service in our communities flows from our worship, otherwise we engage in mere activism. Therefore, how we engage in worship becomes extremely important, so I want to talk about this area of ministry in this post... read more