Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Carpe Diem Scotland

John McIntosh-Brown,
Director of Message Scotland
at the National Prayer Breakfast, a
Godly man with a Godly vision.
And so the Scotland visit continued.  It was a very great privilege to be present at the National Prayer Breakfast for Scotland at the Glasgow City Chambers.  I am deeply grateful to John McIntosh-Brown, Director of Message Scotland, who enabled me to be on his table for the event.  John is a marvellous Christian Man with a great vision for Scotland. 

In addition to praying for Scotland we were treated to interviews with Olympic Rower Debbie Flood and Commonwealth Swimmer for Scotland Kirsty Kettles (nee Balfour) who spoke with sincerity about their Christian faith in response to questions from Graham Daniels, General Director of Christians in Sport. This felt like an important gathering at the heart of a great city focusing on Scotland as a whole.
The amazing
Glasgow City Chambers

I must mention the wonderful folk of Falkirk who gathered together on the evening of 24th June to pray and give thanks as the Queen’s Baton Relay arrived in the area.  Christians from various churches gathered in celebration and to give testimony to God at Falkirk Baptist Church.  I am convinced from my own experience of the Olympic Torch coming to Portland in 2012 that the opportunities to engage with communities around us on the back of these events is considerable indeed.  I am sad that some churches and ministers do not get that.  This might sound judgemental, but actually I think it is pretty obvious.  Just look at how many churches do actively engage with these events in any area and how many do not.  At Falkirk Baptist Church I sought to represent More than Gold 2014 and shared in the leading of the Thanksgiving Service.  I pay tribute to Christians, sometimes in small fellowships and churches, who faithfully witness and worship week by week.  They never hit the headlines, but God sees their faithfulness.
Falkirk Baptist Church

Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist
Church where the Regeneration and City
of Culture Bid was launched
We were very pleased at the launch to eat
some Paisley patterned Cakes!
I also spent some time in Paisley.  Some of Paisley is a little ragged around the edges, but it is not alone in that many places have lost their former glory.  The difference in Paisley is that Council and Community leaders seem to be joining together in a bid to find a new direction building on the exciting heritage of the past, not least in the areas of science and engineering.  The present vision is to try to win UK City of Culture status in 2021.  I attended the launch of the Regeneration and City of Culture Bid.  Called “Paisley – The Untold Story” this was an inspiring mix of speeches and performance.  Paisley is about more than the pattern that comes out of it, wonderful as that is!  I was pleased to be able to have a chat with Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, explaining that in my local area the community had benefitted greatly from partnership work between the Church and the local Council.  I hoped that in Paisley the Church would be fully engaged in such a way.  It was good of Mark to chat with me.  See their Facebook page in Paisley https://www.facebook.com/paisleyscotland

Ish Lennox - a brilliant Christian woman!
The following morning I was back in Paisley with the wonderful Ish Lennox from More than Gold 2014 to meet with Paisley Church Leaders at a Paisley Pastors’ Breakfast as we sought to encourage them to make the most of the opportunities presented by the Commonwealth Games and other associated events.  It was good to see around 18 church leaders meeting together for prayer and conversation.  It reminded me of the Church Leaders’ Breakfasts that we share in here in Weymouth and Portland and of the way that these have provided a backbone relationally to our mission and ministry together.  I am thrilled that the Methodist Central Hall in Paisley will be open when the Baton goes past.  What a wonderful time that will be as Christians reach out in hospitality, welcome and ministry to the crowds.

My visit to Scotland reminded me again of the rich heritage spiritually that exists there.  My hope is that through the Commonwealth Games and with the support of More than Gold there will be many opportunities for the Church to demonstrate how much it has to offer.  The time has come to seize the day.

Carpe Diem Church in Scotland.  Seize the Day - to the glory of God