Computer Class 10.15 – 12.00 noon (crèche available)
English Class 1.00 – 3.00pm (crèche available)
Craft Group 1.00 – 3.00pm (crèche available)
Prayer Meeting 7.30 – 8.45pm
Fridays: Men’s Football at Red Road pitches 6pm
For your diary . . .Sunday 2 June: Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper 11.00am
Tuesday 11 June: Congregational Board meeting 7.00 pm, followed by Kirk Session meeting
Church Register Baptism: Dean Butchrat, on Easter Day From the Pulpit
I’m in a sombre mood this time round. I had planned to write something in connection with the General Assembly which is coming up in a few weeks time. But by the time you read this, all will be known and my thoughts will be different. I am hopeful that the so-called Traditionalist position will be seen as the correct stance in relation to the ordination and induction of practising homosexuals to the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament.
But rather than fill more column space with my thoughts on these matters, I would like to tell you something you may not know. Intrigued, eh? Do you know I don’t like magpies? I think they are lovely looking birds, certainly compared to pigeons, but I don’t like their behaviour. I don’t like what they do.
Last year I had the pleasure of seeing something quite amazing. I live in a flat at the top of a tenement. Next door has an overgrown tree whose branches tower above my view. At the top of this tree I saw two magpies wrestling with twigs and pieces of branches they had salvaged. In an operation lasting several weeks the pair constructed a substantial nest. Magpies construct a hood on their nests to prevent other birds harming their eggs and hatchlings (which incidentally is what magpies themselves do to other creatures). So, although I was unable to see the eggs or the hatchlings, in time, two young magpies emerged and began hopping about the branches outside the nest, flapping and trying out their wings. In no time at all they were off –probably flying away to annoy some poor creature somewhere.
It was a lovely experience to take time and watch the creation unfold in the life of these birds, but I still don’t like them. I recall how magpies used to gang up on my wee cat and torment her.
This year I wondered if the two may return. As it happens two did come back. Whether it was the same mating pair I do not know - they all look alike to me! This started a turf war with a squirrel who was resident in the tree. For a couple of weeks I observed daily engagements as the two birds constantly harried the squirrel who seemed determined to rebut the onslaught. However, he eventually disappeared, leaving the tree to the magpies. The two hopped and skipped around the tree ignoring the substantial remains of last year’s nest and began to create a new nest only a few metres away from the old one. Strange, I thought, why not utilise what had already been done? They pulled and tugged and twisted fairly long pieces of wood and the base began to take shape. Next thing I noticed was that they had abandoned the new nest and had begun to reinstate the old one. There was daily activity for several weeks as the nest was made ready.
Now I come to the sombre part of the story. For over a week now I have been looking for signs of activity but haven’t seen any. I’m on the point of concluding that some ill has befallen the nesting pair or that perhaps one or both have died. It makes me quite sad even though I don’t like them!
I am amazed just how much sorrow I feel for creatures I don’t even like. It makes me wonder about God, who looks at our natural state and has told us that He doesn’t like our behaviour and how we treat others who are different from us. Yet God has more than a passing interest and concern for us. How does God, who created us and loves us, feel as He watches us labour and toil to build relationships, homes and families and then looks on as we come to grief? I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 12: 6ff, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” God’s care for His creation is amazing. His desire is that none should perish (2 Peter 3: 9). In the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, God draws near to us in love and concern. In all seasons of life we need to remember that God sees and feels our needs and losses.
Pastoral Report In the last Messenger I reported that we had no more money to continue the Pastoral Assistant post and the future was very uncertain. However yet again we are extremely grateful to our twinning family in Torrance for another very generous donation, which means the post can be sustained throughout 2013. The Session feels that this post is crucial while we are still in vacancy so please continue to pray about the future.
Since we will not know till well into the month of June whether the future Parish of Sighthill will be an athletes’ village for the Junior Olympics in 2018, or an entirely new housing development it is not possible to complete an accurate Parish Profile at this stage and therefore it has been agreed by the Session that we will not be advertising for a new minister before autumn this year. In the interim period the Nominating Committee will meet to pray, consider the future ministry for St. Rollox in light of what we can support, and commence the Profile.
I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Ian Thomson for initiating the Work Task Review, for the many long hours of work involved in preparing his presentations for the group and for chairing their meetings. Thanks also to those who gave of their time to be on the review group. I now urge all of you to prayerfully respond to the outcome of that review. Please ask yourself two questions:
What am I doing to serve the Lord in St. Rollox?
What else can I do?
Over the summer months we will be having our annual Clean- up and I hope this year to have a large band of willing volunteers. As people go on holiday help fill the gaps!
We give thanks for all the support given to St Rollox (often in the background) by the Rev Alan Ford of Springburn Parish Church over the past thirteen years and particularly during our times of vacancy, when he has been a faithful mentor to me. We wish him well in his retirement and pray for the future ministry in Springburn.
Finally, those who remember the last period of vacancy will be saddened to hear of the death of Morag McColl. Morag worked tirelessly as an assessor elder, alongside her husband Duncan who served as our Session Clerk. Our thoughts and prayers are with Duncan at this sad time.
Pray for the Mortensens that they will be refreshed and enjoy time with family in Japan and the Faroes before moving to Durham in September.
Pray for the Barakaat family, for Shona and the children in the manse, for Eli still in Lebanon awaiting a visa renewal and baby Joanna, Shona’s niece, born suddenly, ten weeks prematurely, in the manse, with Shona acting as mid-wife. Joanna is gaining weight and now transferred from I.C.U. to H.D.U. in the Princess Royal Maternity.
Pray for sufficient funding to send the children from Y-Zone to S.U. camp and for their time there to help them grow in faith.
Pray for wisdom for Rev Nigel Barge as he considers a phased return to work.
Pray for the outcome of the Olympic bid and for the residents in Sighthill
Pray for God’s clear guidance for the Nominating Committee.
A PRAYER FOR THE WORK OF CHRISTIAN AID
In a world in which there is so much hunger, we give thanks that with you there is always hope for tomorrow.
Help us, your church, to be a people of hope, praying earnestly and acting decisively, that all can secure their daily bread.
As we follow your son, who is the bread of life, help us to be those that bring your life to a hungry world, that your kingdom will come here on earth as it is in heaven.
(Christian Aid Week was held from 12 - 18 May) Finance Report
During 2012 the congregation met all its financial commitments. However, this was only achieved by utilising our reserve savings. Across all funds, the expenditure exceeded our income over the twelve months. The Board worked hard to manage costs so that we received value for money and the actual spend last year was just below budget.
Financial Performance Highlights: Total Regular Donations: down 14.17% (£32727 from £38129)
FWO Donations down 22.2% (£11474 from £14755)
Gift Aid FWO Donations down 8.2% (£18677 from £20352)
PDF donations down 71.02% (£ 3938 from £13445)
Total All Funds down 22.74% (£47900 from £61999) Pastoral Development Fund (Restricted Fund):
This fund supports the role of the St Rollox Pastoral Assistant, Margaret Woods. For several years this has been a key part time, paid role assisting the minister in the pastoral work with the congregation and parish, and the role has taken on increasing importance since the departure of the Rev. James Torrens. Until we call a new minister and the position with the 50% share of a Parish Worker is resolved, this role will remain key to the St Rollox congregation.
Thanks to the generosity of Torrance Parish Church, which recently donated a further £7855 to this fund, and a generous donation from a long-standing member, we now have just about sufficient funds to get through 2013 but we must look at how we finance this role for 2014.
A Year of Achievements: As we rebuild and prepare for the call of a new minister, it is good for us to recognise the achievements and successes of 2012:
Catherine Nicolson and her team’s work with the young folks through Sunday Clubs, Scripture Union Camps and First Sunday Youth Services at Torrance
Margaret’s pastoral support and care for the congregation, especially those who suffered long term illness
Rev. Graham Finch’s calm and assured support and direction to help us through the vacancy
Church lunches celebrating numerous occasions
St Rollox support for the Sighthill Housing situation
Men’s Friday Night Football led by Paul Wilson
Our support for Hallur and Shino and family
The challenge for 2013:
Our estimated budget for 2013 (including contributions to Church of Scotland National Ministry and Worldwide Mission, local staffing costs, maintenance of the church building and manse, outreach and education, Christian partnerships and all other local expenditure) is as follows:
General Fund: £53869
Pastoral Development Fund: £15100
Total Budget: £68969What can you do to help?
We have undertaken a review of the tasks needed to sustain St Rollox. Over the next few weeks and months there will be opportunities for those worshipping here to help share these tasks.
In a recent sermon on the Letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, John quoted William Barclay: “From every one of us Jesus Christ is looking for something; and for every one of us there is something to do.” As we continue our journey seeking a new minister, there is plenty for every one of us at St Rollox to give to Jesus and plenty for each of us to do for Him.
Let us use the remainder of this year to achieve great things in His name.
Jenny Fraser: Recollections of Mission Work in Africa
Part Four: Crisis at Lubwa
Alice Mulenga Lubusha was born in 1920, later adopting the name Alice Lenshina which means ‘queen’. She founded the Lumpa church in 1955. However, this movement became increasingly extreme, rejecting all earthly authority, insisting it had the right to have its own laws and refusing to pay taxes. As a result, Lenshina’s followers came into conflict with the state and in the 1960s many died in violent confrontations. Alice Lenshina died in 1978, by which time the movement had run its course, with many followers returning to the mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches.
fter several years we returned home on furlough, only to be asked to go back to Africa earlier than planned - not to the Copperbelt but to Lubwa, where we had originally worked in 1950. The reason was that the Lubwa church was experiencing difficulties resulting from the rise of a woman called Alice Lenshina (pictured) who claimed to be a prophetess. She believed that she had died and that God had brought her back to life with the purpose of encouraging people to abandon their beliefs in witchcraft and polygamy. This was all very well, but she replaced such practices with charms and tokens which she claimed would enhance people’s lives and make their crops grow better. The minister of Lubwa Church, the Rev. Paul Mushindo, refused to allow Alice Lenshina to preach from his pulpit.
Clearly, this posed a serious challenge to the work of the Lubwa mission. As senior missionary, John [Jenny’s husband] was charged with dealing with the problem. John and Paul decided to visit the whole of the surrounding area – which was the size of Scotland! – preaching in all the villages and at the end of each week they would hold a communion service in one of the larger villages. At this service members were asked whether they wanted to remain members of the United Church of Zambia and they were asked to retake their membership vows. This was a very time-consuming exercise and in the end church membership in the whole area declined drastically from 4,000 members to just 400.
Nevertheless, the work of going round the villages with the gospel continued. Paul and John did not suffer any outright hostility, but the evangelists who worked with them were not so fortunate. As a result, they went out in pairs and quite often the villagers would disappear into the bush when they saw them coming. As the distances were so vast the men would often be away for a fortnight at a time. There were thirteen evangelists at Lubwa and although they were not very well-educated men they showed a sincere love for their Saviour.
The evangelists’ visits could only take place during the dry season, which would last for seven or eight months in the year. During the wet season they had classes where John explained basic Christian doctrines to equip them for their work. They also spent time preparing the ground and sowing seeds for the new crops of maize, the staple grain in that area.
At first we were not very happy about returning to Lubwa: John’s work in the Copperbelt had become established and there was schooling there for the children. But we didn’t have a choice – we had to go where we were told. After a time, we were glad to be back in Lubwa and felt it was the right place for us.
In the next issue, Jenny talks about her work with the girls in the boarding school at Lubwa and describes how her husband would visit surrounding villages with an old-fashioned wind-up gramophone. . .
Hallur and Shino Mortensen have returned from Nigeria where they are serving with Mission Africa. On Sunday 10 March Hallur reported back to the congregation on his work at Peter Achimugu College of Theology and Shino spoke movingly of some of the practical problems involved in bringing up young children in an unfamiliar environment. Hallur reminded us that the word ‘mission’ comes from the Latin verb ‘send’ and that “sending is an integral part of the mission – it is not just about one man going to Nigeria. We are all partners in mission as part of the bigger picture of God’s plan.” Hallur is planning to undertake further academic study at University of Durham from September onwards and the family may return to Nigeria the following year.
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Anne Davidson (aka ‘Big Anne’) spent two weeks in India in November with Operation Mobilisation working with the Dalit people. In August 2013 she will be attending a missionary conference in Holland and in January 2014 she hopes to go to Pretoria, South Africa for a period of training to equip her for future missionary work. Anne will update us on her plans in future issues of The Messenger.
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Congratulations to David Adebayo who has been accepted to train with the Scottish under-14 Basketball team. David attends the ‘Y-Zone’ Sunday Club.
Community Outreach Project The Community Outreach Project has restarted after the Easter Holidays. We continue to offer support and services to local residents and Asylum Seekers and Refugees in North Glasgow. As time has gone on our services have changed to reflect the changes which have taken place since we first started over twelve years ago.
In those early years we would have up to 100 people waiting for our shop doors to open and we could only allow groups of about twenty through at a time. This, as you can imagine, was quite frustrating for our customers. As the number of residents has diminished in the area we have been able to make a drop-in café available to our clients, where they can come in, have a coffee and meet friends. Whilst waiting they can shop at our Food Co-op and then go into the charity shop in the afternoon - an altogether much more enjoyable experience.
Another unwelcome change has been in the increasing numbers of Asylum Seekers who have been made destitute and homeless when they have been unsuccessful in their claim. This failure may be simply from a lack of evidence which is difficult to obtain from their home country and they may eventually go on to receive Leave to Remain. We have been able to set up a Destitution Fund within the Project to support up to thirty individuals who are given grocery packs, a fruit and vegetable voucher and monthly clothing grant from our shop. Please pray that there is a change in Asylum policy so that people are supported until their case is fully determined.
We now have volunteers with Citizens’ Advice training who are available on a Tuesday morning for routine enquiries. If someone is needing help with a more complex issue, there is a Welfare Rights Officer from Citizens’ Advice who holds an afternoon surgery. Appointments can be made at the Church Office for anyone who wishes to talk to him.
Anyone who wishes to join us at our Wednesday Prayer Meeting is most welcome and will join with volunteers and members of Rehoboth, the Tamil church to pray for personal, Project and wider church issues.
Our Wednesday Computer Class still offers a range of services from basic tuition to the opportunity to surf the internet, so if you have never taken the plunge and want to get to grips with the new technology, come along and get some help.
We have been very fortunate to have a number of tutors who have committed to our ESOL class over the years allowing us to continue to offer a friendly conversational English class which is very popular with Mums especially, who cannot access college classes because of the lack of crèche provision. We have been able to obtain funding from the local Integration Network over the last few years to maintain crèche provision for this class, which is much appreciated. Also under the umbrella of the Project is a Men’s Football Team, run by Paul Wilson, which meets up at the Red Road Pitches on a Friday evening (see separate report on p 17). Although some of our services have changed over the years the ethos of the Project remains unchanged. The Project is an integral part of St Rollox’s outreach and mission in the local community. As the doors of the church open to welcome people from many different nations, so relationships are built and opportunities made and taken by the many committed Christians on our team to share the Gospel through word and action.
I would urge you to continue to pray for the Project. Give thanks for the many lives touched over the years and for the committed volunteers without whom the Project could not function. Pray that as changes occur in the Sighthill area and in Asylum policy that we are able to sensitively follow the Lord’s leading in the services which we should offer.
on Friday Nights
Promoting integration and witnessing to Christ through football
For just over 4 years, we have been running a
For just over four years, we have been running a casual football programme on a Friday evening. It started with a small group of Afghan guys. Newly arrived in the city, they had been brought to the drop-in at the church as part of their introduction to the area. They sat together in the foyer looking terrified by the fairly noisy crowd that gathers on a Tuesday, mostly comprised of African and Middle Eastern ladies catching up on news and keen to look for bargains in the charity shop. They had only a few words of English between them and several of them looked much younger than the eighteen years allotted to them by the Home Office.
"Football" was one of the few words they knew, and one of the few things that seemed to spark any interest. Paul Wilson accordingly organised a five-a-side park for a Friday evening a few weeks later and it has been running almost weekly ever since.
Sport has always provided a natural connection for many young men. Language and cultural barriers have been broken down as consistently high numbers of asylum seekers, refugees and local men have come together in all sorts of weather. Relationships have been built with guys who are otherwise largely uncatered for in the normal support services. It has become a part of the stabilising routine for young men whose situations are frequently very unsettled. It has provided an outlet that combats stress and promotes physical well-being and it has been the first point of contact for young men seeking spiritual truth. We have seen timid and traumatised young men growing in confidence. Through the grace and acceptance expressed to them, angry and confrontational guys are learning to channel and control their emotions. The football has become an essential 'first point of contact' for many refugee men. Of the original group who first started attending four years ago (all Afghans), four have made decisions to follow Christ and have been baptised and integrated into local fellowships.
Many of the Christian guys bring their friends as a way to introduce them to other Christians and associated evangelistic outreaches in a non-threatening and natural way. It has created opportunities for some of the Christian refugees to share their faith informally. Another Afghan young man has recently started attending a local church regularly and is considering baptism.
We firmly believe that the football provides a simple yet very effective means to reach out to young men from all over the world. The football programme breaks down barriers not only between local Scottish guys and the refugee community, but between the different refugee nationalities.
Sadly, the funding which had previously been paying for the rental of the pitch is no longer available. We will continue in the meantime but we urgently need to find alternative means to keep this outreach running. The costs for a year amount to around £1400, allowing for a likely increase in the cost of the hire of the pitch in the new financial year. Any donation, big or small, is greatly appreciated. £3 covers one player for a week. £30 pays the pitch for one week.
“For I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . .”
(Matthew ch. 25, v. 35)
St. Rollox Community Outreach activities (above) take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays while the Men’s Football (below) is held on Friday evenings.