A magnificent team effort from the Gibson Street community and the members of St Silas' meant we've had a very good day. People were fed, watered, entertained, massaged, fed, watered some more, listened to and prayed with.
Thanks to everyone who made it all happen. It was a special time.
Tomorrow night, I'll be at the farewell for the homegroup we attended. Good food and time with friends.
Saturday morning sees breakfast with some of the men of St Silas' and Garry Brotherston. 8am @ St Silas. Come along if you can and hear about God transforming a life. I'm looking forward to it.
From there, I'll rush off to the special Diocesan Synod, where the process kicks off to find a new bishop for the United Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway. We'll agree on the diocesan profile (can diocesan punters work out which bits I wrote, I wonder?) and vote on some people who will be on the preparatory committee that will decide who we all get to vote on. Hopefully, everyone will behave themselves and we'll get it all sorted out quickly.
Sunday sees the Gibson Street Gala, which I missed last year. I think I was in Israel at the time. I've been more involved this year and I think it's a really good community-run event. Our contribution, apart from providing the lavvies, includes a cafe, healing prayer, massage, a games room and of course, breathing space. A superb team will make it all happen. We round off the day with a relaxed evening service at which we'll be considering the power of the makeover/makeunder, and how Jesus transformed the life of someone fetching some water at a well.Why not come along, and bring a friend too?
Hat Tip Lorraine. It's fascinating how unaware people are now about what actually happens in church, the meaning of baptism "in the pit", and the basic tenets of Christianity. We have a lot of work to do in terms of engaging with people. But, hey, in this instance, Mr Moyles has got a little taste of joy and grace.
It's an amazing thing: texting, twittering and blogging have all played an enormous part in what has been happening in Iran. It's clear why the powers-that-be are so nervous about modern technology. It is just too difficult for the state to control everything. That must be good news.
We've had a busy Sunday, with the morning service being followed by our Annual General Meeting. One vestry member re-elected, and three excellent new members, all of whom are women, so we'll do ok when the Scottish Episcopal Church does its gender audit in the wake of the General Synod this week. It means we have a full complement on the vestry for the first time in a while. This time of year always leaves me feeling humbled by the immense capabilities and gifts of the staff and people of St Silas'. And that God continues to provide all we need........
The West End Festival kicked off across the road this afternoon, so we had plenty of visitors this evening wanting to use our loos (tip to all welcomers: the answer to the question, "Can I use your toilet?" is always, "Yes! You are welcome!"). One of these visitors came up with a new mission statement that I'd love to use on our noticeboard outside, but fear it might break a decency law or two. When we suggested he was welcome to use the toilet, he replied, "Aye, Jesus welcomes every c***!"
We got some visitors tonight who came because of the service being in the Festival programme. It was good to welcome them and we chatted for a long time. One recently arrived American, married to a Glaswegian and living in Glasgow, told me how negative towards Americans she had found people here. "Go home!", she had been told many times. It saddens me whenever such things happen because of a national government's actions. People are people, and that kind of general racism makes me angry.
The evening was rounded off by an invitation to visit the home of a someone who came in for help at the end of the most excellent "Deeper" service. Five of us had to make sure she got home alright but the task was carried out with joy.
Very tired and feeling unwell after a busy week and a sleepless night, but today has been encouraging in so many ways.
A lovely and encouraging day at P's & G's today. What a facility! I was curate there in the eighties, and haven't been back there for about fifteen years. It's now a contemporary space with every imaginable gadget, yet they have retained many of the original features. Mind you, a huge floral arrangement made it look like a triffid had occupied the pulpit! Nonetheless, it's a wonderful transformation, and undoubtedly one of the best ecclesiastical spaces in Scotland. Now, how can we update our slightly tired sanctuary at St Silas'?
One of the highlights of the day was being greeted by Ray, one of the current janitors. I knew him from my time at the church, and his story is a wonderful example of the transforming power of the Gospel. He was "a bit of a lad" (this is the mild description). It was great and humbling to hear him speak of his walk with the Lord.
The conference has left me with a lot to think about, especially as we are in the process of articulating strategic vision for St Silas'. I kind of wish we could have the first talk of today at General Synod on Friday morning, when mission is being discussed. In summary, the Church exists for one purpose: not to meet my needs, not to worship, but to reach the vast numbers of irreligious with the love of Jesus. Somehow, along the way, many of us (and I include those of us who think we are doing ok in this regard) have lost that particular vision. Inspiring. Now I need to get on with it