Glasgow – city of welcome
Within days of moving to Glasgow in July 2015 we began to understand why Glaswegians have a reputation for friendliness. On the train, in the shops, when lost in the city, people stop and chat and offer help. It’s a good place to live. Glasgow has always had a reputation for welcoming the stranger and is living up to that now in its welcome to refugees and asylum seekers. The organisation “Refuweegee“, (wordplay on “Weegie” the nickname for a native of Glasgow) has the strapline, “We’re all fae (from) somewhere” and does brilliant work with those newly arrived in the city – and “Weegies” respond – yesterday morning Refuweegee posted a tweet asking for spare bicycles for refugees – later in the day they tweeted again, thanking people for the 20 bikes which had been dropped off at their office during the day!
At the moment, I am spending much more time out of Glasgow than in it, but to arrive back into Glasgow Central station late at night from wherever I have been and to see the brightly lit city-scape reflected in the waters of the Clyde always gives me a lift.
Our Glasgow Methodist churches are very small, but again they are places of welcome. I am preaching at Woodlands later this morning – our closest church to the city centre. The folk there are very gracious – I know they won’t say “Long time, no see” (although it is) but will greet me warmly, ask me where I’ve been and where I’m going next and continue to assure me of their prayers. You can’t ask for better than that during this year!
The last time I wrote this blog I was stuck on a train – which did eventually arrive at its destination 145 minutes late! Eleven days on the road took me to Leeds, Ackworth, various locations in the Nottingham & Derby district, Cliff College and finally four days around the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent district. Lots of great encounters and interesting experiences – logged mainly on the Facebook page dedicated to Loraine’s and my activities this year.
Last week was a welcome holiday, some time in deep snow at our Highland hideaway and some time with Tim & Hannah, where we could all admire little Martha and her developing range of comical faces! Already we see signs of an emerging personality.
This week, at the start of Lent, feels like time to survey the road ahead, with all its demands and encounters, and to prepare sermons and presentations which I will be sharing in the coming weeks as I hit the road again on Friday with a weekend in the East Anglia District. For all of us, Lent offers that same opportunity, to cast our eyes down the road which Jesus took and to be willing to walk the path of self-giving love. Thankfully we do not walk it alone. Jill