Sermon preached on 26 September 2011

Somehow I managed to mess up the video camera settings on Sunday, and for that reason, I’ve no video or audio copy of the sermon that I preached. However, I do have the written text I was using. You’ll just have to imagine the delivery, if you were not there….

In the name of God, creator, redeemer and sustainer.

There is something of a Back to School feel about the West End of Glasgow this week. I noticed it when I was trying to use one of the banks this week and found that there were nine students (all from China) trying to open new bank accounts in the queue in front of me.

If you’ve blown into St Mary’s on the breath of the new academic year that has just begun in our great colleges and universities, you are very welcome. The new student group for folk connected with St Mary’s begins after Evensong this evening.

I want to begin what I have to say this morning with a strong “Back to School” moment that I had a couple of weeks ago. I realised that my old Primary School – Bearsden Primary School was having an open day and inviting everyone in.

Now, I’ve not been there since I was 11 and so decided to head off up the road and have a look.

It was completely fascinating. [Read more…]

Back to School

People are sometimes surprised to discover that I went to school in Bearsden. I don’t know why. After all, my prominent Bearsden accent is clear for all to hear.

Today I had a trip back down memory lane with a visit to Bearsden Primary School where I was a pupil in the 1970s. I’ve not been back since, and seeing that they were advertising a doors open day, I went and had a look around this morning.

I have to say that I have very happy memories of that school. My P5 teacher was particularly good – an incredibly vibrant woman who obviously loved what she did. There she was on the wall in a photograph though I couldn’t see myself anywhere. There were others I did recognise, notably the head teacher who was a figure of utmost respect and the depute, a woman who was mad, in a peculiarly religious way and kept order by belting children. I was in her P7 class.

The school felt very different today. I love what has happened to Primary education in Scotland. The best schools are amazing places. Today, Bearsden Primary looked colourful, exciting and absolutely full of life. I remember sitting in rows (designated according to assessed ability – clever people at the back, thick people at the front) reciting times tables for hours on end. Now, though there was obvious evidence of the subjects that the school is teaching, there was just as much about respect, friendship and how to be an all round good pupil.

I remember being told that Bearsden Primary was quite an intimidating environment for student teachers and new staff. In addition to the usual possibility of making a faux pas by drinking tea from another teacher’s mug, in Bearsden Primary, you had to make sure you didn’t sit at the Bridge players’ table.

We walked in straight lines when I was at primary school. Indeed, it was a fairly regimented place. I suspect things are a little different now. And very impressive too.