We’re going on a journey

Crib Service starts at 4 pm – bring a torch

A couple of years ago, there was a new initiative in St Mary’s – someone suggested that we should have a crib service for children at 4 pm on Christmas Eve. We kind of expected a few children from the young church to show up. In the event there were about 50 people in the place and it was judged a great success. A year later, the turnout was just about double. I spoke to some of the people afterwards who told me that they were so pleased to find it because none of the other churches in Glasgow were doing anything for children at Christmas. I disputed this but they told me that no, they had checked online and that no-one was doing anything. More than that, someone said, some of the churches are not having Christmas services at all – you can tell, there’s nothing on their websites about Christmas at all.

Now, there’s two things to learn from this. Firstly that churches which want younger people and children to come to them need to get on with providing services which are suitable. Secondly churches which want anyone at all to come to them need to face the reality that if they are not online then they will be perceived not to exist and if they don’t put their service details online then no matter how good the services are, people will presume that nothing at all is being done.

There are still Episcopal churches in Glasgow who are putting out a strong message online this Christmas that they are not doing anything to celebrate it. People from those parts of town will come to the cathedral instead of going to their local church. It isn’t particularly that they like what we do – though when they get here they love it and will tend to come again. It is simply that they can’t find out about what is happening locally and draw their own conclusions.

St Mary’s is a place where we are quite clear that Christmas is not just for children. We are not a congregation that thinks that Christmas is just a family time either – church and Christmas is for everyone. (I thought John Bell’s Thought for the Day today was particularly fine, by the way).

I’m really pleased though that these crib services have become established here on Christmas Eve now. Tomorrow’s Crib Service starts at 4 pm and participants are asked to bring a torch if they can. We’re going on a journey and we don’t know who we are going to encounter on the way…

For the Bible Tells Me So

Last night the LGBT group at St Mary’s had an open evening and a film show.

When +Gene Robinson was here 18 months ago, he pressed several copies of a DVD into my hand before he leftt. It was the film For The Bible Tells Me So [DVD] [2007] which he had been giving away to those who had been invited to the Lambeth Conference. Its a very well made film about the ways in which churches deal with with scripture have an impact on families with gay members. One of those families is the Robinsons (ie featuring Gene’s parents) but there are four or five other families featured too.

Its a good watch, and I’ve a couple of copies in the office. If anyone in the congregation wants to borrow one of them, do let me know.