All posts by RMY

Food glorious food . . .

“Our Father in heaven,

may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

May your will be done on earth,

as it is in heaven.

Give us today the food we need . . . ”  (Matt 6:9-11)

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Pollok Baptist Church had a weekly free cafe and foodbank for local people.  Relationships had been built  in particular with  Waitrose and Tesco, and we were able to serve some of the most vulnerable folks in our neighbourhood.

As concerns around COVID-19 grew, so did the anxiety that most of the population – which led to some of the most bizarre panic buying I think the nation has ever seen. (Toilet rolls?!) The harsh reality of this hysteria led to empty shelves and left some of the most vulnerable people even more vulnerable.  When the lockdown was announced on the 23rd March, I remember thinking “Now the supermarkets can breath again”

And breath they did!  But what about those who now found themselves shielded or quarantined?  What about those who were already struggling  or those newly unemployed who found a 5 week wait for Universal Credit with no savings to fall back on?  What about those who felt totally overwhelmed and unable to get out?

The links that the church had built with the health centre, social work, housing associations the supermarkets were just about to become a vital source of support for the greater G53 area.

The cafe closed, the foodbank switched from a “collect a bag of food” on a Tuesday, to home deliveries (from referral only) twice a week – Tuesday and Friday.

It was obvious very quickly that demand was far outstripping our ability to supply, and so several applications were made to some of the COVID-19 response funds.

The response has been beyond anything we could have imagined: finance, food donations, volunteer support – collecting food, sorting it, packing bags and delivering to people’s home.

 

 

We are now delivering to over 90 homes and feed around 400 people per week during this crisis.

 

 

 

And so a huge thanks to:

SWAMP Community Development Trust

 

 

 

 

 

And to everyone who has donated food, toiletries, disposable gloves, bags, time – anything that has made our food delivery project possible during this unprecedented time.  Without your help, none of this would be possible.

Through all of you, we can truly say that God has provided all that we need to serve those in greatest need right now.

“Thank you so much for the food you gave me last week, every single thing in the bag was what I needed”  *Irene, G53.

*not real name

The Church is not the building . . .

A few weeks ago I was listening to a radio phone in programme.  It was the week after the government introduced “social distanicing” – and the morning just before they instructed a full lockdown.  (It all seems so long ago now doesn’t it?)

Anyway a rather irate caller was bemoaning the fact that a church near her had flouted the rules and had met as normal the previous day.

The host said “It’s funny, I’ve been wondering if people would turn to God during this Coronavirus – often things like this make people question things, and seek out God.  And then I realised all the churches were shut, and they wouldn’t be able to go there with their questions!”

Sadly she was the last caller of the hour, so there was no opportunity for anyone to respond.

But it made me think, what would I have said if I had had been able to speak up?  Quite simply this, the buildings may well be closed, but the churches are very much open and God is very much at work!

Like many churches across the nation / world – Pollok Baptist has decanted and taken up residence online for the time being.  Yes we are doing things slightly differently, meeting on Zoom at 11:00 on a Sunday.  It’s often messy, and the technology doesn’t always run smoothly, it can take 20 minutes for the congregation to gather – but  we have the joy of seeing  people brought together.  After an initial call to worship, prayer and some teaching we have the opportunity for everyone to catch up with each other.  We always have tea and coffee after our regular services and our Zoom service is not different – we just make it ourselves and drink in the safety of our own homes.  And yet it’s very different . . . instead of just speaking to one or two people, now everyone is sharing together and oh how special that is!  We meet with those who are “shielding” and we hear from those who are juggling child care and home working, and still others who are essential workers and what this crazy time is like for them.  Some folks express their worries or concerns, and those with knowledge are able to reassure them and allay their fears.  We’ve welcomed visitors and in an amazing way they too have become part of our family.

If you would like to join our zoom service, we’d love to see you!  Just send an email to secretary@pollokbaptistchurch.org.uk.

We have kids’ zoom on a Saturday  and our virtual prayer meeting  is busier than ever, so now we’re now looking at adding on a weekly Bible study.

By the time we come out of lockdown, we’ll all be experts at the this virtual malarkey!  It’s certainly helped us be mindful of those in “far flung” places, who only have worship via technology, who never get to meet in person.

The one thing that the building opens for is food.  How blessed we are to be supported by several large supermarkets, including Waitrose and Tesco. Their generosity has enabled us to provide fresh fruit, veg, meat, milk and eggs (along with our regular donations) to over 70 families this week!  Our foodbank will continue to operate on a referral only system, serving the people of Greater Pollok Area, with food deliveries twice a week for as long as the lockdown continues.  (Referrals can be made through local housing associations, the health centre, social work or any church member.)

On this Easter weekend as we contemplate the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of our Lord – it’s going to be a bit different this year, but His resurrection gives us our confident hope -ultimately He has conquered death and one day the darkness will have to give way to light and life!

Foodbank opens in Pollok

As part of our community service we have become a distribution point for a local foodbank.  We operate on a Tuesday morning when folks are welcome to come and not just get help with some groceries, but also join us for a coffee and roll.

 

Mark and Dave have arrived!

 

 

The excitement in Pollok Baptist Church on Sunday 27th August was palpable – finally six months after issuing a call to Rev Dr Mark Bentham and Rev Dave Murray to come and lead a joint ministry with the folks of Pollok, the day we had all be waiting for was here.

A full church listened as Rev Alan Donaldson of the Baptist Union preached a “bookend” sermon from Luke about two couples who had lost Jesus!

Following the morning service we were joined for lunch by friends of Mark & Dave who had travelled from Ayr and Cathcart Baptist Churches.

Wow the folks of Pollok know how to entertain and a huge thanks to all those who organised and contributed in any way.

To borrow a Daveism “we were all buzzing” none more so than Dave himself!

Rev John McKinnon

At 2:15 exactly the Rev John Mckinnon, who had done such a wonderful job as interim moderator, and who was instrumental in bringing about this amazing opportunity for Pollok Baptist to call these two men to lead and serve in our community.  As a congregation we are so grateful for John’s selfless support, guidance and leadership during the vacancy. We could not have had a better interim moderator. He truly was God’s man for the time.

Andy Buchannan, our church secretary, summarised the recent history of the church, and expressed his thanks to the faithful pastorate of both the Rev Harry Tompson and his predecessors.  We all laughed when he talked of the huge footprint of the church and how Mark the engineer saw building opportunities, whilst Dave the evangelist saw a space for a bouncy castle!   (I’m sure there’s room for both.)

Mark and Dave shared something of their own journey to Pollok, with Mark sharing how he has been considering over a few years the order and interplay between theology, ecclesiology and missiology, and it was into that question that the opportunity in Pollok came. Dave’s first words were: “I have no ologies to tell you about, I’m just coming with a great passion for this area.”  And so the complimenting gifts with a good dose of banter between our two new pastors was a delight for all to see.

It was obvious that God had given both men eyes to see the tremendous and unique opportunities along with a burden for Pollok.

Alan Donaldson joined them on the platform and led the induction by way of a dialogue and series of commitments that Mark, Dave and the congregation made.

Mark & Dave being commissioned to serve in Pollok.

Jennifer Purves prayed for the two men at the beginning of their pastorate in Pollok Baptist Church.

And so a new chapter begins.  None of us quite know what it’s going to look like, but all of us have a certainty that God is doing something special with our wee congregation. Whatever the challenges and opportunities the future brings, we go forward in His grace and strength alone. Our hope is not in Mark and Dave, our hope is in Christ and our prayer is that He who has begun a good work will complete it.

 

We’ve got a Pastor . . . or two!

On Sunday 19th March the church members met with Rev John MacKinnon, our interim-moderator, who outlined the events that led to the search committee and Diaconate recommending two men to come and serve as a team ministry in Pollok Baptist.

MB4
Mark & Sally Bentham. Senior Pastor Designate

As we listened,  the excitement in the room grew by the minute, and there was no doubt that God’s hand was all over this amazing story, and so it was that the church members  unanimously issued a call to Rev Dr Mark Bentham and Rev Dave Murray to be the Senior and Associate pastors of Pollok Baptist Church!

Dave & Esther Murray
Dave & Esther Murray. Associate Pastor Designate

 

We can only look on in awe and wonder and give thanks for what God has done, and with the psalmist say:

“This is the LORD’s doing. It is marvellous in our eyes” Ps 118:23

 

 

 

 

Be part of Church on the Move!

7 brave (or foolish) souls weighed up dire warnings of torrential localised thunderstorms and decided to go ahead with our inaugural walk through the Dams to Darnley country park. Coffee and doughnuts were produced just as the less fit amongst us were flagging and we had a great time, enjoying the sunshine, exercise and much chat and managing to dodge the big black thunderstorms until we got back to the cars.
Our next walk is planned for Saturday 30th July, leaving the church building (by cars) at 10.30a.m. The venue, a 30 minute drive away, is ideal for all ages/degrees of fitness – along the shores and nearby woods at Lochwinnoch, starting from the Castle Semple visitor centre. It is fairly flat, although the more energetic can do an extra loop up the hill and get some great views and there are shorter options for those who can’t walk too far at all and want to sit and admire the views for longer or pop into the visitor centre for a cuppa and a chat. Bring a picnic lunch, waterproofs/umbrella & comfortable shoes. To help us plan transport, please sign the sheet on the noticeboard in the hall. Speak to Jennifer if you have any questions.

 IMG_7672 (2)

A great response

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey.

It was encouraging to have around 40 people stay for the church lunch after the morning service on Sunday 13th March, and then spend some time with Rev John Mackinnon considering   “Who we are” and “Who do we want to be”.

As we refine the latter, it will certainly shape the way ahead for Pollok Baptist, and inform our praying and searching for the Pastor that God has for us.

 

 

The Journey Ahead

Pollok Baptist is about to enter a new phase – our Pastor of several years is about to retire and from the end of January we will enter a vacancy.

We will be having a lunch for Harry and Christina on the 31st January, be great to have folks along to be a part of that.

We are delighted that Rev John Mackinnon from Calderwood Baptist in East Kilbride has agreed to be our interim moderator – He certainly seems to be God’s man for such a time as this.

As part of the preparation for the next stage, the vacancy committee and office bearers have put together a questionnaire – if you have any connection to the church, then please pick up a copy and fill it in.

 

Powerpoint Prefences

If you were in church on Sunday 7th Sept am, you will have heard Harry ask for your preference about the use of the powerpoint in the sermon.

Do you like it the way it is?

Would you like more detail on individual slides?

Any other tips for making the powerpoint more useful?