The Springfield Cambridge Record

A Word from our Minister

  • Julie, our Probationer took her leave of us on Sunday 28th. April, 2024 after 22 months with us. She continues to work with the training Team at the Church offices at 121 George Street in Edinburgh working specifically with other students in training for ministry and also now 2 days a week at Lenzie Old Parish Church plus a Sunday as a Locum in that vacancy. The recent announcement of the ‘translation‘ of the Minister of Lenzie Union Parish Church means that the union of these two congregations will now happen sooner than had been expected under the Presbytery Mission Plan. I would like to thank the congregation for their support and help in shaping Julie for Ministry, their generosity in contributing to her parting gift, and to thank all those who baked a selection of ‘sweet treats’ which were enjoyed in the Cameron Hall after our Service on April 28th. On Thursday 30th. May, 2024, Julie will be Ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in Lenzie Old Parish Church at a Service of Ordination conducted by the Presbytery of Glasgow at 7pm. Anyone who would like to attend this Service would be advised to ensure they are there early to secure a pew(6.30pm). Tour buses We expect to run a bus from our Church Car Park to Lenzie Old on the evening of Julie’s Ordination and that reminded me of a story I once read. “Tour bus Christians” drive comfortably through life as they gaze out the window at others who are elbow deep in the daily adventure of serving God and working among spiritually needy people. Tour bus Christians are insulated from the real world activity and excitement of God’s work. They may avoid some of the pain that’s involved, and they may protect themselves from the difficulties and struggles, but there’s no real adventure on a tour bus. They miss out on the excitement of living at the edge of expectation. They don’t experience the tremendous counter-cultural truth that the more a Christian pours their self out serving others in God’s name, the more God will fill them to overflowing. The adventure comes when you tell the tour bus to stop, and you jump off and say: “Lord I want to get into the fray, I want to play a role in the biggest adventure story of all time. Use me to make a difference. Use me to impact a young person for You. Use me to solve someone’s problem. Use me to soothe someone’s pain. Use me to answer someone’s prayer. Use me to feed someone who is hungry. Use me to rescue a child. Use me to bring someone to You. Use me to ease someone’s loneliness. Use me to raise a Christian family. Use me to deepen someone’s faith. Use me to cheer someone on. Use me to help a broken person understand that they are precious in Your sight – a beloved child of God. Use me to touch lives in Your name. I don’t want to just observe cathedrals through my bus window; I want to roll up my sleeves and build one! Lord, use me to build a living cathedral dedicated to Your glory!” Who knows what we will see on the way to Lenzie and back on the 30th. of May? And who knows what will happen when the Minister asks the Tour bus to stop off at Da Carlo on Millersneuk Road on the way home! Let the adventure begin.

  • In the last magazine, the film One Life, had moved me to tears. Shortly afterwards I was reading something in my daily devotions which contained the line, “You place a reservoir within my heart that all my tears may come from a different place.” That theme of tears was to continue throughout the month when I attended “Health Matters to God.” Bishopbriggs Churches Together (BCT) In June last year BCT organised an event, “Health Matters to GOD” which looked at issues relating to the challenges facing those in the health and care sectors to see what, if anything, our local churches could do to help. In early January, this year, another event was held, “The Cost of Living Matters to GOD” which looked at the principle of basic income, local Foodbank operations and debt advice provision by Christians Against Poverty (CAP) by Kirkintilloch Baptist Church. At this recent session we heard from Emma Wilson (, the Foodbank Inclusion Officer from East Dunbartonshire Council of how 5000 parcels were provided in 2023 from the 4 centres in Kirkintilloch, Milngavie, Lennoxtown and Colston Wellpark. This operation involves 5 part time staff and 80 volunteers. The staff and volunteers listen and signpost people who come to our Foodbanks to other services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, CAP and Welfare Rights organisations. During the period of 2023/24 there was a 14% increase in food packs (3days of food supplies) being issued to help 8234 adults and 4311 children. Most of the stock issued comes from local supermarkets, but increasingly the Foodbanks are having to buy in extra food to meet the demand. Listening to the speakers was shocking – this scandal exists on our doorstep. I found myself moved to tears by some of the stories that were shared with us. Of those who attend the Foodbank at Colston Wellpark, 50% of those seeking help come from our own Parish, mostly from Auchinairn. At the end of the evening, we were asked what we could do as individuals and as churches. So my question to you is, can you help? The Foodbank at Colston Wellpark needs additional volunteers, donations, and people who would also be prepared to be trained by CAP to help those who rely on Foodbank support to move from this dreadful situation in a more positive one of self-sufficiency. So, what am I asking you to do? Can you: • Volunteer at the Foodbank to help distribute parcels; • Continue to donate goods when you do your shopping at your local supermarket by placing items in their donations trolleys/ or drop off directly at Colston Wellpark goods or cash donations. • Sign the GUARANTEE OUR ESSENTIALS petition run by The Trussell Trust (; • Pray for those reliant upon Foodbanks. • Train with CAP as a volunteer to help the referral process as Colston Wellpark? If you would like to know more or if you can help in any way please speak to Ian or Julie. THANK YOU. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association UK (BGEA) June 6 2024 6pm OVO Hydro Some of us may remember the Billy Graham event held on 4th. June 1991 at Celtic Park. Others may remember the earlier event held in 1955 at the Kelvin Hall. In June this year Billy Graham’s son, Franklin will return to Glasgow and host an event at the OVO Hydro. This opportunity will allow us to introduce Our Friends, Neighbours, Family to JESUS CHRIST. Will you join by getting involved: • Join the 3:16 Prayer Team; • Attend a Christian Life and Witness Course; • Participate in I Am Andrew Sunday; • Invite loved one – or serve as a group coordinator and bring your friends – to the God Loves You Tour event above? “For God so Loved…” John 3:16 More information can also be found at: GODLOVESYOUTOUR.ORG.UK. If you would like to know more speak to Ian or Julie. In drawing your attention to these two items, you may be wondering why I am doing this? As you will be aware the Church of Scotland is currently engaging in a significant reduction programme of personnel and buildings called Presbytery Mission Planning. The effect of this will lead to fewer Ministers and other personnel and buildings throughout Scotland. Church as we know it is changing and the future is uncertain, although our faith in the constancy of God is undiminished. Congregations who will survive into the future will be subjectively assessed by criteria based on what are known as the Five Marks of Mission. The Five Marks of Mission are: 1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; 2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers; 3. To respond to human need by loving service; 4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation; 5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Ventures such as those above and our engagement with issues like them will be seen as evidence of our engagement with the Five Marks of Mission. In thinking about these marks, I wonder if you have heard of the 80/20 rule in Church life? Only about 20% of the people are going to do more than just come to worship. They do everything for the other 80%. This rule originated in 1895 when an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto recognised that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. This led other social scientists to notice similar patterns across the society, and the Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule, was born. However, in Church practice this principle presents a few problems. Firstly, Jesus didn’t take 2.4 of his disciples and begin his ministry and mission with 20%, he worked with all 12 of them. A church with 20% doing the work may be typical but it is not representative of the early Church found in Acts 2. The church then was more […]

  • Entering another New Year, for many provokes a period of personal reflection. How was last year – was it a good one, or were you glad to see the back of it? How does this year, 2024, look for you? Will it be brighter or better than last year, or does the future look less than promising? In early January, I went to the cinema to see the new film ONE LIFE, which recounts the true story of Nicholas Winton who saved 669 children from the Nazis. In the late 1930s, shortly before the outbreak of the second world war, the young British stockbroker visited Czechoslovakia, to see with his own eyes the humanitarian crisis and rising panic among the exiled Jewish community in the country. So shocked was he by what he witnessed that, with the help of his indomitable mother, Babette, he helped secure the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, a feat for which later became known as “the British Schindler”. It’s a stirring story, and one it’s impossible to watch without considering Britain’s present-day reluctance when it comes to offering shelter to those most in need of it. Winton, who was eventually knighted for his actions, is undoubtedly a hero worth celebrating. The film cuts between two key periods in Winton’s life. The first, during the late 1930s, follows him as a young idealist who takes holiday leave from his job in the City to travel to Prague. There he meets Doreen Warriner, a crisply efficient British economist turned humanitarian. A key member of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Warriner is unflappable and inspiring, hair immaculate, heels clicking imperiously as she brazenly masterminds the covert movement of Jewish refugees under the noses of the Nazis. In the later section, set in the 1980s, Nicholas Winton has retired and prodded by his wife, Grete, has started to clear out a lifetime’s accumulation of box files from their comfortable home in Maidenhead, all of which are filled with details of various charitable endeavours. Among them is a battered briefcase containing the names and pictures of the children whose escapes from Prague he engineered. Winton is not the kind of man who would blow his own trumpet, but he realises that this is an archive of historical significance. After a couple of false starts he meets Elisabeth Maxwell, wife of the newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, and the story of Winton’s considerable contribution to the Kindertransport is taken up by the media. This leads to an unexpected appearance on That’s Life with scenes that rip out your heart. I was glad that it was dark in the cinema, for as I watched the film, my cheeks were bathed in tears. In a book, chronicling the life of Nicholas Winton, we are introduced to his motto, which was, “If something is not impossible, then there must be a way to do it.” He certainly lived by that it would seem for all of his 106 years of life! Leaving the cinema that evening as I passed yet another ‘rough sleeper’ on our cold city street bedded down for the night on our pavements, and thinking of continuing crises in the Middle East, Ukraine and Yemen I was struck by how much our world and its people are crying out for compassion and some way to do the impossible amid all the challenges of our times. Having just celebrated the birth of Christ, we begin another year with the one, whose one life, we believe changed all in all. How can we see the world though his compassionate eyes, and with our one life, make a difference in the lives of others? How can we consider the impossible and find a way with God’s help to make the impossible, possible. In St. Matthew, Jesus reminds us that whilst we may well wonder how people may be saved, “For men this is impossible; but everything is possible for God.” This gives me hope in the face of what seems like impossible situations around us just now. But we must play our part in that by praying and acting. We all have one life. Together let’s find a way to make it count for Christ’s sake.

  • At the meeting of the Presbytery of Glasgow on 12/09/23, my nomination as the Business Committee Convener was confirmed. The reaction to this news has been fascinating to me. But before I turn to that, let me explain what this new role will involve for me. Currently the Business Committee is responsible for: • ordering the business of Presbytery; • giving space for Committees and Teams to understand what each other is working on and whether there is potential overlap or potential for working collaboratively on a matter; • arranging away days for Conveners and Vice-Conveners to consider together issues that affect Presbytery as a whole; • exercising oversight of Presbytery finance, working with the Treasurer to prepare the annual budget, and; • preparing and approving Presbytery’s annual accounts. For me, this will mean a few extra meetings each month and a more regular attendance at all meetings of Presbytery. But back to reactions to this new role. When I shared this news with some of our office-bearers the news was received with mixed emotions. Some were concerned for my workload. Others were more pragmatic. I explained that all Ministers at their Ordination/Induction are required to sign a Formula accepting their obligations as Ministers, having previously publicly taken a number of vows, one of which is to promise: “to be subject in the Lord to this Presbytery and to the General Assembly of this Church, and to take your due part in the administration of its affairs.” So in accepting this new role, I am fulfilling a vow I took a long number of years ago. But I have also accepted this position as the Presbytery believes I have something to offer and contribute to its work at this time. What this does do for me and our congregation is ensure that I will not be asked to serve as an Interim Moderator, which in the current climate would be a more onerous and lengthier task. Another individual asked Julie, if this meant I would be given a pay rise, and have some of my other duties and responsibilities delegated to someone else! The answer to those questions is of course NO. A colleague on the day of the meeting, sent me a text to congratulate me, and another member of Presbytery greeted me on my arrival and asked how I felt about my ‘peerage’. Then finally after Presbytery had approved my appointment a colleague tapped me on my shoulder, congratulated me and shook my hand. At this point, as ever, I thought to myself, “What have I let myself in for?” Time alone will tell, but I shall be relying on your prayers and support as I take up these new and additional responsibilities.

  • The June meeting of the Presbytery of Glasgow at which our Mission Plan was FINALLY approved was not without some tense moments. Feeling and emotions were high and tension was palpable at times. I was conscious that whilst it is wise to cool down excitement and speak your mind, that is not always easy to do. That reminded me of something I once read, “When people submerge their true feelings in order to preserve harmony, they undermine integrity of a relationship. They buy peace on the surface, but underneath there are hurt feelings, troubling questions, and hidden hostilities just waiting to erupt. It’s a costly price to pay for a cheap peace, and it inevitably leads to inauthentic relationships… No one says anything ‘unsafe’. They never discuss misunderstandings, reveal hurt feelings, air frustrations or ask difficult questions… Offences occur, but nobody talks about them. Doubts about the other’s integrity creep in, but they’re never dealt with. In time such relationships deteriorate.” Denying our true feelings is not advisable, but calmness can achieve reconciliation more easily than raised voices or recriminations. Cuthbert (the Bishop of Lindisfarne in the 7th century ) had difficulty in teaching the Rules of Christian community life to some of the Christian community there. At meetings he was often worn down by bitter insults, but would put an end to the arguments simply by rising and walking out, calm and unruffled. Next day he would give the same admonitions, as though there had been no unpleasantness the previous day. In this way he won the love and obedience of the community. How do you respond when someone says something uncomfortable to you? Do you overcome your natural human instinct to reject it? Do you listen and seek the truth in the other person’s concerns? Or do you get angry? Do you slip into denial, retaliation or rationalisation? Well, do you?

  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” (Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities) That famous quote came to mind as I was reflecting upon the times in which we are living. With a coronation having just taken place, we are now living in the Carolean era – during the reign of King Charles. Or for those of us in the Church of Scotland, we might say we are living in the times of Presbytery Mission Planning! In these current times, where do you find yourself – in the best of times, or the worst of times? And what are our expectations in the midst of those times? Are we hopeful or are we in the winter of despair. Expectations can be confusing. We can apply them to ourselves (I will write my magazine article two weeks before the copy date). Or they can be imposed on us by others (the Magazine Editor will only print materials submitted by the due date!) As I listened to what Julie said at our Service on 07/05/23 about the weight of the crown( 5 bags of sugar or 10lbs) placed upon King Charles it made me think more about expectations. The new King had waited a long time – a lifetime effectively to bear the weight of that crown on his head. As that weight settled upon him, it bore many expectations – his own, those of his family and friends, those of his subjects and members of the Commonwealth, and those of his opponents. What a weight. When I first met the King he was only a Prince, and my impression of him was that he was a man just like me. I found him to be warm, humorous, trying to do his best. And yet he is unlike me – he lives in a Royal household, I live in a Manse. However from our conversations I know that he has in his own life known the best of times and the worst of times. Just like you and me, I suppose. But my overwhelming sense was that he was trying to do the best, to be the best version of himself, for himself, and for others. I am reminded that in Colossians 3:20 we read, “Whatever you are doing put your whole heart into it.” Isn’t that what we are all called to do – to offer the best of ourselves in the service of others. In that way we glorify God, the one who calls us into his royal household as his beloved children.

  • At the end of last month I took the train from Glasgow to Birmingham to visit Beth and attend a concert with her in the splendid Symphony Hall. Before the ‘gig’ there was a short VIP sound check and a ‘meet and greet’ with the performer KT Tunstall. A fellow Glaswegian asked her about the impact of growing up in Scotland and what her early musical influences were, as she now lives in the U.S.A. Someone else asked her about her favourite places to play music. She told us of an occasion when she was supporting Hall and Oates at Madison Square Gardens, N.Y., in front of 20,000 people when all her equipment failed due to an electrical fault with the exception of her microphone. Reflecting on that experience and what it had taught her, she said, and I paraphrase here, “I have come to realise that memorable is preferable to perfection. I would rather someone came to one of my gigs and found it to be memorable rather than musically perfect as a performer.” Another ‘super fan’ whom she clearly knew asked her, “what else is left on your bucket list?” given our Scottish singer’s long career so far? That set me thinking on my return train journey the next day of my own ‘bucket list’. For a long time I have had a hankering to go on a pilgrimage. Not any pilgrimage, but the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the traditional site of the apostle James’ final resting place via the Camino de Santiago, “The Way of St. James.” Pilgrimage is as old as religion and perhaps demonstrates the human spirit’s longing for a journey of discovery. In his upcoming book “From Plague to Purpose”, Joshua Taylor writes, “The pilgrimage discipline, at its heart, is an intentional journey to a liminal experience of unknowing, discomfort, and reorientation for the individual pilgrim.” Only time will tell if I ever manage to cross this particular milestone off my ‘bucket list.’ However as I journey through the season of Lent I am trying to picture myself on a daily pilgrimage towards Jerusalem as we approach the Easter season.To look for and find signs of grace in my daily routine in and around Bishopbriggs. To gain a new understanding of a famous quote of Frederick Buechner, “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” After all life is seldom about perfection, and what remains with us are those memorable moments which endure in our bodies, minds, and souls. Those moments may well be found in Birmingham, Bishopbriggs or Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims are welcome to join wherever, whenever they can on the Pilgrim Way. Why not step outside of yourself this Lent and encounter God anew? The poet David Whyte sums up this aptly in his poem: For the road to Santiago For the road to Santiago don’t make new declarations about what to bring and what to leave behind. Bring what you have. You were always going that way anyway, you were always going there all along.

  • One of my Christmas gifts was a book called “The Perfect Golden Circle by Benjamin Myers” an author whose beautiful prose I am familiar with. The book tells the story of two men who over the course of a burning hot summer in 1989 under the cover of darkness form crop circles in elaborate and mysterious patterns in the English countryside. This captivating novel reflects on the futility of war, the destruction of our countryside and the power of beauty to heal trauma and fight power. At the beginning of a New Year I am conscious of how much of our lives revolves around circles. The circle of life. The circle of time. The circle of faith. In “The Perfect Golden Circle” the main characters (Calvert and Redbone) in creating their circles, must in some sense, deconstruct the field in which they will create their works of art. By treading across the fields with rope, planks, and feet, they flatten the crops (though not permanently damaging them) to create scenes like the one above. In deconstructing they construct. As I survey the landscape around me in our brave new world of 2023 it feels to me as though there is a lot of deconstruction going on just now. Economic and financial pressures, food and energy poverty, continuing violence and war in Ukraine, workers in the UK asserting their European right to strike. So much deconstruction. And so I find myself searching for evidence of construction and growth. Where is God at work in all of this uncertainty? Perhaps we need to let the wild things grow. We let go of a faith that is neat rows of wheat, a faith that keeps us in a tidy loop. Maybe then we can see life growing under the concrete we’ve so carefully poured. We can see faith in the questions as much as in the answers, and we might begin to map and trace a different circle of roots to a different tree – a different space of joy that grows beyond the fences and barriers we erect and doesn’t ask us to cut off our doubt or fear, or someone else’s picture of God. Under every crack there is something that’s growing, something that’s been planted in us. Once cracks are there, the old will fall away, the scales will peel away. But maybe we will discover that something is growing even in these uncertain times. Something is growing – a latticework of roots, of histories, of communities of faith believing that God is here and is more than what my words or your imagination can capture. The promise of God as proclaimed by the Prophet Isaiah (42:1-4) reminds us, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.” So in this New Year I urge to hold fast in faith and remember that God is with us.

  • During the last few years, many of our regular practices and activities were interrupted. This autumn though many of our regular activities have resumed – Dedication Services, Harvest, a ‘normal’ Communion Service, Remembrance Services. We have even begun to resume some social activities – a concert in the Church, the Guild Coffee morning. There is comfort for us in a return to such regular rhythms, especially just now when there seems to be so much insecurity around us (political, economic, war, migration crises). Things are returning to ‘normal’ I hear some people say which for them may be a good thing. But for others ‘normal’ has been changed during these times and this may not be a good thing. And yet as we seemingly run towards the end of the Church year and prepare to enter a new liturgical year with the approach of Advent, I am comforted by what that Season of Love will offer and bring – a hope beyond the present time. God is coming again. Thank God for that. Or in the words of the poet Ann Weems: The Coming of God Our God is the one who comes to us in a burning bush, in an angel’s song, in a newborn child. Our God is the One who cannot be found locked in the church, not even in the sanctuary. Our God will be where God will be with no constraints, no predictability. Our God lives where our God lives, and destruction has no power and even death cannot stop the living. Our God will be born where God will be born, but there is no place to look for the One who comes to us. When God is ready God will come even to a godforsaken place like a stable in Bethlehem. Watch… for you know not when God comes. Watch, that you might be found whenever wherever God comes.

  • During the Birmingham Commonwealth Games I was fascinated by the 10 metre diving events. I marvelled at how some of the divers would approach their dive. In an upside-down position on their hands perched on the very edge of the board, they held themselves perfectly still before launching into the water below in a feat of skill and bravery, to my eyes and mind at least. Sometimes the divers would perform their routines, solo, and at other times as a pair in a synchronised performance of breathtaking choreography. After one event, Gaby Logan was joined on the commentary sofa by Tonia Couch, herself a former diving medallist. Gaby was asking why one diver who was normally part of a duo, when performing solo did not move to the mid centre of the board before starting, but instead remained at the outer edge side where normally he would have been opposite his partner. Tonia said that whilst we normally say, “Practice makes perfect” – in the diving world, divers say, “Practice makes permanent.” What she was suggesting was that in a sense to make their routine perfect, the divers had to practice in such a way that their routine became ‘permanent’ within them. The mind has a memory which connects to the body and so a habit can become a permanent feature of muscle memory. This set my own mind into a dive. I had been reading Hebrews 11:29-12:2 earlier where the Apostle Paul uses a racing metaphor to describe a life of faith. Imagine a stadium with a crowd watching the athletes. Every seat is taken. Look closely and you will see the saints, men and women who have given their lives in the service of God. There are holy people who dedicated themselves to the power of God. There are martyrs who died for the faith. All are watching the arena and the race that is taking place. It is an important race, for much of what they lived and died for is at stake. The one sitting at the end of the track is the King (Jesus). He too watches, for the kingdom is in some ways dependent on these runners. If the runners do not give themselves and dedicate themselves to the race, then the kingdom could be lost to the earth. The spectators know that if the runners do not win, much of what they have laboured for will be in vain. Now look at the runners. You should recognise them for you are among them. It is we who are in that stadium – we are fighting to win. It is a battle for our eternal soul, and more, it is the only way the kingdom can be established on 4 earth. The saints depend on us for their work not to be lost. We are called to witness and proclaim the Gospel. Christ and the saints rely on us – “They would not apart from us, be made perfect.” So, let’s continue to practice our faith, to name the presence of God where we experience it, and make our permanent mark on the world. In the Name of Christ.