Hope Alba provided Glaswegians with an alternative way of bringing in the New Year with its ecumenical Hogmanay service at Glasgow Cathedral. The Cathedral was a warm and welcoming venue for the service, and the full congregation was greeted by the Cathedral Strings playing carols as they gathered. The church leaders present included Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti and Glasgow Moderator Rev. Howard Hudson.
Mrs Elspeth Glasgow, acting Secretary of Glasgow Churches Together, welcomed everyone to the service of song, prayer and scripture reading for the journey to the New Year. The opening prayer was said by Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick. Christian singer/songwriter Russell Trueman was the soloist this year, presenting one of his own songs as well as one by Michael Card.
Jim McNair introduced and interviewed Joe McCrum of the Street Pastors, a Christian organisation which works in Glasgow (and other UK cities) living out the Gospel on the late evening streets at weekends by seeking to help those in trouble or needing a listening ear, or even trying to prevent fights.
The scripture reading was Psalm 84(85) whose theme of peace was taken up by Richard Tiplady of the International Christian College in his reflection on the Beatitude “Blessed are the Peacemakers”. The desire for peace is a deep human longing and the peacemakers are called “children of God” by Jesus.
At Hogmanay we look to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start, at a time when we are remembering the birth of the Prince of Peace. Rev. Tiplady challenged us – how can we, as children of God, be peacemakers. Peacemaking is risky and not always welcome, as the Street Pastors know. We believe that one day there will be perfect peace but we are asked to be peacemakers now.
The congregation responded with the singing of “Make me a channel of your peace” before they were invited to write a prayer for peace on cards provided which were then collected and taken up to be placed at the altar until Easter.
Dr. Lawrence Whitley, the minister of the Cathedral, then led the congregation in a final reflection as midnight approached. The Cathedral has a prayer box which is continually full of prayer petitions which the Cathedral community bring in prayer before God, with faith in the certainty of God’s love.
As the bells rang , he invited everyone to wish those around them a happy New Year, before joining in singing “Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided” , a hymn whose words are so appropriate for the start of a new year.
The collection taken up this year was for the Help for Heroes charity