The 25th anniversary of Glasgow Churches Together (GCT) was marked by a civic reception at Glasgow City Chambers on 10 October, preceded by its AGM and a programme of speakers.
At the AGM, held in a packed Committee Room of the City Chambers, Fr. David Wallace, the Chair, welcomed everyone to hear reports of the work of GCT over the preceding 12 months, and outlines of forthcoming events and plans, including the installation of the Homeless Jesus sculpture in Glasgow. Fr. David was unanimously elected Chair for a further term of two years.
The speaker programme and civic reception began with Scottish music performed by Dr. Noel Donnelly on harp and John Allan on whistle, and an exciting performance by students of the Dance School of Scotland. Then Bailie Josephine Docherty, on behalf of the Lord Provost and City Council welcomed those present and took the opportunity to express thanks on behalf of the City Council to GCT for its work and that of its member churches, with particular reference to its work with young people in the city.
She noted the role of the churches as an important part of the welcome to visitors to Glasgow, and acknowledged that they have a great deal to contribute to the life of the city, describing GCT as a lasting and meaningful project. Fr. David responded with thanks to the Bailie and to the City Council for its hospitality.
The first speaker of the evening was Rev. Matthew Ross, General Secretary of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) who spoke of the history and work of ACTS and the challenges to its member churches to move closer together and show God’s love to the world.
He was followed by Miriam Weibye, Moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Communications Committee. She gave the audience a brief introduction to the Pilgrimage of Justice & Peace project of the WCC in Scotland whose aim is bring us to live together in justice & peace. She said that we all bring different stories on our pilgrimage of life. The question is, are we journeying together or separately. She finished with an exciting announcement that there was the possibility of the Assembly of the WCC coming to Glasgow in 2021, where the theme would be “Mission from the Margins”.
The final speaker of the evening was Bob Fyffe, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain & Ireland (CTBI) who spoke from his personal experience of ecumenism under the title “An Ecumenism of the Heart”. He descried ecumenism as a journey of the heart. We are, he said, invited and drawn to live in community with God. We want or choose what better leads to God’s life in us, and unity is the response to this desire. Ecumenism is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and it has to be an encounter with God , not just about doing things together.
The evening ended with a lovely finger buffet and the chance to chat.