The Annual Blessing of the Crib service in Glasgow, organised by Glasgow Churches Together (“GCT”) and hosted by Glasgow City Council, was held this year on 3 December in George Square. It returned to its original early evening slot and, in addition to the regular musical support of the Alba Brass Quintet and members of the St. Mungo Singers, we had children from Blackfriars and St. Francis Primary Schools, Gorbals, who really brightened up the evening. The weather also favoured those attending, being cool but dry, and a good crowd gathered.
GCT representatives included the Chair, Major Stephen Huyton of the Salvation Army, the Rev. William B. Ferguson (Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery), Archbishop Conti of Glasgow, Rev. Canon Tom Montgomery (Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway), and Rev. Derek Bibb (Minister Superintendent of the Glasgow Methodist Circuit). The City was represented by Lord Provost Bob Winter and Rev. Paul Romano, Chaplain to the City Council.
In addition to a selection of familiar and well-loved carols such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Away in a Manger”, the children introduced us to the Calypso Carol which had everyone humming along, carried away on the rhythm of the music. They also sang the more traditional “Joy to the World”.
The Christmas Gospel was sung (by Gerry Healy) before the Crib was blessed and Archbishop Conti extended greetings from GCT to all present. Before the final carol, Canon Montgomery invited everyone at this season of peace and joy to exchange a sign of peace with people around them in the crowd, a gesture which may have been novel to many but which seemed to prove very acceptable. A nice finishing touch was the distribution of commemorative book marks by the City Council.