Innovating hospitality

Hospitality. It easy trips off the tongue as a good idea but it can be tricky. Hospitality and house seem to go together. Houses are our homes. The burrows where we retreat, to recover and recharge. The idea of having folk coming in can, honestly, seem threatening. But hospitality is about time. A time set apart to give someone else our attention and care. To listen as well as to talk. Not rushed. Not a task to be hurried. Investing our time and attention in another’s life. Showing to them that they matter. And hospitality is about space. Where distractions are laid aside and what matters is that person. The guest. Placed at the centre of your space, not just hanging on at the edge. Giving people some of our time. Giving people some of our space. Showing to them that they matter to us. That they matter to God. It’s really important. So what can we do? Doesn’t have to be a sit-down meal. A coffee or a cup of tea and a biscuit in a café would do. Time and space for another person who doesn’t feel valued. Or lonely. Or troubled. It’s something we can all do. When we see how it matters. Innovative hospitality. Let’s find ways of giving some time and space for people. Jesus did. He still wants to, through you. Jim Purves Mission & Ministry Advisor

Hospitality as Mission

“As a way of life, an act of love, an expression of faith, our hospitality reflects and anticipates God’s welcome.” Christine Pohl’s words point us toward the wonder of the ancient practice of Christian hospitality.  In a time when our culture is ever more complex, our communities divided and often deaf to the good news of the gospel, might a recovery of the practice of hospitality be a missional imperative for the church in the Scotland in the 21st century? The Mission Initiative Group would like to invite you to join us for a day considering the possibilities and potential of hospitality as mission. We will have some excellent theological input as well as stories from around our Union of people and churches expressing hospitality in many different ways. We will also have outside agencies with us to help us connect with bigger opportunities around our nation. The day will take place on Saturday 29th February at Easterhouse Baptist Church from 10am to 4pm. Lunch will be provided.  All are welcome.

Darkness and Light – Sharing the light of Jesus in Shetland

Winter can be a challenge time of year for many people. We caught up with Rev Al Weir, minister at Dunrossness BC to find out how the dark winter months affect the community in Shetland and the parallel between spiritual darkness and the light and hope of Jesus.  Shetland is the most northerly group of islands in Scotland and is known for its rugged and beautiful coastline. During the summer months the island enjoys around-the-clock light with the ‘Simmer Dim’ twilight effect around midnight. However, during winter, the opposite takes place with less than 6 hours of sunlight per day. For many, this time of year presents challenges for those who suffer from mental health problems, the elderly and those who live by themselves. Loneliness and the feeling of isolation can be a real problem. The church as a whole plays a part in the community by providing various services such as community cafes, lunch clubs and other groups which greatly enhance the lives of the vulnerable. Shetland is a caring community, with deep Christian roots and yet of the 23,000 people on the island, the challenge of reaching out into scattered communities is ever present. The prayer of the church would be that a hunger for the ‘spiritual’ would increase, with the spiritual darkness only being illuminated in the person of Jesus Christ, and that the buildings where the church gather would become places of sanctuary, healing and the light on top of a hill. Once a year at ‘Up Helly Aa’, Shetland celebrates its Viking past with torch-lit processions and the burning of a galley. This light festival illuminates the streets of the towns where the events take place which quite simply and beautifully illustrates the Christian message of being lights shining in the darkness. In the year 2020, we are able to look forward with 20/20 vision because in Christ we are not alone in the dark as we have a God who illuminates the path of life, lightens the heavy loads and presents a future light eternal where all darkness will disappear.

The King’s Barn: Good News on the south side of Peebles

Vicky’s Tearoom is a monthly event run by Peebles Baptist Church for older, isolated people in the community, often with long term conditions like dementia. Vicky’s is now 10 years old, and is just one way that PBC has tried to show Christ’s love in practical, hospitable ways, despite not having a church home to be hospitable in! Vicky’s is a proper, “old-fashioned” afternoon tea followed by some gentle activities, often including singing. As well as giving the guests a good time, the event has a clear impact on families, volunteers, and health workers, who have often stated that there’s something tangibly different about Vicky’s compared to other events in the community. Of course, we know that the difference is Jesus!

Running the tearoom (and the other missional, community-based events that PBC organises) is possible without a church building, but there’s no doubt that it’s much harder and more limited than it might be. This is just one reason why we’re so looking forward to having our new dedicated church and community facility, the King’s Barn, which will be built specifically on dementia-friendly principles.

The foundations for the King’s Barn have now been laid, but there’s lots more to be done. The total budget of just under £1m may be modest compared to some church building projects, but for a small, low income congregation it’s been a massive faith challenge! We’ve seen some exciting developments, and God has sent some amazing people to help, but there’s no doubt that at times it’s been punishing. We’ve been humbled and awed by gifts from other (often small) churches, and we’re confident that in God’s time the building will be complete.

We’d love you to watch our latest video about the project – you can see it here: