Pray for Knightswood

Knightswood_2b4ba523b2165eee069e9b5d619a5dabLast weekend, I had the privilege of a visit to familiar territory, the Knightswood FCC congregation, where I worshipped for two years prior to coming to Point. As our family’s previous spiritual home, it will always have a special place in my heart, and especially so for the joy of seeing the very warm and loving congregation again, including my own parents, my sister, and her husband and their beautiful baby daughter, Holly. It is a particular blessing to be invited to visit to preach the Gospel, and to assist at the communion, and I count it a real joy to have been asked.

Let me give a brief report on the congregation, to stir up prayer for the Lord’s work there.

 

THE AREA

Knightswood is a vast housing estate on the western edge of the city of Glasgow, built in the 1930s as local authority housing, as families were relocated out of the old Victorian slum housing that used to fill the centre of the city. The houses are so highly uniform that one can easily get lost: the same half dozen styles recurring again and again, generally either cottage flats, terraces, or semi-detached villas. The sale of council houses in the Thatcher years has greatly changed the composition of Knightswood, as the majority of homes are now privately owned, so that the area now has little homogeneity. Traditional working class families now live beside upwardly mobile professionals, and while some properties look so scruffy as to be virtually derelict, others have new extensions, manicured lawns and gleaming Mercedes cars in the driveways.

In the 1960s, the Council added a number of massive tower blocks of approximately twenty stories each, and these properties are still usually in council hands, often being used to house the poorest in society: asylum seekers, benefit claimants, and those addicted to substance abuse. This is an area without much natural beauty, but with an immense population, and needs on every side.

The church sits strategically well-placed, just a few yards along Fulton Street from Knightswood Cross, at the heart of this community. Built in the 1930s as a Brethren Assembly Hall, the congregation that worshipped here declined steadily over the decades, and by 2008 the Hall had closed for worship. Through personal contacts, the Hall was offered, free of charge, to what was then Thornwood Free Church (Continuing), which had its roots in traditional Highland Free Church congregations in the Partick, Govan and Woodlands areas of Glasgow.

Since then, the Fulton Street Church has functioned as a basis for worship and outreach throughout this area, as the congregation have built many useful contacts, hosted meetings and Bible studies, as well as conducting the regular services of public worship.

 

THE CONGREGATION

The Knightswood people are quite an eclectic mix, with some very traditional Free Church folk, their roots in the Highlands and Islands; others who have embraced the principles and heritage of the Free Church from a thoroughly Glaswegian background; and others who have been contacted through outreach, and have no real Christian grounding. The success of the congregation is the warmth of its welcome, such that people without any previous experience of attending church feel comfortable and at home. It is a practical demonstration of the love of Christ expressed through His people. There would be about forty in attendance on a Sabbath morning, perhaps twenty-five or thirty at night.

 

THE MINISTER

It was a pleasure to be with my own father, Rev William Macleod, who was my minister for the first eighteen years of my life, and also for periods of my adult life as well. We had a particular joy to celebrate in the family home, as we marked the ninetieth birthday of my grandmother Christina Johnston, who now lives permanently with my parents. She was born in Waternish in 1926, and must now be one of the oldest members of Knightswood, though now she follows the services by listening in to the live internet link on a laptop from the comfort of her armchair! She is remarkably well, very sharp mentally, but sadly burdened by deafness that makes conversation challenging.

The services passed with great enjoyment, particularly marked by a great sense of calm and peace. It was encouraging to have one older mn professing faith for the first time. I felt relaxed, at home, able to open the Word, with, I hope, a measure of clarity and simplicity. I preached on Sabbath morning from Galatians 1:4, about the gift of Jesus Christ as Saviour, His preciousness, salvation as His work, received by undeserving sinners, by grace alone. At the Table, anxieties about getting every part of the order correct largely fell away, and we were granted a measure of true communion with our risen Saviour in taking the elements, as His redeemed and adopted family. In the evening, a strong congregation gathered, and I preached a service of solemn warning about the prospect of Eternal wrath and judgment for those found outside of Christ, taking my text in the words of Mark 15:34, a text that reveals Christ’s own experience of the sufferings of Hell as He endured the Cross. At the Fellowship after, though quite exhausted, I tried to give a word of testimony regarding my own experience of grace.

 

PRAY

  • Here is an area with an immense population, including the whole spectrum of human needs, so let us pray that the Lord would work powerfully;
  • Let us seek that the Lord would deliver addicts from the prison of their addictions, and grant them the deeper and more lasting joys of knowing Christ;
  • Let us ask that God would show His sovereignty in drawing to Himself some who have attended worship diligently for many years without any outward sign of spiritual progress;
  • Let us pray that the Lord would work in Christian families, to bless children growing up under the teaching of the Gospel;
  • Let us pray that God will encourage the many evangelistic efforts made by the congregation, uphold the minister and office bearers, and bless His Word to the saving of souls.
  • And especially that God would persevere with those who profess His name, and continue to draw them to Himself, even to the end.
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