26th May 2016

Paisley's African congregation set Sabbath 21 May alight with colourful national dress and impassioned songs in their native tongue. The occasion was the official transition from company to church status with a programme and ceremony witnessed by many visitors from other West of Scotland churches.

In 2005, Paisley-based Glasgow church members PL PAISLEYstarted small groups that were coordinated by one indigenous member. As the Glasgow church membership increased, with the influx of students, asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants from all over the world, the Church leadership decided to plant a church. The search for an appropriate venue resulted in a sublease agreement with the Christian Growth Centre (now Connect Church) and the church plant was launched in January 2009 under the pastoral leadership of the then Glasgow district minister, Clifford Herman.

Since then, despite 9 transfers out, it has grown from 9 baptised members and 44 regular attendees to a current membership of 36 baptised members ‒ with a further 6 pending ‒ and 65 regular attendees. One of the church's strengths is the fact that almost half of its congregation comprises young people and children. Consequently, there is a youth programme and vibrant Pathfinder club that focuses on support and spiritual development aimed at membership retention during and beyond tertiary education.


The day was a timely reminder of service to others. In his charge to the Paisley members, Pastor Bernie Holford, Scottish Mission President, said, "I charge you to let the light of God's love show in you so that you will go and make disciples of all people, by serving, teaching, baptising and discipling until Jesus comes to take us home!", to which the congregation responded, "So help us God." Pastor Paul Lockham, BUC Executive Secretary, cited the story of the Woman at the Well and how, despite cultural differences, Christ's example in meeting people where they are and addressing their needs, is a powerful motivation for moving out of our comfort zone.

In fact, the church has risen to the challenge of reaching beyond the cultural and secular divide by focussing on Health Ministries as its major outreach programme. The project's origin has led its members to conclude a large measure of Divine intervention. With Scottish Mission Executive Committee support, it is advancing plans to establish a Healthy Living Centre and Place of Worship that will form a Centre of Influence for the West of Scotland and beyond. Paisley pastor, Claudiu Popescu said, "Beyond the formalities and celebration of this milestone in the life of our congregation, the occasion raised awareness of our call and the purpose of our existence ‒ to respond to the needs of our community and to see the world and others through the eyes of God."


[John Wilby]


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