September 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Govan Fair cheque is handed over by Linda Yates to Calvin Lynch who received it on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Care, supervised by Govan Fair Association vice chair, Sandy Black.

Govan Fair cheque is handed over by Linda Yates to Calvin Lynch who received it on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Care, supervised by  Govan Fair Association Vice Chair Sandy Black.


The Govan Fair Association recently handed over a cheque for £200  to ‘We are Macmillan Cancer Support’ to help people living with cancer.

Though wheelchair bound, Linda Yates was the chief fund raiser for the Govan Fair Association.  ‘I just did what I could to help,’ she said. This included sitting outside with a bucket on Govan Fair Day in June 2015 receiving money given by the crowd. On behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support, modern apprentice Calvin Lynch (17) was happy to receive the cheque for the formal ceremony in the Pearce Institute café in Govan which is run by Macmillan Cancer Support.  Vice Chair Sandy Black, wearing the Govan Fair chain of office, officially represented the Association. He said:  ‘The money given to Macmillan Cancer Support continues an ancient tradition of the Fair Association – to distribute any surplus from the Fair to those in need locally.’

A spokeswoman for the Macmillan support fundraising team which works upstairs in the Pearce Institute, said the money would be added to what the team raises for Macmillan work.

Later that day, Linda Yates was honoured by the Association – which has a tradition going back more than 300 years – and made a Life Member as was local Church of Scotland minister Moyna McGlynn.  Said Chairman Lord James Stringfellow: ‘They have been given Life Membership out of gratitude for the support each has given the Govan Fair and the Govan Fair Association over the years.’

The Association has also ratified its 21st century working model as a company limited by guarantee with Charitable Status. Said Mr Stringfellow: ‘The whole process was managed by OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) who made sure all the legalities and constitutional procedures have been adhered to.  We are now on a modern footing and the Govan Fair is protected for the people of Govan for the next 300 years. The current committee are the custodians of huge tradition and we take that role very seriously.’

Later that day, the Govan Fair Association re-elected their committee at a re-called annual general meeting. Solicitor John Flanagan reassured everyone that the legalities of becoming a company limited by guarantee with Charitable Status had been done correctly. He explained that this was to protect the people taking the responsibilities of the Association and was a normal process today. Chairman Lord James Stringfellow also moved an amendment to the standing orders to emphasis that the Govan Fair belongs to the people of Govan and those who are the custodians of the Association and formal supporters of it, are committed to that objective.

Dungavel demo aims to shut the removal centre

May 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Protesters, wanting to shut down Dungavel Immigration Detention Centre near Strathaven, will descend on the prison on Saturday 30 May.

Dungavel is a prison. Visitors are not encouraged.

Dungavel is a prison. Visitors are not encouraged.

Organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) the demonstration is supported by the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, the Muslim Council of Britain, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, and community activists from across Scotland.

A recent STUC motion said: ‘Detention is a blight on our asylum system. People being held indefinitely in Dungavel have committed no crime.’ The UK is the only European country which has no limit on the time permitted to detain people seeking sanctuary.

According to the BBC in January, 185 people were detained in Dungavel. Two had been there for more than a year while 32 had been there for more than six months and a further nine for more than three months. Children are not supposed to be detained in Dungavel but fears were expressed at a meeting in Glasgow a few days before the demonstration, that they were being held there before being send to detention centres in England.

Church and human rights authorities have been refused permission by Home Secretary, Theresa May, to visit the prison to see if reports of people detained there being on hunger strike over the conditions and over their unlimited detention, were true.

Speakers at the rally are expected to include Glasgow Girl Amal Azzudin who, as a school girl, along with her peers, challenged the removal of one of their class mates whose family was seeking asylum. Their challenge was successful and the story of their fight was later made into a successful stage musical.

A former home of the Dukes of Hamilton, the Dungavel property is run by the Home Office via a £25million, 5 year contract with GEO, part of the company which runs Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre and private jails in the United States.

For more information and to book a place on the bus: www. stuc.org.uk/dungavel #ShutDunga

Jane’s hope lives on

April 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The story of a forgotten Scottish heroine who was murdered in Auschwitz was told in powerful performances by Tram Direct at Theatre at Queens on Glasgow’s Southside this week.

Jane Haining - played by Evelyn Caputa - is centre stage in short white skirt from Auschwitz scenes surrounded by 'her girls' and other members of the cast.

The harrowing details of Jane Haining’s final days as matron of a Church of Scotland orphanage for Jewish girls in Budapest, were dramatically retold by professional and community actors in ‘To Serve is to Resist.’

Because she refused to leave ‘her girls’ she was arrested and died with them in the gas chambers of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp.

The performances were even more poignant because Jane had worshipped in the very building where Tram Direct now has its headquarters and theatre space. The congregation of what is now called Queen’s Park Church of Scotland, installed two stained glass windows to remember Jane’s sacrifice and some of the current congregation took part in scenes in the play.

Aniko Szilagyi from Hungary beside one of the two Jane Haining memorial windows in Queen's Park Parish Church.

One of the cast was from Budapest and had known of Jane’s bravery.  Aniko Szilagyi  is currently working for her PhD at the University of Glasgow. She first visited Glasgow in 1999 as a winner of an English speaking competition run in Budapest as a living memorial to Jane Haining. Said Aniko: ‘It is strange taking part in this play. It is part of my history.’

The play was commissioned by Isobel Barret founder of Tram Direct who runs it and Theatre Ecole from their base within Queen’s. ‘When I heard the story of Jane Haining I commissioned Ian Morland to write this play. It was a story that just had to be told and it was right here on our doorstep.’

The first act tells of Jane’s determination to work abroad as a Christian missionary and how she achieves her dream on being appointed matron of the Budapest girls’ home.

The second act illustrates vividly how, despite her suffering throughout interrogations and in the death camp, she never lost her faith in God. Skilful use of original film footage of Hitler speaking, set the context of the time. Nine songs interspersed throughout the play added to the emotional response of the acting.

Those who watched the play were left with a profound sense of awe at Jane’s courage. ‘This deserves to be wider known and seen,’ said one member of the audience.


New play remembers church woman’s sacrifice

March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jane was 47 when she was murdered in Auschwitz.

A play about a young Scottish woman who died in Auschwitz in 1944 will be performed on Friday 30 March and Saturday 31 March in Theatre at Queens at 170 Queen’s Drive, on Glasgow’s Southside. It tells the true story of Jane Haining who was matron of a home for orphaned girls in Budapest. Run by the Church of Scotland, the home was a safe haven until the Nazis moved into the city. At that point she was ordered to return to Scotland but she twice refused as she knew it would leave her children defenceless. The result was the Gestapo imprisoned her and eventually killed her in the death camp.

She had worshipped at Queen’s Park Parish Church in Glasgow and that congregation installed two stained glass windows to remember her and her sacrifice. They also play host each year to the school aged winners of a competition in English speaking which is run in Budapest in her memory.

When Tram Direct founder Isobel Barrett moved her theatre school into community space at Queen’s Park Church, she heard the story of the windows and of Jane Haining’s dedication to her children. She commissioned Ian Morland to write a play of the moving story.

‘It is true to the facts and quite harrowing in parts,’ said Isobel. ‘But everyone is glad to have been a part of this.’

The play has been produced with the cooperation of South Glasgow Heritage and Environment Trust, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership. An exhibition of Jane’s story will be on display at the church’s community hall during the run of the play.

Prayers are answered

October 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The new Gorbals church with replacement copper facings in place.

For years, Church of Scotland members in Gorbals have been praying for a new church building. Despite many hiccups, that building is now nearing completion – ten weeks ahead of schedule. It is located on Cumberland Street at Laurieston Road, back to back with the library building in Crown Street.

Though the copper facing was stolen recently, it has been replaced. The copper that was stolen had unique ID markings which should enable it to be traced – thank God!  Till the place is ready for worship, Sunday services are being held in the Skills Academy at Norfolk Street.


People first say marchers

October 5, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Seneiya Kamotho

With Sandra White, the Scottish National Party MSP determinedly leading the way, a 15,000-strong procession of people resolutely marched through the streets of Glasgow on Saturday 1 October in solidarity against the UK Government’s cuts to public spending and campaigning for the protection of those hardest hit by them.
The march from Glasgow Green to Kelvingrove Park was part of a campaign spearheaded by the Scottish Trades Union Congress in partnership with equality, campaign, faith and anti-poverty organisations.
A sample of views revealed the deep despair of the marchers and their collective hope that the Government would reconsider its draconian job and services cuts.
Said Lorraine Leed: ‘I have been a teacher for over 30 years and it is heart-wrenching to witness the callous way in which such long-serving, conscientious members of society are being unsympathetically discarded as a result of this policy. It is an ultimate betrayal by Government of the people it is meant to serve.’
Kenneth Kilbride of the Prison Service agreed: ‘These cuts mean that prisoners will only receive basic services and not the much-needed specialist mental and psychological care.’
Said Charles Atangana from Cameroon: ‘New comers are also badly affected. English classes and interpretation options for asylum seekers and refugees, whose first language is not English, will be scrapped if public spending is cut. Black and ethnic minority people will suffer the most; how do they read their official letters; interact with banking and other public service institutions; how do their children learn the English they need for school; how do asylum seekers interact with their English-speaking lawyers and judges? The cuts work against the Government’s integration policies.’
The passion of the marchers against the cuts was palpable. The event culminated peacefully but poignantly with a speech by Tony Benn, Labour politician and former MP and Cabinet Minister.

Because of the continuous rain on the day, many people planning to speak, did not do so. One of them was Rev. Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland who is minister at Gorbals Parish Church.
In his blog he details the speech he would have made.
‘When the rich go on getting richer, and the poor go on getting poorer, and nothing – nothing – in government policy is designed to change that – it’s time for people from churches to stand beside people from unions, to stand beside people from disability groups, to stand beside people from right across Scotland and say that this is an offence against the kind of society and that we want to be part of.
‘Of course,’ said Ian Galloway: ‘Some people think they come first because of their wealth, their status, their position, or their antecedents. Their deep desire is to stay first. That’s why we have millionaires making up the Cabinet, trying to get their own taxes cut and telling us that we can’t afford poor people. The Bible says that when there are resources to be shared out, everyone should get enough. And everyone can get enough.
‘By this march we exercise our choice to say no to the same old business as usual. It is time to make other choices. It is time to put some other people first. Scotland has a proud record of caring for all of its people. We should not cease in our efforts to put people first and the ideology of market forces last.’

G52 Churches will walk to witness

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 


Some of the participants in last year's Walk of Witness

A long established ecumenical group of Churches on Glasgow’s Southside, plans to make a Walk of Witness on Good Friday – 22 April – to declare their Christian faith.  An annual event from Our Lady and  St George’s  Church, 50 Sandwood Road, Penilee to Hillington Park Church of Scotland in Berryknowes Road, the followers carry a wooden cross to acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Operating as G52 Churches, the congregations are: four Church of Scotland – Cardonald, Hillington Park, St Andrew’s Penilee and St Nicolas’ Cardonald plus two RC – Our Lady and St George and Our Lady of Lourdes and the Scottish Episcopal congregation from the Church of the Good Shepherd.

A service will be held at the start at 10.30am. Midway, an open air act of worship will be held at the end of Traquair Drive and the Walk of Witness will conclude with a short ecumenical  service in Hillington Park Church in Berryknowes Road followed by tea and hot cross buns in the hall in true church style. ‘Anyone who would like to walk with us to honour the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation, is invited,’ said the Rev Calum MacLeod of Cardonald Parish Church. ‘This year we anticipate an increase in the number of people supporting the Walk of Witness because we have sent a mail drop to homes throughout the G52 postcode area,’ he  added.

Flavour served with grace= Grace and Flavour

September 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Minister Lily McKinnon, cake and coffee, and the lady volunteers

Minister Lily McKinnon, cake and coffee, and the lady volunteers

Who’s not in need of some Grace and Flavour now and again? Well, a new cafe in the Trinity Church in Daisy Street,  Govanhill is serving up ample portions of both. The flavour is in the soup, sandwiches and cakes, the grace is in the service – the new cafe -named Grace and Flavour – is run by church Minister, Rev Lily McKinnon plus a fleet of 19 lady volunteers who have successfully taken the Food Hygiene Certificate.

Grace and Flavour is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am till 1.30pm. Previously, the space was a computer room.  When funding dried up the  service had to be discontinued and the 20 computers were given to local causes. But, undeterred, Lily has redeployed the space thanks to a £5000 grant from the Church of Scotland Pilot Scheme for Parish Development Fund.  She believes the new cafe will help weave communities together in an area plagued by social problems.

Said Lily: ‘We opened  on 21 September.  Trinity Church of Scotland is in the heart of Glasgow’s largest multi-cultural priority area where long term unemployment, crime, drugs and alcohol abuse are the normal way of life for many.’

For Lily though, the enterprise is much more than simply providing a cafe: ‘I want to get these volunteers beyond just preparing and serving’, explained Minister Lily. She added: ‘Part of the whole idea is to get them integrating in the local community.

‘For example, we are going to run a creche on a Monday so that the Roma women can bring their children and they can integrate with the English speaking people of this community. At the moment they are isolated and we want to break what I see as a communication barrier.’

On Friday 5 November the Cafe will be opened officially by the Rev Neil Galbraith, Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery and founder of Glasgow, The Caring City Charity.

All baking is homemade and prepared with local produce and complements the rich array of aromatic, freshly ground, coffees and varieties of teas. All art work that adorns the walls is provided by students from Hollybrook special needs Secondary School. Two students from the school, Abbas Shaukat and Amy Balantine, are currently doing work experience at the cafe.