The start of a new year is always a good time to think about some of the exciting challenges that lie ahead. Later this year as part of my role as Urban Ministries leader, I will be helping put on a second family weekend camp, run jointly with Bethany Christian Trust, for about a dozen families living in some of the neediest parts of Glasgow.
In Zechariah 8, the Bible gives a picture of how communities should be places of fun and safety with different generations mixing with each other – the reality in many parts of Glasgow, however, can be very different, with problems of drug and alcohol abuse and young people growing up with little adult support and stable role models.
Last year it was exciting to see how, for a few days, we could model something different. Families spent time with each other and together. They were able to relax, have fun and realise that they weren’t on their own. For some it was the first time they had been away together.
Working with Bethany Christian Trust is exciting, as it means that this weekend is not a stand-alone event, but contributes to a wider programme helping support some very vulnerable families in Glasgow.
The impact and context of this can best be summed up by this short story of two people who came last year – we look forward to being able to use the experience we have in SU Scotland to help reach more families through our next family weekend camp in June this year.
Darren and his Grandpa came along to our weekend. Grandpa has been a drug user for years and had recently followed a recovery programme at one of the Bethany Christian Trust community hubs. Through the befriending and support he received at this he had become a Christian.
Unfortunately Gran was also a drug user and she died of an overdose through this period. Grandpa wanted help to figure out what it meant to be a normal grandpa to Darren. This is what Darren said about the weekend:
“This is the first time me and my grandpa have ever been anywhere together. I love it, I love my grandpa. We are having a brilliant time and I don’t want it to stop.”