Tag Archives: Glasgow

Glesga Funeral Fight


…….. and all because the organist played the tune “Orlington” to accompany the 23rd Psalm, instead of “Crimond” as had been requested.

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A minister was testing children in a Glasgow Sunday School class to see if they understood the concept of getting into Heaven.

He asked them, “If I sold my car, all my CDs, books, iPad and PC, and everything I have, had a huge jumble sale, and gave all my money to charities and to the church, would that get me into Heaven?”

As one, the children yelled,”NO!!!”

“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the Kirk lawn, and kept everything tidy, would that get me into Heaven?”

Again: “NO!!!”

By this time, the minister was starting to smile.

“Well then, suppose I was kind to animals, gave sweeties to all the children, and loved my wife, would that work?”

Again, they all answered: “NO!!!”

Now, the minister was bursting with pride for them

He continued, “Then how can I get into Heaven?”

A six year old boy shouted out…………

“Ye’ve got tae be deid furst!”





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Glesga fitba’

Once a neutral went to a Celtic-Rangers game, standing (this was a long time ago) between two rival sets of supporters.

A Bhoys fan turned to him and asked, “Hey Jimmy (in Weegieland, everyone is called “Jimmy” – even women), you supportin’ the Huns?”

He answered in the negative.

“Guid, pal, so yous fur the ‘Tic?”

Again, the guy said that he wasn’t.

A Rangers fan who was standing to the other side of him, bellowed at him, “Then what the **** are ye doin’ here, ya ****in’ atheist?!!”

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A Papal Audience in Weegieland

The Pope is visiting Glasgow, and is engulfed by a crowd of folk – Young and old.

One wee Glesca bauchle, in his late teens, manages to work his way through the throng, and tugs at the Holy Father’s sleeve.

“Frankie boy” he says, “ony chance ye could help wi’ ma hearing?”

The Pope says “of course, my son” and puts his hands on the lad’s ears and prays, removes his hands and says, “How is your hearing now? ”

The wee ned says, “A dinnae ken;  it’s no til next Wednesday.”y

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The “Show” must go on

My beloved Father died 39 years ago yesterday (on 21 February 1976) in Glasgow  – at the Western Infirmary. Yesterday, he was very much on my mind. What a decent and honourable man he was, and a loving and beloved Dad, whose counsel was wise, realistic, and positive.  I wish that I was even half the man that he was.

It was a Saturday – early evening – when he passed away.  After the usual formalities, I took my mother home (widowed at the age of 55), and stayed with her until almost midnight.

I then drove home to my Manse – some 40 miles away  – where my beloved wife (and one year old son – fast asleep) was waiting.

After talking things through for an hour or so, I went into my study and stayed up all night, writing a sermon from scratch; my organist was a wonderful, delightful, talented musician – who often was given the praise list half an hour before the service – so no problems there, with what hymns would be sung.  Davie – you were wonderful, as a musician, and as a friend.

This was my first Charge and had only been there for a couple of years – so no “Golden Oldies” to rehash.  I think that I finished typing my notes about 6.30 that morning.

And, in the pulpit on time on the Sunday morning. Haven’t a clue what I preached about (it’s somewhere in my files).

Then, after a snatched lunch, back down the road to Glasgow.

Foolhardy? Professional? Let the congregation down with sub-standard material?  What do YOU think?P

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Glasgow Advent Calendar


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November 29, 2014 · 17:02

A Weedgieland Wedding

At a Govan wedding reception the D.J. yelled…
“Would all married men please stand next to the one person who has made your life worth living.”

— The barman was almost crushed to death.

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Mothers Against the Devil (MAD). This is not in Uganda nor Nigeria, nor Pakistan  –  it’s in Parkhead. Glasgow

New Life Church 
179 Shettleston Road, Parkhead,
Glasgow, G31 5JL

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June 1, 2014 · 12:43

Weegieland – City of Lurve

St Valentine’s remains and Glasgow: City of Love

Published on the
14 February
2014. The Scotsman newspaper

BLESSED John Duns Scotus is a low-lying building on an arterial route through the Gorbals in Glasgow.

Transit vans, HGVs and hurried commuters drive by it every day without giving it much thought. It makes little impression on pedestrians who walk past its dark, spittle-beaten brown brick walls. On a clear day, and with your head up, some modestly decorated figures in prayer – some are painted white, others wear a coat of pale peach or sapphire blue – can be seen in the corner of the church courtyard. Above a white delivery van parked nearby, a familiar figure is pinned to a crucifix. His claret-stained feet are at head-height.

The Ballater Street friary is neither grand nor imposing, but within its walls is something no other place of worship in Scotland has, and is responsible for Glasgow’s informal title as the City of Love. Beyond the church entrance on the left hand side of the light, wood-panelled interior is an ornate 3ft-wide chest – known as a reliquary – gilded with the words ‘Corpus Valentini Martyris’. Inside the reliquary, shielded from the public by a thick glass pane, are some of the remains of one St Valentine. In the week leading up to the 14th, a statuette of the saint is placed beside the relic and decorated with red roses. Men have been known to propose to their girlfriends on St Valentine’s Day next to the reliquary. Special services are held to acknowledge those in love; prayers are also said for those still seeking it. Blessed John Duns Scotus becomes “hectic” on the 14th.

“They have done so, yes,” says Rev Edmund Highton of the impromptu marriage proposals at the church, “I’ve seen it happen while I’ve been here. They just come in, and you see one of them get down on the knee, and so on.”

The values that St Valentine ostensibly stands for – romance, companionship, true love – are held in high esteem by the church; the saint himself is another matter. Ask most people on the street what they know about St Valentine, and they’ll likely reel off a list of gifts they’ve given or received in mid-February; they’ll maybe shrug when pressed further. Father Edmund’s shrug is quite audible when I ask him about St Valentine.

“It’s not an important one for me. That’s just a matter of history. We’ve got these relics, people come in, and they have a devotion. They see it as a focus for themselves, that’s all. St Valentine was a martyr saint who gave witness to his faith, that’s all I’m interested in. That’s good.”

Blessed St Johns Scotus, according to Rev Antony Collins, has the forearm of St Valentine. The rest of him is housed across Europe: in Rome, the skull of St Valentine is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria. Other remains can be found at Whitefriars Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland and at the Birmingham Oratory. France, Malta and the Czech Republic reportedly own reliquaries of St Valentine as well.

Remains spread throughout the world

This diffusion of reliquaries – a ‘spreading of the love’, if you will – is the combined result of historic gift-giving between church officials and periodic exhumation of St Valentine. The business of identifying the saint is a tricky one, made all the more complicated by the fact that he may be at least two different people. On the one hand, records say he was a third century Bishop of Terni imprisoned, tortured and beheaded at Via Flaminia near Rome on the orders of a Roman prefect, Placid Furius; a later, more popular hagiography has it that Valentine of Rome, a priest or bishop in the city, was also martyred by Emperor Claudius the Goth at Via Flaminia (some scholars argue that these two accounts are overlapping fragments of the same story). According to the Nuremberg Chronicle (a late 15th century tome which took the bible and the oral tradition as inspiration rather than historical fact) the latter Valentine restored the sight of his jailer’s daughter while imprisoned for giving aid to Christians. Other, later versions of the story attempt to link Valentine with acts of passion or romance, but the truth of these accounts is questionable at best.

A pagan festival pre-dating Christianity called Lupercalia, celebrated over three days in mid-February (and during what is now Valentine’s Day), has a far more explicit connection with the early romantic tropes of Valentine’s Day. The ritual required two young men to skin a goat and a dog, and make whips out of the hide to strike the bottoms of girls in order to make them fertile. Lupercalia was later appropriated by Pope Gelasius in AD 494 when he declared February 14 to be a Christian feast day. David Jasper, a literature and theology professor at Glasgow University, says this may go some way to explaining how Valentine’s Day came about.

He says the celebration of Valentine’s Day was “purely pagan. The connection with the Christian Valentine was completely false.”

“In the Dictionary of Christianity, it doesn’t even mention St Valentine at all. The commemorations of the two Valentines was always February 14, and what tends to happen is you get the confusion where if you get a pagan festival at around the same time as a Christian festival then the two become conflated with one another – they don’t have to have anything to do with one another. The two Valentines, who were martyrs, and that wasn’t unusual in the third century, I think it just happened. It was happenstance that their festival was February 14.”

The ultimate responsibility for the Valentine’s Day now celebrated with a deluge of flowers, cards and chocolates between the sexes falls on English author Geoffrey Chaucer. Sometime around 1382, Chaucer wrote Parliament of Foules. The poem was the first piece of literature to connect St Valentine with romantic love, and from there the idea took hold, however slowly, to the extent that William Shakespeare referenced St Valentine’s Day in Ophelia a little over 200 years later. By the 18th century, love notes written on paper and lace became popular in England, and once a cheap means of mass production was thought up – Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts began producing cards in 1847. The rest, as some might say, is a very commercialised history.

The reliquary containing the forearm of St Valentine arrived in Glasgow via a donation from a wealthy French Catholic family in 1868. It was kept in St Francis for over a century before being transferred to its current home in 1993. Though the remains are given a prominent position at the front of the church, it’s also easy to walk right straight past them. St Valentine’s Day, after all, only happens once a year.

“For most of us, he’s one of the saints like any other,” says Father Antony. “It’s based on the faith of the people. Some people come around this time of year [but] we don’t advertise it, really.”

The church’s reluctance to promote St Valentine, perhaps, stems from the fact that no-one really knows anything about him with great certainty. The Roman Catholic Church removed St Valentine from the General Calendar, a liturgical calendar indicating the dates of saints to be celebrated, in 1969. St Valentine is destined to remain a mystery.

“I feel sometimes that, even with Jesus Christ, you get descriptions and what have you, but you don’t get the photographic evidence required today”, laments Father Antony, “and what happens? Not so long ago the Shroud of Turin somehow appears. You might say that all the information that people would want today was there the whole time.

“It’s one of those puzzles – but life is a puzzle, isn’t it?”

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Eyes Down!

And now for something completely different: an Atheist church for Scotland

Sunday 6 October 2013 The Herald

IT sounds like the ultimate paradox, but an “atheist church” is to start holding regular services in Scotland from next month in a bid to spread the word about the “free-thinking faith”.

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society branded it a ??barmy idea??

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society branded it a ??barmy idea??

The gatherings will be run along the lines of a traditional church service, but the strains of All Things Bright And Beautiful might be swapped for a sing-a-long to Eye Of The Tiger and preaching replaced with a talk on positive thinking.

The first “Sunday Assembly” – as these atheist church services are known – was held in London at the beginning of this year, stemming from an idea by stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans.

This month and next, they plan to launch another 30 satellite ‘congregations’ in cities from Leeds to Chicago and Vancouver to Adelaide.

As part of it, the Sunday Assembly will begin to be held on a regular basis for the first time in Scotland, with monthly events in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, where one-off services have previously taken place.

But the idea is divisive within the world of atheism with some calling it barmy and an “aping” of religion.

Robert Concannon, who is helping to organise the Sunday Assembly in Edinburgh, said: “There are lots of communities which are available for people to do the whole angry atheist thing. This is specifically not about that, this is an opportunity to get all the good bits of going to church but without the need for invoking anything supernatural.”

He added: “A lot of us are ex-religious who feel the lack of community when you drop the religion.”

While details of the service are still being worked out, Concannon said it would involve a speaker, a poetry reading and a moment of silence. In Edinburgh, the service will take place in a city-centre bingo hall.

“It will follow a fairly traditional church service-type format, only with better songs,” he said.

“I adore hymns and I still have a hymn book on my piano – but the words are dodgy and I don’t like them.” On the songs that will be sang at the Sunday Assembly, he added: “It is popular songs that everyone can sing along to – it is really nice to get that singing in a group feeling.”

The Sunday Assembly founders claim it is catering to the fastest-growing belief group – those who do not count themselves as religious.

Figures from the 2011 census, published earlier this month, revealed the number of people in Scotland who regard themselves as non-religious stood at 37% – with numbers rising from 1.4 million to 1.9 million over the past decade.

It meant those in the “non-religious” category overtook the biggest denomination, the Church of Scotland, for the first time.

According to the census figures, just over half of the country – 54% – still think of themselves as Christian.

Gary McLelland, one of the organisers of the Sunday Assembly in Glasgow, who is also chair of the Edinburgh Secular Society, is keen to hold more regular services if the idea takes off.

“The hope is the more people get involved and spend their time with it, then we might move to perhaps fortnightly or weekly services”, he said.

McLelland said the Glasgow launch will include a talk by psychologist Patricia Elliot and “positive secular uplifting songs”, citing the example of Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor, which was played at a Sunday Assembly he attended in Edinburgh. But he is keen to develop the idea beyond just a get-together. He hopes the congregation would develop into taking part in community outreach work, for example running soup kitchens.

He said: “It is generally one of the most positive aspects of organised religion. So I think there is a growing consensus among people who aren’t particularly religious that they want to get involved in doing something like that themselves.”

The Sunday Assembly doesn’t entirely steer clear of allusions to religion, sometimes using tongue-in-cheek biblical references. The launch of the satellite congregations is being dubbed “40 days and 40 nights: The Roadshow”.

Both the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland declined to comment.

But Nick Spencer, research director of Christian think tank Theos, says the idea is not new. “They sprang up a hundred years ago, with people who had lost their Christian faith,” he said.

However, Spencer, who will publish a book on the history of atheism next year, said the so-called ethical churches formed in the late 19th century had fizzled out by the 1930s, from a failure to find a common cause.

“I suspect it is quite an urban phenomenon and it is people who lack a sense of community and meaningful relationships in an otherwise anonymous and individualised culture.”

Not all of those who challenge the role of religion in society back the concept of an atheist church.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, branded it a “barmy” idea.

“If you want to have religion, go and get the real thing instead of this pretend one,” he said.

Sanderson acknowledged that it did seem to have “caught people’s imagination”.

He said: “The bigger it gets, the more likely it is that people will disagree, fall out and split off. “

The Sunday Assembly will be launched in Edinburgh on Tuesday, October 22 and Glasgow on Wednesday, October 23. Visit www.sundayassembly.com

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