Sunday Evening, March 23, 2014
Queens Park Parish Church
“How do you mark and celebrate 20 years of God’s faithfulness? On Sunday evening over 100 people came together to do just that in the month that The Well Multi-Cultural Advice Centre turned 20. It was a wonderful reminder of the many ways God has been at work in the lives of everyone involved in The Well, whether as volunteer, client or supporter.
After a ‘Call to Worship’ using Psalm 98:1-2 in 10 languages, the service of thanksgiving began with a rousing rendition of Ps 100, made all the richer when just our voices were heard praising God for his faithfulness. We then heard from the founder of The Well, Catriona Milligan, who spoke of the copious amount of tea and the initial community needs survey that sparked the vision for an information and advice centre accessible to the Asian communities and of the support of the Church of Scotland. It was striking that right from its inception The Well has been a family of people serving together with the capacity to adapt and expand as God lead. It was particularly poignant to be able to honour the three ladies who have been a part of that family of volunteers since the first day of The Well – Nancy, Lexa and Lesley
Rhoda Gilfillan, the manager of The Well since 2002, spoke of her debt to Catriona for her vision, perseverance and her legacy of mentoring which continues to define The Well. Rhoda gave a “snapshot in numbers” of the work of The Well (people from 27 churches serving over 8000 presentations by 1200 people from 22 nationalities over the last twelve months) but focused on a “snapshot in names” by listing the 44 people who volunteer their time at The Well. Three of these volunteers, Christine, Jan and Sarah, shared some of what motivates and blesses them about being involved with people from so many cultural backgrounds.
After an expression of gratitude for their partnership with The Well by Rev. Kenny Boyd of Govanhill Free Church, the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well in Samaria was read from John’s Gospel and the Rev. Alistair Morrice preached powerfully from the text. He highlighted God’s intentional design behind both the gospel story of the well and the history of The Well ministry as well as the parallels between the multi-layered conversation Jesus had with the woman and the hundreds of conversation that happen at The Well each week. There was an inspiring plea for us to seek and to offer the living water that only Jesus can supply.
The teaching from the Bible was followed by the fitting response of prayer for the nations through seven different voices, each expressing the ultimate desire of The Well that God’s kingdom would come on earth, as it is in heaven. With a sense of re-commitment, we sang the hymn ‘Facing a Task Unfinished’ and the service concluded with a ceremonial cutting of a celebratory cake by the youngest and ‘most mature’ volunteers and a wonderful reception of tea and fabulous home baking (echoing how The Well was birthed all those years earlier). The hospitality and generosity of Queens Park Parish Church was greatly appreciated.
What isn’t so easy to describe is how the time of thanksgiving expressed the heart of The Well so powerfully. There was a clear sense of honouring all who had contributed to the ministry, all who had been served by the ministry and supremely the One who continues to inspire and sustain the ministry through His example of sacrificial love and abundant life. What a wonderful excuse for a thanksgiving service!”