When I last visited St Giles Presbyterian Church in early December, 2012, the site of the former Church building looked like this; messy!Two months later, with the help of Superseeders and a good dose of Presbyterian pragmatism the site looks like this; the scarred earth is nicely covered with soft, young grass and there is a border of cheerful sunflowers.
I don’t know who devised this remedy for an ugly, bare patch but it works beautifully. The church buildings and land are next to an extremely busy road and near some equally busy work sites and shops and eateries. The church complex is, therefore, surrounded by noise and activity and movement. When you drive, or walk, by the church corner, the plain white, wooden cross, against the green corrugated wall ( and green lawn ) engages your attention with its simplicity and its openness. The cross seems to welcome with open arms and say,” Come rest awhile in my company. Enjoy the stillness and the calm of the garden. Let me soothe your eyes and be a balm for your soul.”But, the practical pathway, thoughtfully Presbyterian, also says that ,if you only want to pass by, that’s okay too. It says,”We are happy to walk with you in your comings and goings and, maybe, in the walking, you will feel the light touch of blessedness beside you.” I think it’s wonderful what a difference a touch of green and white, a few flowers, some simple planks and building material and a plain, gravel path, can make to our broken cityscape. And, even more interestingly, how such simplicity can create closer and more vibrant connections between the Church and the wider community. I am sure our Church has had more newcomers cross its threshold in the last few months than it has in the last few years.