Wellington Church, Glasgow, was the venue on Sunday 12th September for a special ecumenical Service during which a new organisation – Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS) – was launched. Leaders from the Churches which have been active in Scotland for many years were present and extended the right hand of fellowship to the leaders of the new organisation, which brings together more than fifty of the new independent congregations which have been set up by incomers to Scotland.
The Service was led by the Minister of Wellington Church, Rev. Dr. David Sinclair, and the sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens, a member of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches.
A congregation of 200 or more people – many of them from the congregations which are coming together to form MECTIS – took joyful part in the special ecumenical Service to mark Racial Justice Sunday. The readings and the preaching reminded everyone of the importance of reaching out to the marginalised and of ensuring that those on the margins were treated justly and lovingly.
After the sermon Francis Alao and Nelu Balaj, the present and former Scottish Churches' Racial Justice Officers, provided a brief outline of the path which had been followed and had led to the formation of MECTIS and spoke of the aims to which that organisation was committed.
The leaders of the Executive Committee of MECTIS1 were introduced to the congregation by Francis before the Vice-Convener of Action of Churches Together in Scotland, Rev. Norman Hutcheson, invited members of the MECTIS churches to stand in their places. He then led a prayer dedicating the new organisation.
Rev. Lukas Njenga, Chairperson of MECTIS, next invited members of other churches who were present to stand in their places before he offered a prayer calling for unity. Following the prayer the leaders of the Scottish Churches2 came forward to offer the right hand of fellowship to the members of the Executive Committee of MECTIS. Members of the congregation then exchanged handshakes as signs of peace and unity before the Scotland African Mass Choir burst into song and confirmed the joyful nature of the occasion.
After the Service was over Church leaders, MECTIS Executive members, members of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, and the other members of the congregation shared in a meal prepared by ladies from the congregations of MECTIS.
1 MECTIS Executive Committee
Chairman Rev Lukas Njenga; Vice Chairman Pastor Terzungwe Abu;
Vice Chairman Sheem Gill; Secretary Dr Nelu Balaj;
Treasurer Eileen Baxendale; Ass. Treasurer Rev Francis Alao
2 Leaders of Scottish Churches
Rt. Rev. John Christie, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland.
V. Rev. Ian Barcroft, representing the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Rev. John L. Humphreys, Moderator of the Scotland Synod of the United Reformed Church
Rev. Lily Twist, Chairperson of the Scotland Synod of the Methodist Church
Rev. Colin Brown, representing the Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland
Majors Alan and Jackie Dixon, representing the Scotland Secretary of the Salvation Army
Margaret Peacock, representing the General Meeting for Scotland of the Religious Society of Friends
Mr. Keith Baxendale, representing the General Director of the Baptist Union of Scotland