First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has taken part in the Meet Your MSP project by visiting the congregation of Queen’s Park Govanhill Parish in her constituency.
Ms Sturgeon who represents Glasgow Southside in the Scottish Parliament officially opened a Christmas Tree Festival hosted by the church.
When asked about the value of the Meet Your MSP project, she said:
“It is good for MSPs to get in and see what local churches do.
“And vice-versa, I suppose, for churches to understand what their MSPs do locally and how they can work together.
“Queen’s Park Govanhill Parish Church does a lot of very good work locally. I am very supportive of that and it is lovely to come in and see what they are doing for their Christmas celebrations.
“The Christmas Tree Festival gives different organisations a chance to demonstrate what they do as well as take part in a celebration. It is a really lovely idea and puts everyone in the Christmas spirit.”
More than 30 trees, decorated by around 100 people, are on display at Queen’s Park Govanhill Parish Church. They have been provided by a wide range of local community groups who have all come together in the spirit of Christmas.
Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, Secretary to the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said he was pleased Ms Sturgeon attended the event, which attracted around 200 people.
“It is great to see the First Minister recognise the contribution the church makes in this community.
“One of the great challenges that we have is, by in large, we say we don’t trust politicians. But actually when we meet them we discover they are trustworthy.
“One of the great things about Meet Your MSP is it helps to build trust between local communities and their politicians which is really important.”
The three-day Christmas Tree Festival is aimed at encouraging people from all walks of life to continue vital work to create harmony and build on community cohesion. It also marks the congregation’s 150th anniversary in Queen’s Drive.
Ms Sturgeon was entertained by children from Poppins Kindergarten who sang Christmas songs, and a performance from the St Cecilia Quartet.
Joyce McNae, an elder at Queens Park Govanhill and the Festival organiser, said:
“I am so delighted that we have managed to get 30 groups involved.
“I am so happy to see people working together and exchanging ideas, that is what it is all about.”
Elder Lynn Flower added:
“This is a huge community event with lots of people participating and its absolutely delightful to have Nicola Sturgeon here.
“It’s always nice to be recognised for the work we do which is reaching people in the community and for them to be part of our congregation in some shape or form.
“Govanhill is a very diverse community and there are 65 languages that we know of spoken here. There is a huge area of the parish in extreme difficulty and poverty and our outreach work is very important.”