Having sensed an invitation by God to reach out to those on the margins of society, Simon and Moira Baxter moved to join a new InnerCHANGE team in Possilpark, Glasgow, one of the poorest communities in the UK with the hope of seeing transformation in people’s lives as Christ is made known.
Simon’s focus is on children’s work and befriending men while Moira is working with women and families. They have a long-term commitment to the area, and a desire and intention of deepening relationships with their neighbours and giving people opportunities to explore faith in Christ.
Possilpark is in the North of Glasgow. It is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Scotland, with a history of high unemployment, child poverty, malnutrition, drugs, alcoholism and organised crime. Like many other areas of Glasgow, Possilpark has a strong and long history of being a hub of creativity and industry for over a century, but with the collapse of industry in the 1970’s onwards, mass unemployment ensued and it became known as the heroin capital of Scotland, destroying the lives of many people.
Often the poorest places in Scotland are also the most unreached, as many Christian initiatives tend to be focused in affluent areas. So with an InnerCHANGE team and through various partnerships and collaborations we are ministering in Possilpark. We seek to further develop fresh expressions of church which is both relevant to our community and seeks the transformation of the whole person and their environment. Our desire and prayer is for our neighbours to find physical and emotional healing as well as having an opportunity to respond to Christ’s call to follow him. With others we want to explore how to improve the fabric of our neighbourhood, through encouraging green spaces which reflect God’s beauty and goodness.
The Journey to Glasgow
Simon grew up in Northampton and has fond memories of being part of the fellowship at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church for many years. After his time at university in Birmingham he returned to Northampton in 2005 to work for an IT department and enjoyed helping out with the kids work and house groups at MP. It was during this period that he sensed a call to go to Bible College. He therefore moved to Glasgow in 2007 to study Theology at International Christian College where he met his wife Moira.
Moira grew up in Aberdeen where she attended St Columba’s Church of Scotland until she went to university in Glasgow. It was during her time at St Columba’s that she sensed a call to ministry and after spending a year with ‘Serving In Mission’ (SIM) serving in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya she returned to Glasgow with a heart to serve poorer communities. Interestingly Simon had also served with SIM in India in an orphanage, so before meeting in Glasgow they had both considered serving abroad longer term in a poorer context. But as they began to journey together they sensed God directing them to stay in Glasgow.
After graduating from ICC and getting married Simon and Moira eventually joined InnerCHANGE, a Christian organisation that seeks to live out the good news of Jesus among the poor, both with words and deeds. They were part of the first InnerCHANGE Glasgow team that was launched in September 2013 by six people who relocated to the inner suburb of Possilpark, Glasgow. The team church plant, Clay Community Church, had already emerged over the previous 5 years through Urban Expression (formed out of a partnership between Spurgeons College and the Oasis Trust). The new InnerCHANGE team is committed to working alongside and helping to grow Clay Church, in one of Scotland’s most marginalised communities.
In the coming years we hope to see:
- People encountering Jesus and beginning a journey with Him;
- Physical and emotional healing in people's lives;
- Those struggling with addictions finding freedom;
- Churches and organisations uniting to serve those in our neighbourhood;
- Children and young people empowered to live life to the fullest;
- People coming to realise that they are valuable in God's sight.
We are inviting people to partner with us in prayer and finances as we follow God’s call to reflect His love and compassion to those on the margins of society.
InnerCHANGE workers are not salaried but instead raise their own support and we use the Christian charity ‘Stewardship’ to administrate this. If you would like to partner with us in this way, you can do so either through regular monthly giving or a one-off donation by going to www.give.net/20150378