Barlanark, Glasgow

Planter(s): Pete Stewart and Pete Bell
Progress/Category: Planning stage
Address: Barlanark Church Plant
c/o 20schemes
PO Box 20840
Edinburgh South East
EH16 4RY

Pete Stewart and Pete Bell

The Vision

‘Making Jesus known in Barlanark and beyond… by proclaiming the gospel, by making disciples, by living in community.’

The Planters

Pete Stewart is originally from Newtownards in N. Ireland but has lived in Scotland for the last 20 years. He is married to Lindsey and they have two young boys Joshua and Micah. Pete has been working in Barlanark since January 2009 when he started as a youth worker for the Church of Scotland in the scheme. Lindsey has recently left her teaching career to devote her time to caring for their family and engaging in the mission in Barlanark. Pete and Lindsey have lived in the scheme since August 2015.

Pete Bell is from Clarkston in the Southside of Glasgow. He is married to Cara and they have three young boys, Callan and the twins Lewis and Joel. Pete and Cara both studied at International Christian College in Glasgow and after this Pete came to join Pete S working for the Church of Scotland in Barlanark. Cara also devotes her time to caring for the family and engaging in the mission. They moved in to the scheme in November 2015.

Both the Stewarts and The Bells are currently members of Harper Church in Glasgow as they work towards planting an autonomous church in Barlanark.

The Community

Barlanark is a scheme of roughly 3800 people in the East End of Glasgow. Its people are full of pride, banter and community spirit. There are many great things about Barlanark. The local non-denominational primary is ranked as one of the best schools in Scotland. There is a history of strong community work from the Church of Scotland, Housing Associations and Public Sector bodies. It’s home to many residents who have spent their whole lives here and have no intention of leaving.

Yet the Scottish Government also ranks it as one of the ‘Most Deprived’ areas of Scotland in the SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation). This report found that Barlanark has;

  • 31% of people classed as ‘income deprived’ which is double the national average.
  • 29% of people classed as ‘employment deprived’ which is triple the national average.
  • 15% of people on prescribed medication for mental health which is double the national average.

These stats at least show that, like most areas, behind the scenes there are people who are struggling. People who need to know hope.

We believe that true hope comes from believing the gospel and being transformed by Jesus, therefore the biggest need of the people of Barlanark is to hear the good news that Jesus saves.

The Mission

We believe true and lasting hope only comes as people come to know Jesus through the gospel. Therefore we will be a church that is ‘Making Jesus known in Barlanark and beyond’.

We will do this by:

  • ‘Proclaiming the gospel’ as it is the gospel alone that brings hope.
  • ‘Making disciples’ as we want people to radically commit their lives to know and make known Jesus.
  • ‘Living in community’ as this will only happen as we live as a distinct Christian community engaged in the wider community of Barlanark.

We are in the process of gathering as a team of people committed to this vision and setting down deep routes in the community. We currently have 11 adults and 6 kids who meet weekly as a team on Monday nights in the Stewarts house to work and pray towards ‘launching’ as a church. We are busy making connections in the scheme and have had the opportunity to meet a number of people to read Mez’s ‘GOD: Is he out there?’ book with over the past few months. We are based in a local community centre which gives us many opportunities to get involved in the wider community and be constantly surrounded by non-Christians.


The Next Steps

We will continue to build and train our team whilst reaching out to the scheme with the gospel and work towards ‘covenanting together’ as an autonomous church sometime in late 2017.

Community Profile

Barlanark Scotland
Total Population (2011) 3783 5,254,800
% children (2011) 22.04% 17.38%
% working age (2011) 63.73% 62.79%
% pensionable age (2011) 14.22% 19.83%
% income deprived (2005, Barl 2012) 31% 14%
% 16-24 year olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (2012 Q4) 10.21% 5.70%
% 25-49 year olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (2012 Q4) 7.63% 4.20%
% 50-64 year olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (2012 Q4) 6.03% 2.10%
% working age who are employment deprived (2008/ Barl 2012) 29% 12%
% 16-24 year olds claiming Key Benefits (2012 Q4) 29.44% 12.70%
% 25-49 year olds claiming Key Benefits (2012 Q4) 31.46% 15.40%
% 50-64 year olds claiming Key Benefits (2012 Q4) 45.81% 19%
Est. % prescribed drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis (2004 / Barl 2007) 15.06% 8%
Number of SIMD crimes per 10000 (2007/08) 687
% people within 0-500 metres of any Derelict site (2012) 52.03% 30.90%

The scheme has two primary schools (one Roman Catholic and one Non-denominational), a special needs school, 2 pre-school nurseries, 2 housing associations, a housing association run community centre and a council run community centre. There are a number of local shops, a dentist, an off licence, bookmakers and a number of takeaway restaurants. On top of this there is a Roman Catholic Chapel and a traditional Church of Scotland with a busy youth project. There isn’t, however, an evangelical church committed to sharing the gospel and living out authentic lives as disciples in the scheme.

The majority of people in the scheme are white British but there are an increasing number of ethnic minorities moving in. Many in the scheme would identify as Christian (with a mix of either protestant of catholic) but not many would identify as ‘evangelical’.

Promo Video

Current needs

  1. Prayer partners: Will you commit to regularly praying for this work in Barlanark and to being an encouragement to the workers there?
  2. Financial support: Would you consider supporting the workers financially?
  3. Visit: Will you consider moving into the area and being part of this new exciting work?

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