Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tributes for City Minister

TRIBUTES were paid today to a Glasgow minister who helped thousands of asylum seekers integrate into Scottish life.

The Reverend Gwynfai Jones, 68, who served at St Rollox Church in Sighthill, Glasgow, for 35 years, died in hospital three days after being hit by a taxi.

He was struck while crossing Argyle Street in Glasgow with his wife on his way to a prayer meeting in the city centre.

The grandfather-of-two was awarded an MBE for his work integrating refugees into the community.

Dozens of parishioners and members of the Sighthill community are expected to join his wife Elspeth, 67, daughters Catherine, 38, Helen, 28, and son-in-law John at his funeral tomorrow.

Mr Jones is to be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Cadder Cemetry in Bishopbriggs following a service at Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.

Today Mrs Jones, 67, who also received an MBE for her work with asylum seekers, said: "Gwynfai was a quiet unassuming man of principle.

"He died in tragic circumstances and it has been a terrible shock. But I have so many happy memories of him. He was an ordinary man who led an extraordinary life."

Together she and her husband single-handedly helped turn around the lives of thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Sighthill.

They organised clothes and bedding, toys for children and campaigned for an end to the controversial vouchers system.

House of Commons Speaker and Glasgow MP Michael Martin paid tribute to Mr Jones, saying he was "a remarkable and kind man whose Christianity went well beyond the walls of his church to those in need".

Suzanna Berisha, a Kosovan asylum seeker who moved to Sighthill six years ago, says she will never forget what Mr Jones did for her.

Mrs Berisha, 26, said: "He was a good person. He met us when we arrived and helped us get clothes and bedding."

Mr Jones was first ordained as a minister in 1964 and his first ministry was at Tow Law Church in County Durham where he served for three years before arriving in Sighthill.

(Above article appeared in the Evening Times)

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