Last supper for Glasgow City Mission men

Iain with Arthur alongside John and Ewan at last supper unveiling

Thirteen men who regularly attend Glasgow City Mission's evening drop-in service have been painted as part of a modern take on the iconic Last Supper painting.

The painting by Iain Campbell, pictured far left has been unveiled inside the Wild Olive Tree Cafe in St George's Tron Church on Buchanan Street.

Arthur, second from left, is featured. He said at the media launch: "I knew he had been doing it because one or two of the lads had seen bits of it getting done, but I'm amazed at the size of it. It's absolutely stunning, incredible. It's highlighting the City Mission – the work it does and the relationships that the guys who use it build up. The new Last Supper, I like that."

John, photographed second from the right, is also depicted in the painting and said: "I've been involved with the Mission for about seven or eight years. I had a lot of problems in my life at the time and one night I went down to the Mission and got to meet some friends.It's not just a food bank, we've got our own clubs and outings and most of the volunteers that work in it have come from similar backgrounds, so you always know you're not on your own when you're struggling to cope.

"The painting shows a normal night in the Mission and hopefully it shows to folk living on the streets or on tough times that there is always a place and it's open to everyone. I could see myself in it straight away because there's so much detail in it."

John was an atheist before he encountered Christians through groups such as Street Connect, Glasgow City Mission and the Church of Scotland. After a rough childhood, he often felt depressed and suicidal. He also had a store of anger and a temper that got him into trouble when he'd had a drink.

So when his Christian friends suggested prayer, he decided to give it a try.

In an interview with the Church of Scotland, he commented: "I said yes just to keep them happy, but then I started seeing changes. I started getting word back from employers. I got my kids back. I was always the one that got myself in bother, but now I've been in situations and I've chosen to walk away. I've been trouble free for four years now.

"After prayers you feel different. You feel as if something has left you and you are a new person.

"I was a strong atheist. I really was. But over the last couple of years I've seen a real difference. You see a big difference when you accept Christ in your life."

Iain Campbell, artist-in-residence at St George's Tron said: "There's a sense that there is some real raw stories behind the faces in the painting. We decided to call the painting Our Last Supper. It was based on something one of the guys had said to me. He said: 'I suppose for any one of us this might be our last supper."

Graham Steven, Marketing & Fundraising Manager at Glasgow City Mission said: "A lot of the people that come to us feel vulnerable and isolated from society and to have their faces captured permanently in this painting is fantastic. It's a fabulous painting and really captures the characters that we see day in and day out at Glasgow City Mission.

"The original Last Supper of course features Jesus and a lot of his ministry was working with the poor and those on the margins of society, so in that sense it's a great link and captures modern day society where we still have lots of people on the margins of our cities."

Reverend Alastair Duncan, minister of the St George's Tron, says: "One of the questions Iain was often asked was 'Who is Jesus in the painting?'. He would quote the parable of the sheep and the goats which Jesus told in Matthew's gospel in the context of which he said 'whatever you do for the least of these you do for me'."

Alastair added: "The people who Glasgow City Mission supports may be in hostel accommodation, may have their own place or may be [street] homeless but they are people who in some ways have been vulnerable or are finding a way out of that. They just need that consistency of care and support for them whatever stage they are in."

Watch Iain, Arthur and John discussing the painting on today's BBC News.

The Wild Olive Tree cafe kindly donates a share of its profits with Glasgow City Mission which in run are used to provide our much needed services. In 2016, the cafe will create employment and training opportunities for clients of Glasgow City Mission.

Leave a comment


  • Myra Green:

    15 Dec 2015 11:47:51

    This painting is awesome captures the feeling of these people and the hope that they get from Glasgow City Mission in which the Lord is at the centre of everything – Love and Blessings to you all x

  • Jennifer Rodger:

    18 Dec 2015 17:51:19

    A truly inspiring story woven with so many strands of shared humanity. It warmed my heart to read it in these perennially troubled times. A reminder that there is always hope if we can only keep our lines of communication open with whatever it is that we believe is the source of that hope.

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