Real Heroes – David Nasmith and the Glasgow City Mission
How did this amazing work begin?
David Nasmith grew up in Glasgow and at the age of 15, he was one of the founders of ‘Youths’ Societies.’ The aim of the society was to support the Bible Society, Foreign Missions, and Tract distribution. However Nasmith’s heart was in mission work and not just the raising of funds. Over a number of years Nasmith applied to missions working in both Africa and the South Seas but he was refused on the grounds that he was not educated enough – it soon became obvious to him that God had other plans. He decided to turn his focus on his home of Glasgow where he worked increasingly with the poor and prisoners of the city.
In 1826, Nasmith set up the Glasgow City Mission.Glasgow City Mission realised that to share the Christian message you had to help the whole person. His vision was to offer Christian care to any in need whether this would mean meeting the people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The mission was also concerned with the education of the people they were caring for. Glasgow City Mission responded to high illiteracy rates by being one of the first charities in the world to provide evening literacy classes for adults. They also provided ground-breaking evening ‘Chimney Sweep Schools for children’ who had to work at the cost of their education.
Nasmith went on to start City Missions throughout the UK, and from this model, the City Mission movement spread around the world.
As living standards in Glasgow continued to improve, the City Mission has been careful to meet the changing needs of the city and now focuses its work on supporting people that are on the very fringes of society.