FYT in Scotland - a brief history

What people say...

   ...about their involvement with FYT
Some of what is here is written at the time, other things are written looking backwards from now. Some things have been written by the the contributors specifically for this page, others have been taken from elsewhere.

Jim Cowie

In 1972 or so I was living in Aberdeen and was a member of Gilcomston South Church. Gilcomston printed a monthly outreach magazine which we produced. I had put in an invitation to those who were against apartheid in South Africa to protest at a rugby match in Aberdeen. The Church refused to print it and a poster was put outside the Church “Jesus was not a revolutionary, he was a new creation”. Jim Punton was in Aberdeen at the time ...he saw the poster...
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Jim Cowie was the first Scottish Development Officer for FYT, based at St. Ninian's, Crieff.

Doug Gay

"A surprising number of alt.worship founders had been influenced by the work of Frontier Youth Trust and Jim Punton's advocacy of liberation concerns in the UK context."

from p. xiv of "Alternative Worship" 2003 SPCK
Doug Gay is a lecturer in theology at Glasgow University.


Bob Johnston

My involvement with FYT came through my involvement in Scripture Union.

I was involved with SU from the age of twelve through attending the SU group at school in the early 1950s. And by attending SU Camps from 1953.

Then SU Fellowship and SU Rallies. As I got older I started to take leadership positions in the camps and in the school SU group. Through the camps in particular I met many people...
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Tom Britton

[FYT Networker 1995, from an article in FYT Scottish News]

I feel in a deep sense I have come truly home working for FYT. The expression of faith and the commitment to young folk in difficult situations is one that I passionately share. It is a true honour to be working for an organisation that counted folk like Jim Punton and Graham Aitken as members.
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Phil White

My first contact with the FYT ‘crowd’ was probably early on in 1981 or 1982.

I was living in Dundee and involved in a range of youth work including The Other Door cafe at the Steeple Church and associated youth groups.

Ricky Ross was the youth leader at the time and he took a few of us to an FYT event...
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Jan Dawson

Q. Did you know much about FYT before coming into the job?
A."No"
Q. Any comments on FYT now?
A. "I like its aims and what it stands for. I just wish it could be a bit more widespread."
[Jan was employed in the mid 1980s through the Community Programme. Interviewed at the time.]


Jean Findlater

Q Do you remember when you first heard of FYT?
A I certainly do...
Autumn 1967... I had been out for an enjoyable evening with friends when one of them, who worked in SU at that time, said ”Oh I have something for you, it would seem that there are other people out there in the world who are as mad as you are!!” This ‘something’ was an introduction to a new member of SU England staff – Michael Eastman...

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David de Croy

WOW! Now this is a trip down memory 6 lane highway! ...I remember hot summers on Arran; ... kids desperate for attention, and getting it; ...I remember names and faces and conversations and friendships that have lasted most of my life! I remember Jim Punton and the seeds of social justice being encouraged ... and I remember the feeling that "I was ok" in the middle of this...

[Comment received the day after the site went live]
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Keith White
[an FYT Director]

...I arrived in Edinburgh in 1969 ...Jim Punton and FYT affected me profoundly. When I eventually returned to London I immediately sought out the Mayflower Family Centre which pioneered so much Christian youth work and was a member of its committee for 18 years...

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David Buchan

Jim Punton - I remember attending a Greenbelt Workshop and feeling that here was someone who not only understood and spoke the language of Justice, of politics and sociology – new languages to me in my Social Sciences course from 1974– but especially communicated the intense relevance of the Bible to these subjects and the human condition. I felt empowered...

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David Geddes
[forner SU-Scotland staffworker]

FYT for me was Jim Punton and Bob Johnston. They lived and shared a concern for the poor and broken which I have not forgotten. ... My time involved with FYT was in fact about three years and was focussed on the Kingscross SU camps which Jim and Bob led. I learned about leadership, alternative ways of teaching Scripture and developing teams as cooperative ventures...

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John Bowditch

Camps . . . . reflections forty years on . . . .
Scripture Union camps and Kings Cross, Arran . . . . from 1969 until 1977 were probably the most significant influences in my life!! And camps weren’t just for 10 days in July or August . . . . they gradually shaped the whole of my year until the camp experience, of being able to relate faith and God to everyday life, became the norm. And camp, for me, was mainly about people . . . . . . individuals who under other circumstances I would never have met. Camps allowed me to enjoy their: warmth; friendship; humour; wit; intellect; humanity; and honesty to discuss and challenge what faith actually meant in real terms in our lives. ...

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Dave Close

...Linda Dunnett linked me up with FYT, instantly putting me in touch with a network of youth workers across the city who were invaluable in helping me find my way into my work. We ate cakes, shared resources, learned from each other’s experience and practice, worked together…
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Dave Close works for FYT as the Streetspace worker in Scotland



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At the time of FYT's 25th anniversary in 1989 endorsement of FYT's work were received from a number of sources. Here are some extracts from them:

John Harvey, Leader of the Iona Community
"Our concerns and the concerns of FYT are very close in the matter of young people. Over the 25 years that FYT has existed, your track record in offering widening opportunities and caring consistent Christian help to young people, especially from deprived areas, has been most impressive. We as a sister organisation are encouraged and challenged by what you do.
I am very happy to support the work of FYT, and wish you the greatest possible success in all your special efforts during this Silver Jubilee Year."

Peter Bisset, Warden - StNinian's Centre, Crieff
"I am certain that in a day when the church is discovering afresh that its mission must be pursued at the frontiers, FYT which has long held that vision has much to contribute to the church's understanding and engagement in that task."

Colin Sinclair, General Director Scripture Union - Scotland
I am happy to endorse the work of FYT and certainly offer my warm congratulations on your reaching your Silver Jubilee. I know that your work is by no means easy, and to have been faithful for so long in such situations is a challenge to those of us who perhaps have less hard frontiers to cross."

Ian Doyle, Secretary Ministry & Mission Dept. Church of Scotland
"As one who has admired greatly the pioneering and sacrificial work done by the Trust I would gladly bear witness to its effective ministry among young people whom the institutional church finds great difficulty in reaching."