We were sorry to learn of the sudden passing of Andy Bathgate, the Chair of Trustees of Edinburgh City Mission, who died peacefully at home this week.
Andy was a treasured husband and father, and a valued friend to many. Everyone who met him instantly liked him, and they wanted to get to know him better. Whenever I mentioned his involvement with Edinburgh City Mission to anyone who knew him, their face lit up and warm words would always flow! Although I knew him well, I feel as though I only got a glimpse of all that he was.
I first met Andy when I was a student at Heriot-Watt University and got involved in the Christian Union there. Andy was the Scottish team leader of UCCF (the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) at the time and had taken Heriot-Watt University Christian Union under his wing, as there was no Edinburgh Staff Worker that year. During my studies we got to know each other. After I graduated, I assisted him at a student mission week in Glasgow where he was the speaker at some of the outreach events. I also joined him at an annual conference for students in Tóalmás, Hungary, where he was the speaker. Later in my 20s, I joined UCCF as a staff worker and so Andy became my boss for a couple of years. We stayed friends after he left UCCF and joined SU Scotland. I have many significant memories of him; I was always struck by his passion for life and faith. He was continually learning from the bible, from others, from books and, more recently, from podcasts.
Andy’s journey with Edinburgh City Mission started in the best possible place: prayer. He began volunteering with us after his retirement from SU Scotland in 2020, taking on the role of coordinating our monthly City Vision prayer meetings. Andy whole-heartedly embraced the vision of these “pop-up” prayer meetings to pray for the mission of the local host church, the work of Edinburgh City Mission’s outreach team of Mission Strengtheners, and for the wider church in Edinburgh, meeting as local churches with our own distinct feel shaped by our theology, culture and traditions. Andy continually emphasised that, although there are different fellowships in Edinburgh, there is only one church, “the beautiful bride of Christ.” He longed for more churches to host City Vision and for more people to join the meetings from other churches, to stand together and pray for each other.
Later in 2020 he approached us about volunteering in a Foodbank+ in our network. He was happy to get stuck into any of them and, eventually, in the midst of the complications of Covid, he joined the team at Granton Foodbank+. He very quickly became established in the team and got to know many of the guests – not just providing food but also sharing his warm smile and listening ear. Andy always sought to understand people. He was an exceptionally gifted listener and could strike up a significant conversation with anyone. He was passionate about sharing his faith in Jesus, caringly bringing the good news about the kingdom of God into the conversation, whenever it was helpful.
In 2021 Andy was appointed as a Trustee of Edinburgh City Mission, bringing his love for our work, depth of character, wealth of experience and faith-filled insight to our board meetings. In August this year he took over as Chair of Trustees and so I was looking forward to working with him in that role. As I write this, I was meant to be meeting with him this morning but sadly that wasn’t to be.
Everyone in Edinburgh City Mission – our Trustees, the team and all our volunteers who worked with him – had the deepest love and respect for Andy. We will miss his smile, his humour, his love, his humility and so much more that he was and that he brought into our lives. I’m sure Andy would have been uncomfortable with this tribute being focussed on him, but he would have been very pleased to know that he inspired us to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus, who we trust he is with now.
Please pray for his wife, Alyson, two daughters, Fiona and Karyn, and his grandchildren. We are grateful for the extraordinary example that he has left of what being a faithful disciple of Jesus looks like. It was a privilege to know him. He will be greatly missed.
Published 18th October 2023.
Alyson and Andy Bathgate with Duncan Cuthill in Tóalmás, Hungary for an IFES student conference in 1992
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