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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2019

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, European Union Withdrawal Negotiations, Point of Order, Decision Time, Mesh Implant Removal


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Lynne Paterson, director of Tearfund Scotland.

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thanks for the opportunity to address you briefly this afternoon.

As a Christian international development organisation, Tearfund sits in an interesting place between the world of international development and the world of the church. As a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee and a recipient of significant sums of Government funding, including almost £8 million from the Scottish Government, we adhere to strict codes of conduct and aim for the highest standards of accountability as we deliver aid to people of all faiths and none.

As followers of Jesus, we who work for Tearfund have a shared belief, along with the majority of the world, that people have emotional and spiritual needs as well as material ones, and that transformation involves the whole person. That is why we understand the root of poverty to be about broken relationships between ourselves and God, with each other, with our own selves and with the planet that God has given us.

We design our programmes with that in mind, seeking to bestow dignity as people understand and fulfil their God-given potential; to help communities to work together to identify and address their needs; to empower them to advocate with local governments; and to train them on how to protect the environment.

Wherever possible, we do that in partnership with local churches. That makes good development sense, because the church is right at the heart of many of the poor communities in which Tearfund works. Filled with a host of willing volunteers who are motivated by their faith in Jesus, local Christians are not just keen to help the poor; they are the poor. We work with our partners, which are often large church denominations, to help people in their own churches to understand their biblical mandate to love their neighbour in practical ways, and we equip them to deliver a whole range of development initiatives, from livelihood training and better farming techniques to prevention of HIV and gender-based violence.

As Christians, we in Tearfund, with our thousands of supporters in Scotland and our global partners around the world, believe in the power of prayer. Development interventions will take us so far, but we believe that lasting transformation and peace in our world will require the intervention of our powerful and loving God. Our prayer is that, through our work in partnership with local churches, the needs of the whole person can be met—body, soul and spirit—and the broken relationships that we see at the heart of poverty can be healed.