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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2020

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Improving the Lives of Gypsy Travellers, Business Motion, Decision Time, Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, Correction


Contents


Time for Reflection

We start today’s business with time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Pastor Geoff Findlay, Lifegate Church, Dundee and Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland.

Pastor Geoff Findlay (Lifegate Church Dundee and Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland): Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for inviting me to share with you today. My theme is, in fact, a time for reflection. As we move into this new year, it is good to have a vision and—you have probably heard this a few times, and I say it with tongue in cheek—a 2020 vision.

The Bible says that, without vision, people perish, so we need to have a plan and look forward. However, I always think that, in order to look forward and plan, it is good to look back and learn from the past and past experiences. When I was a community education worker and doing my degree in community education, we were taught to be reflective practitioners. We would plan an event and, after it, reflect back on our practice. We would look at whether there were lessons that we needed to learn. Could we have done things differently? What worked well and what did not? Could we make changes? How did we feel about it?

Reflecting back on my life, I reflect on the decisions that I have made and the actions that I have taken, and I ask what kind of impact they have had not only on my life but on the lives of those around me. Two major decisions impacted my life and had a knock-on effect on those around me. On the day that I asked Jesus to reveal Himself to me, I asked whether He was real. “Then show me,” I said—and He did. It totally changed my life. He entered into my heart and I have never been the same since.

Serving Him faithfully for 30 years, I have worked in Africa with orphans and I have cared for the homeless and those struggling with substance misuse, those in prison and those who are hungry and lonely. Jesus is quoted in Isaiah as saying:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me ... to bring good news to the poor ... to comfort the brokenhearted and ... captives”,

who shall know freedom.

Because Christ has been in my life, that has been my life’s work, with my wife and family. Asking my wife to marry me was the other greatest decision I have ever made—and so she keeps reminding me. Over 30 years of marriage, my wife has been a great source of inspiration for me and for others. She has served Dundee faithfully for over 30 years, overcoming her own battles with cancer, not missing a step and loving and serving the people of Dundee.

As a workplace chaplain and a pastor in the city of Dundee, I get the opportunity to bring hope, love and peace to the people I have grown up with. My hope is that, as we go forward into our 2020 vision, we will take time to look back and see what kind of experiences we have had. Thank you.