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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 31 October 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Annual Target 2015), Promoting Active Travel, Decision Time, VAT Charges (Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Eileen Ross, minister of Linwood parish church in Linwood in Renfrewshire.

Thank you, Presiding Officer, for the invitation to come here today.

When you come through the door at Linwood parish church, the first thing that you see is a welcome mat, which reads:

“Welcome to Linwood Parish Church”.

Our church is a small congregation of mainly older people, but more than 80 people gather every Sunday. A small weekly prayer group prays for wide-ranging issues, by request from all over the world, and for particular needs. A weekly cafe and a monthly table-top sale offer a place to meet and to make friends while providing a service to the community. Church activities and the involvement of individual members support local, national and international efforts to help families, young people, adults and older adults. I could of course tell you much more, and it is inevitable that much more could always be done.

Linwood church, like many others, continues to face challenges. In recent years, the town of Linwood has seen regeneration of schools, housing, sports facilities and shopping facilities. Many people, including people of faith, have formed community groups, and countless volunteer hours are given to see good things happen for Linwood and its people. What motivates them? Unexpectedly, while I was thinking about what to say today, I found some words of Alastair McIntosh, a Scottish writer, broadcaster and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues. He said that spirituality is “the bedrock of community” and that

“Behind many community activists is a strong if silent spirituality.”

Do you recognise that in your constituency or where you live or work? Do you think that spirituality makes a difference, and if so, how?

Belief in and a desire for the regeneration of our Christian spirituality led Linwood parish church in 2015 to join the Church of Scotland’s path of renewal pilot scheme, which aims to help churches reflect and consider new approaches to church life. For me, the emerging pattern resonates strongly with Raymond Fung’s short book “The Isaiah Vision”. In the prophet’s vision of community restored, young and old find fulfilment and live out their days in fullness of life. People do not labour in vain but enjoy the fruits of their labour. It is a vision that encompasses babies, children and young people, people of working age and older people—a vision that surely we can all share. Living together in common humanity—a vision that is underpinned by a “strong if silent spirituality”. I wonder whether you see spirituality as the bedrock of the communities in your constituency or where you live or work. I wonder whether you think that it makes a difference and, if so, how.