Election 2021

The Scottish Parliament is in recess ahead of the election on 6 May.

Because of Covid-19, there are some changes to how the Parliament prepares for the election.

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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 15 December 2020 [Draft]

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Points of Order, Drug-related Deaths, Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time, No-take Zones


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon, colleagues. We begin business today with time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Alan Bellshaw, who is the community mission facilitator for the Salvation Army in Fauldhouse. Good afternoon, Mr Bellshaw.

Alan Bellshaw (Community Mission Facilitator, Salvation Army, Fauldhouse)

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

When I was a boy in my hometown of Rothesay, we often spent time down at the harbour watching the boats come and go—especially the fishing boats, either as they were preparing to go out to sea or when they brought in their catch.

When there was a low tide or the tide was right out in the inner harbour, we used to watch as the fishermen cleaned the exteriors of their boats, and we wondered what they were doing. Then we noticed the barnacles that they were removing.

You may not have spent any time looking at or thinking about barnacles, but they are interesting creatures. A type of crustacean, they survive by attaching themselves to any solid surface, whether that be a rock, a wall, a fishing boat or a liner. They are almost immovable.

However, barnacles have a dark side. Removing them from the hulls of ships has a cost. As they accumulate on a ship’s hull, the ship will travel more slowly in the water, burning potentially 40 to 45 per cent more fuel as a result. A cost has to be paid because of these creatures. For the fisherman, the barnacles contribute little but cost them a lot by causing unnecessary drag.

Christians believe that, rather than dragging others back, we are to be encouragers. In scripture, we read of a man named Joseph. So remarkable was his lifestyle that the disciples renamed him Barnabas, which means ?“son of encouragement”. Encouragers are givers. They build people up. They urge people to better and higher things. They express faith in people—they believe the best, see the best and draw out the best. That is who Barnabas was. He simply enjoyed the hidden reward that belongs to those who have built up the lives of others.

I do not believe that God is looking for barnacles—those who drag other people down. Rather, he is looking for Barnabases—those who can be called sons or daughters of encouragement?, who will be contributors to society and will build people up.

In this season of goodwill to all and, with all that we are facing in our country, never has it been more important to be a people who choose joy. The challenge for us all is this: will we be barnacles that drag people down, or Barnabases who build people up?