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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 24 April 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Negotiations on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, National Plan for Gaelic, Point of Order, Decision Time, Show Some Heart (Jayden Orr Campaign)


Contents


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leaders are Majors Lynn and Raelton Gibbs, who are divisional leaders of the Salvation Army’s west Scotland division.

Major Raelton Gibbs (Salvation Army)

Thank you for the opportunity to address members, which we consider to be a privilege. For 13 years, Lynn and I have been in the best club in the world. You may ask: which one? It is the grandparents’ club, and we have recently welcomed our third grandchild into the world. How special and important are positive family relationships?

Reading to our children and grandchildren has always been a joy, and one of their favourite stories from the Old Testament is the story of Noah. Initially, they had the excitement of the animals coming in two by two, but then there was the beginning of understanding of how, in obedience, Noah built the ark, which to everybody else around was an act of madness. Only when the rain came did everybody think that Noah might not have been so crazy, but it came too late for them.

We were in danger of having similar thoughts to that crowd of people when we learned that the Salvation Army in west Scotland was building a boat in the middle of inner-city Easterhouse in Glasgow. On the face of it, that seemed to be a similar act of madness; why on earth did they want to do it?

Major Lynn Gibbs (Salvation Army)

The rains came—we saw quite a lot in Glasgow, although though not to the same extent as Noah—and we witnessed that the building of the boat in a garage brought together a group of people who had been struggling to cope and to come together. It gave them hope and a reason for change, which resulted in their developing a community and supporting one another. They have formed a walking club and a fishing club, and they have formed positive relationships—one couple is now engaged to be married—and achieved things that they thought would never be possible. One gentleman started to sing in a choir and was thrilled to have the joy of singing here at the Parliament in a homelessness choir.

We got involved and listened to some of the people there, and it was no surprise to learn that the project had little, if anything, to do with a boat. It had more to do with honesty, acceptance, love, care and understanding. Those elements all make communities and the special, important relationships that we all need. Whatever perspective we come from, whether political, scientific or spiritual, we all work together to help people who feel hopeless—

Major Raelton Gibbs

—to give friendship to people who are lonely—

Major Lynn Gibbs

—and to give joy to people who are sad.

Major Raelton Gibbs

We can make a difference as individuals, but a greater impact will happen if we work together.

Major Lynn Gibbs

As the Bible tells us:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Major Raelton Gibbs

Thank you.