THE CHURCH is seeking 10,000 voices to help us shape what our future priorities should be, writes Rev Sally Foster-Fulton
Something is happening in Scotland in 2015: an exciting and tangible energy for talking about what sort of society we want to live in, and a deep sense of dissatisfaction at the systems, structures and ideologies that continue to drive people deeper into poverty, exclusion and despair. And at the same time, we are witnessing a fresh burst of determination and confidence that we can create a more just, equal and fair society.
Through its Church and Society Council, the Church of Scotland is taking a long-term approach to tackling inequality and injustice. Over the next ten years, it aims to change some of the most critical issues facing our nation and planet. Throughout the Bible we read of God’s passion for justice and love for those struggling with oppression and poverty. We want change in our country and in our world – to make it a bit more like God intends.
We want to hear from local churches, politicians, voluntary organisations and wider society about what will make the biggest difference. This will result in a list of key aims which the Church will encourage political parties to embrace before the Scottish Parliament election in May. We will then commit ourselves to work to bring these changes about.
A PAST TIME
The Church of Scotland has played a huge part in Scotland’s past. We helped to deliver education for all. We have provided the foundations for healthcare. Through local churches and church-based organisations we still provide emergency food, shelter, counselling and care every day. The Church played a critical role in the movement which led to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. In the 21st century, Christians along with many others, are playing a critical role in tackling climate change.
A RIGHT TIME
Now is the time to think big – and long-term. We are doing this not just because it feels right but because it is right. With rising levels of food poverty, growing inequality, mass migration, global warming and religious extremism we need to act. The Church of Scotland is already deeply engaged in showing that God’s love is in the here and now.
We’re working to challenge food poverty in Scotland, through leading the Food Poverty Working Group, set up to look at ways of reducing reliance on food banks. We’re campaigning on climate change, attending the COP21 in Paris to work for those around the world most affected by global warming. With our partners in Eco-Congregation Scotland, we are also working to lower our carbon footprint. Our ministers and members are working in communities, hospitals, prisons and schools across Scotland, supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised.
A TIME TO IMAGINE
We are asking 10,000 people in local churches and in every part of Scottish society to imagine a different future. We are committed to hearing from everyone and particularly want to hear from those whose experiences are often ignored and who currently suffer most.
Imagine. It is the year 2035. We live in a fairer, more equal and more just Scotland in a fairer, more equal, more just world. Now pause and think: What is the one thing that if we started working on today that would help to make that real.
What is the one thing that you think needs to happen so that our dreams become reality? Your voice will not only help to shape the priorities of the Church for the next decade, but will also help build a society in which liberation, hope and generosity can flourish. Take part at: www.churchofscotland.org.uk/speak_out/10000_voi