News Archive: November 2015

Speak Out: 10,000 Voices for Change Posted on 10 Nov 2015  |  Website

Take your time and think long and hard. Imagine what sort of society you want to be a member of in twenty years from now. What sort of country do we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in? That was the challenge put to Hamilton Presbyters, when they met on 3rd November 2015, by Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, Secretary, Church and Society Council of The Church of Scotland.

Throughout the Bible we read of God’s passion for justice and his special love for the poor. It is in response to this teaching that the Church and faith communities have always been at the forefront of social change based on justice and care for the vulnerable; the least in society. From the abolition of slavery, the Black Civil Rights Movement, the ending of apartheid in South Africa and the struggle to overcome communism in Eastern Europe the Church has played a critical role. The Church of Scotland has helped to deliver education for all, provided the foundations of healthcare and through local churches and church-based organisations continues to provide emergency food, shelter, counselling and care in thousands of ways.

But, despite all the progress made in past and present generations, we are more aware than ever that society is not equal for all, that there remain many who are disadvantaged, who face significant struggles in life. There are rising levels of food poverty, growing inequality, mass migration, global warming and religious extremism.

The referendum in September 2014 has created an appetite for change in Scotland. Not about whether we remain as part of the United Kingdom or become an independent nation, but about what sort of country we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. There is a momentum for change and the Church of Scotland wants to be at the forefront of that change. Now is the time to think big and long-term. The Church of Scotland is taking a long-term approach to tackling inequality and injustice. Over the next ten years, it will seek to bring about change in some of the most critical issues facing our nation and planet. It wants the people of Scotland to help to set these priorities.

This autumn the Church and Society Council is asking people in local churches and in every part of Scottish society - politicians, voluntary organisations, people from every walk of life, including those who are the most disadvantaged and excluded in Scottish society - to help develop new ideas and priorities to work on in the future.

The Church wants to hear from 10,000 people about what will make the biggest difference. We are saying:

It is 2035. Scotland is a fairer, more equal and more just society in a fairer, more equal and more just world. Take your time and imagine what this would look and feel like.

The Church and Society Council will gather everyone’s suggestions and identify no more than six key areas for action. It will then commit itself to work every day to bring these changes about - locally, nationally and internationally - in every part of Scotland, for at least the next ten years.

If you haven’t already responded to the invitation to speak out please take the time and make your voice heard: Why not contact Fiona Buchan the Speak Out Coordinator and ask for someone to come along to a service or a meeting in your church so that more people can hear about this important consultation and make their voices heard about the future of Scotland.

Presbytery expresses concern over steel works closure threats Posted on 10 Nov 2015

Hamilton Presbytery expressed great concern at its November meeting about the threatened closure of the steel works at Dalzell and Clydebridge with the resulting loss of 270 jobs.

After discussion, Presbytery agreed to support North Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish and U.K. Government Task Force in their efforts to address the impact of any closure.

Presbytery Clerk the Rev. Dr Gordon McCracken has contacted the various Government agencies involved to express Presbytery’s concerns about the impact of closures will have on individual workers, their families and the people of Motherwell.

Rev Maxine Buck, Convener of Presbytery Church and Society Committee, said: “The people of North Lanarkshire have faced this situation in the past when Ravenscraig closed in 1992.

“We know the challenges associated with the loss of jobs on this scale and the way in which coming together as a community, with local Churches involved, can offer help to those affected.”

New Connections Celebration Posted on 08 Nov 2015  |  Full Presbytery

On Monday evening 14th September, representatives from Wishaw Craigneuk and Belhaven, St. Columba’s Airdrie and Townhead, Coatbridge gathered in Townhead Parish for an evening of reflection, stories and music in celebration of the new connections made in each of these communities over the past year.

Helen Pope, New Connections Worker invited many of the participants to speak about their experience of “New Connections”. Everyone spoke warmly of the new friendships that had been made within the Sing for Fun Group in Craigneuk, the Parent and Toddler Groups in both Townhead and Thrashbush and also the Townhead Craft Group. One woman indicated that she’d learned more about her community in the last year than in the previous 25 years!

Rev Ecilo Selemani couldn’t believe the transformation that New Connections had brought to the church community in Townhead. He said, “When I went into the church hall to the annual Fayre last Saturday I thought ‘WOW!’ Because for the first time the community were a very significant and generous part of the whole event.”

We were pleased too that Hamilton Presbytery was well represented by Rev. Sarah Ross, Convenor of Mission Education and Discipleship Committee and our new Presbytery Clerk Rev. Dr. Gordon McCracken.

The whole evening was marked by a spirit of goodwill, warmth and friendliness reflecting well the values of the New Connections Project!

The Church of Scotland Presbytery of Hamilton is a charity registered in Scotland No: SC048680.