One of the privileges of being Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council is that people want to talk.
As my family, colleagues and congregation will testify, I like talking.
This week I have been able to meet with Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, minister for Science in the Scottish Government, and with Johann Lamont MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
After I took up this role in May I wrote them – and lots of other people – to introduce myself and the work of the Church. Alasdair and Johann asked to meet, to talk and reflect together as colleagues and people I’ll need to work with for the next four years.
So this week I was down in the Scottish Parliament twice, once on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. What a fantastic and inspiring place that is!
The Council's work is seen through the lens of the Gospel bias to vulnerable, marginalised and poorest people. So when I meet politicians and influence-shapers, this is the message I want to get across to them: the love of God is open to all, and to follow Christ is to show love to all. In terms of policy making and political process, this means equality, fairness, justice and help to those who need it most.
I realise that my role in speaking on behalf of the Church in the political world is a privilege – having half a million members behind me is both massively uplifting and incredibly daunting! But I am assured that serious politicians take the Church seriously – not because it is big, but because of what it does in terms of serving others, and for the values of love, generosity and graciousness that are at the heart of what we do.