Moderator visits Ineos plant amid period of reconciliation

Staff at Grangemouth petrochemical plant Ineos welcomed a visit this week of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland amid a period of reconciliation for workers at the refinery.

The Right Reverend Lorna Hood was invited to meet with staff as part of her visit to Falkirk Presbytery.

The giant refinery, which is the size of 64 football pitches, avoided closure at the end of last year after workers union Unite accepted a new plan for pay conditions. More than 800 job losses were avoided.

Kris Procek (37), a performance analyst at the plant who has worked there for 20 years, said: “It was very nice to have someone from outside the situation come and listen to how we are looking to the future.

“Much like the way the Church of Scotland works, here we are working as a collective where we share our views equally and openly.

“This is a period of rejuvenation and reconciliation for staff here and to have a visit from the Moderator helps with that process.

“This isn’t only about the present but is about creating a sustainable and positive environment for future generations.

Staff expressed to Mrs Hood a desire to have an Ineos plant chaplaincy created.

“People here are very confident about the future of the plant,” Mrs Hood said.

“It’s a period of healing where relationships are being rebuilt.

“The church has offered help and ministers in the presbytery are more than happy to be involved. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new relationship between the church and plant.”

Mrs Hood has spent the last week in the presbytery where she has met ministers, church congregations and a cross-section of the local community.

As well as taking part in public worship at Larbert Old Church last Sunday morning, she will attend services at Grangemouth Abbotsgrange Church this Sunday and in the evening in Bo’ness St Andrew’s Parish Church. You can watch a live stream online of Mrs Hood’s sermon at St Andrew’s here from 6.15 pm on Sunday.

Other destinations for the visit include Denny Primary and Larbert High Schools, Strathcarron Hospice, Forth Valley Royal, Falkirk Foodbank and Polmont Young Offenders Institution. She will also attend the Falkirk v Dundee football match tomorrow.

The moderator’s visit to a presbytery usually occurs only once every 10 years. A moderator will visit four presbyteries during their time in the position.

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