Kirk youth project praised in Scottish Parliament

Ayr MSP John Scott has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament praising Ayr St Columba’s Church of Scotland for its work feeding disadvantaged children over the summer, which he calls “modern church work at its best.”

John Scott MSP
John Scott MSP with a copy of the motion he filed in the Scottish Parliament praising Ayr St Columba's for its work feeding disadvantaged children over the summer.

In addition to its track record of raising thousands for charity each year, St Columba’s is giving packed lunches to 153 children who receive free school meals during term time, five days a week for seven weeks.

Mr Scott said:

“I put this motion down to congratulate Malcolm McKay, Dylan Harper and of course the congregation at St Columba’s on this initiative they have developed this summer to help feed many of our children in poorer communities in and around Ayr.

"I welcome this initiative because it is modern-day church work at its best, and I congratulate Rev Fraser Aitken and his team for this achievement.”

“Without a doubt St Columba’s congregation are tremendously generous and they support many good and charitable causes including the summer lunch project.

“As churches endeavour to be relevant in our modern world, meeting the needs of some of the most needy in our community will always be absolutely relevant. So I hope and believe that the food project will be sustainable.”

Mr Scott also commended minister, Rev Fraser Aitken; church elder Malcolm McKay; and youth worker Dylan Harper for taking the lead on the lunch project.

“I have known Fraser Aitken for more than 35 years and have been attending St Columba’s for the last 15 years, since I moved into the area. I have only ever heard good things said about him.

“I’ve known Malcolm McKay since childhood and I have known Dylan Harper for a few years. Both of them are committed volunteers who have driven this initiative forward and deserve to be recognised.”

Mr Aitken is an inspirational figure in the Ayr community and one of the best Church of Scotland ministers in the country, Mr Scott added.

“He inspires his congregation weekly with a combination of profound thinking based on a strong belief and an electrifying sense of humour.

“Fraser delivers God with laughter, which may have something to do with why his church is packed every week.”

The full text of the motion, which will become part of the Parliament’s official record reads:

That the Parliament congratulates St Columba's Church of Scotland in Ayr on creating a new lunch programme to feed children from disadvantaged families over the summer holidays; commends Rev Fraser Aitken, Mr Malcolm Mckay, youth worker Dylan Harper and church volunteers for planning, funding and delivering the children's summer food programme; recognises the difficulties faced by some families during the summer when free school breakfasts and lunches are unavailable, and expresses gratitude to St Columba's Church of Scotland and to businesses and individuals in the Ayr community for undertaking this initiative.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council, said St Columba’s and the community supporting the church’s work, offer a good example of what churches are doing to put Christian faith and love into practice.

“'The superb work that St Columba's has been doing this summer is a great example of the very practical ways that churches the length and breadth of Scotland are addressing food poverty, supporting our young people to thrive and helping to make our local communities better places for everyone to live in.”