Moderator to address Scottish Parliament

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The Moderator of the Church of Scotland will address the Scottish parliament this afternoon when he gives 'Time for Reflection' in Holyrood's main chamber. The Rt Rev John Chalmers is spending much of this week visiting the parliament, which will include meetings with the First minister and senior representatives from each party..

The Rt Rev John Chalmers says 'Each year the Moderator is invited to give Time for Reflection, and I'll be using my address to tell MSPs that in our work, the churches see first-hand the consequences of the decisions they make in their chamber, for better and for worse. Throughout the week it's an important opportunity for me to offer my encouragement to those who are working in public life to make the world a better place, and also to share with them some of the important work that the Church of Scotland is doing for the common good.'

On Wednesday the Moderator will chair an open discussion in the parliament on freedom of religion as part of his visit. The event, which is being hosted by Dave Thompson MSP, will include panel members from the US Consulate, the World Mission Council and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Mr Chalmers says it will include the opportunity to share with MSPs and parliamentary staff, concerns at the way in which those who belong to minority faiths across the world, including many Christians, are experiencing horrendous levels of oppression and persecution.

On Thursday Mr Chalmers will attend First Minister's Questions, and is scheduled to meet the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon afterwards.

The Church and Society Council have helped coordinate the Moderator's programme, as part of their series of events tackling the social issues the Church is working hardest to address. Throughout the visit, the Moderator will be accompanied by the new Secretary of the Church and Society Council, Martin Johnstone, and the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Officer, Chloe Clemmons.

The Scottish referendum saw the Moderator and the Church take a prominent role in promoting a respectful debate on Scotland's future. Mr Chalmers says his term has involved a great deal of political engagement, and in this visit he is keen to take a more pastoral role in the care of both MSPs and the parliament's staff.