Speak Out campaign seeks your ideas for long-term change

Ricky Ross
Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross supports the Speak Out campaign.

The Church of Scotland's Speak Out campaign has heard from more than 3,000 people and counting. Now it's your turn. This Sunday is one of two Speak Out Sundays planned for October. The goal is to hear from as many as 10,000 people in the coming weeks.

The Speak Out campaign asks you to imagine that it's 2035 and you live in a kinder, better Scotland. What do you think it would take to get there?

The goal of the campaign is to set priorities for the Church's long-term work, based on what you believe we should work on to make that brighter future a reality. (You can make your contribution online here.)

Fiona Buchanan, Local Involvement Officer for the Church and Society Council tells us more about the campaign so far in her article below:

Something is happening in Scotland in 2015: an exciting and tangible energy for talking about what sort of society we want to live in, want our children and our grandchildren to live in, and a deep sense of dissatisfaction at the systems, structures and ideologies that continue to drive people deeperand deeper into grinding poverty, exclusion and despair.

And at the same time, we are witnessing a fresh burst of action, determination and confidence that we can, and indeed will, be able to work together to bring about the changes to create a more just, equal and fair society.

The Church of Scotland wants to build on that energy for change. Through its Church and Society Council, the Church is taking a long-term approach to tackling inequality and injustice. Over the next ten years, it will 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.

Now is the time to think big – and long-term. With rising levels of food poverty, growing inequality, mass migration, global warming and religious extremism we need to act.

The Church of Scotland is already deeply engaged in showing that God's love is in the here and now. We're working to challenge food poverty in Scotland, through leading the Food Poverty Working Group, set up to look at ways of reducing a reliance on food banks.

We're campaigning on climate change, coordinating a week of action for climate justice starting on 23 November, attending the COP21 in Paris to work to bring about justice for those around the world most impacted by the effects of global warming and with our partners in Eco-Congregation Scotland, weare working to bring about real practical changes that will lower our carbon footprint.

Our ministers and members are working in communities, hospitals, prisons and schools across Scotland, supporting those who are the most vulnerable and marginalised - showing time and time again that God's love is in the here and now.

Right now we are asking 10,000 people in local churches and in every part of Scottish society to imagine a different future. We are committed to hearing from everyone and particularly want to hear from those whose experiences are often ignored and who currently suffer most.

Speak out now - your voice will not only help to shape the priorities of the Church for the next decade, but will help build a society free from barriers of oppression and injustice, in which liberation, hope and generosity can flourish.

Here's what other people are saying about Speak Out:

Elaine Smith, Labour MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston:

"I am supporting the "Speak Out: 10,000 voices for change" campaign as I believe that we should engage as many citizens, and as broad a section of society as possible, when it comes to pressing for social change.

"The Speak Out campaign provides the potential for taking those first steps to bringing about increased equality and fairness and I would encourage all constituents to take part."

Launching Speak Out, Ricky Ross:

"This campaign is a very good idea and it is important to hear the voicesof ordinary people on how they want to change society – they often have very good and wise things to say and if we do not listen we will not learn anything."

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church andSociety Council:

"The best people to set the priorities to make the kind of changes we need to make in Scotland are the people who live, work, love and learn here, especially those who have to live with the results of this upside down economic system. People need to get involved and if we can get 10,000 voicesfrom across Scotland telling us how we can make things better, that will have a huge impact. One of the great things about the Church of Scotland is we do not have to respond to short termism, we have the potential to keep plugging away at the issues highlighted for the next 10-15 years."