Queensferry Crossing a symbol of inclusion and hope

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has blessed the Queensferry Crossing.

Right Rev Dr Derek Browning said bridges were “symbols of inclusion and hope”.

He accompanied First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Her Majesty the Queen, who formally opened the new bridge this morning.

The £1.35billion structure is 1.7 miles long and spans the Firth of Forth and connects Fife to Lothian.

Derek Browning
Right Rev Dr Derek Browning blesses the Queensferry Crossing. Laura Paterson.

This is a bridge
That connects the land:
A bridge to honour
The contours of earth, air and water,
All gloriously united.

This is a bridge
That celebrates the skills
Of hand and heart and mind:
Concrete and steel, style and shape,
All gloriously created.

This is a bridge
That enables the movement of people:
Through space and time,
In coming and going,
All gloriously dynamic.

God bless this bridge;
God bless this Queensferry Crossing,
And all who travel on it.

Reaching out

The Queen formally opened the Forth Road Bridge on September 4, 1964 - 53 years ago to the day.

Dr Browning attended the opening as a two-year-old.

"It is a tremendous privilege to be involved in this wonderful event," he said.

"Bridges are about connecting, they overcome barriers, bring people together and span divides.

"For people of faith, bridges remind us that faith is also called to connect people, overcome barriers and span divides.

"Bridges help us to be people of possibility, reaching out in faith across chasms of fear, loneliness, intolerance and prejudice, and to do this in the name of Jesus who did the same things.

"In a world where people are often isolated, we should not build walls, we should build bridges.

"We should not shut out, we should welcome in.

"If we want to be true to our faith in Jesus, be part of a bridge that reaches out."

The Queen, who was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, cut a ribbon to cheers from the watching crowd then travelled by car across the bridge, which took six years to build.

She then made a speech and unveiled a plaque to declare the crossing formally open.

The Queen said the bridge, which sits beside the Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Rail Bridge, would be an "important link" between the Lothians and Fife.

"The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries, are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them," she added.

Queen
Dr Browning greets Her Majesty the Queen.

The event featured a fly-past by the Red Arrows and a flotilla of 90 boats travelled under the bridge as the national anthem was played.

Folk singer Karine Polwart performed and Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, recited a specially commissioned poem.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This crossing is the tallest bridge in the UK.

“It has required 150,000 tonnes of concrete, 23,000 miles of steel cabling and 19 million hours of labour.

“The bridge will improve journey times, and bring benefits to families and businesses – not just in Fife and the Lothians, but across Scotland.

“Together, the three Forth bridges will bring people from around the world to admire their ingenuity and their beauty.”

Nicola Sturgeon
Dr Browning and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon