MSPs told Church greatly strengthens fabric of society

The Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison addresses MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. Image Andrew Cowan. Scottish Parliament.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison addressed MSPs at the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

He delivered Time for Reflection which heralds the start of the parliamentary week.

Dr Morrison was introduced to the chamber by the Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.

The Moderator touched on the theme of loneliness, pointing out that the Church made an enormous contribution to ease the plight of those who find themselves isolated.

Here is what he said......

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.' So wrote John Donne, the 17th century poet and Dean of St Paul's.

Donne points up the important reality of the inter-connectedness of all of human life and the fact that our wellbeing as humans depends on the recognition of our mutual dependence at every level.

This insight is embedded in the DNA of the Christian tradition, with its emphasis on the importance of community for those made in the image of one God who exists in personal, loving community.

Human flourishing is attained only when we are authentically part of a community marked by love, justice and compassion.

All has not been well in recent times in our own society.

Research indicates that one in ten of us suffers from loneliness and isolation.

The problem is growing, partly as a result of changing patterns of social interaction - and not only among the elderly.

Loneliness is bad for us, leading to unhappiness and frequently to mental health problems.

This major issue of our time affects us all and requires urgently to be addressed. I, for one, am deeply grateful for the Scottish Government's recent and significant steps in doing so.

It is important to recognize the enormous contribution of the churches here.

As Moderator, I have witnessed countless examples of local churches, in living out their faith, at work to reduce loneliness and isolation in the community.

The Church of Scotland's Go for It Fund, which awards around one million pounds each year, currently supports three groups helping to connect young families in Inverness and working with isolated elderly and disabled people in Central Scotland.

The church's practical social value is enormous and growing.

Jesus spent 90% of his ministry simply being with people.

We can help bring wholeness and healing to many lives, and greatly strengthen the fabric of our society, as together we work to end the scourge in our time of loneliness and isolation.

People of faith, be it more widely known, have an incredible amount to offer.

Let us pray. God of redeeming love, who in Jesus came to be with us, may we be and remain with one another.

By your Spirit, set up your kingdom of love among us.

In Christ's name.