New Speak Out video looks at Building Global Friendships

From the Church of Scotland’s earliest days building global friendships has been an important part of our mission.

St Rollux English class
At St Rollux Church of Scotland volunteers help new Scots learn the language in English classes

The Moderator has just returned from a World Mission visit to partner churches in Kenya where Scottish missionaries played a key role in establishing Christian communities.

This week too, a Church of Scotland Violence Against Women group has been in Pakistan, meeting women on their home ground and learning about their lives.

Today we recognise these visits as opportunities to reach out to and learn from churches in parts of the world where faith communities are flourishing in very different ways to our own.

But we don’t have to travel to build global friendships. We can also work to challenge racism and welcome the stranger in our own communities.

With immigration, Brexit and the particular barriers facing refugees and asylum seekers, there is an increasing urgency for Christians work with others who are facing xenophobia or discrimination.

Often working with other churches and wider faith and community groups can help achieve greater impact, and collaboration between religious groups is itself an important symbol of mutual respect and tolerance in a world in which the value and contribution of faith seems to be diminishing.

In Scotland churches have been at the forefront of efforts to build global friendship, from fundraising for relief efforts in Nepal after the earthquake –£250,000 and counting—to the St Rollox Church of Scotland outreach programme, which offers practical help and English classes to refugees and asylum seekers.

There is also a role for individuals and local churches to be aware of and engage with wider issues of peace and justice internationally.

From supporting the Fairtrade movement to being active in campaigns for peacebuilding and disarmament, to praying with Christians around the world who struggle for God’s kingdom in their own context, whether it is facing persecution, poverty or who are involved in advocacy for political and social reform for the common good.

The Church and Society Council named Building Global Friendships one of its seven advocacy issues after church members across Scotland emphasized the importance of this work.

Check out how the church is working to Build Global Friendships and find out more about Speak Out.

Find out how to work with the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees.