Church Moderator meets with Scotland's political leaders
Published on 27 July 2023 2 minutes read
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has met with the leaders of all five political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament over the course of the last few weeks, with the most recent meeting taking place on Wednesday 26 July.
Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton used the time to bring greetings from the Church to those in public service, and to renew the commitment of the Church to play its part in contributing to social and political debate. The meetings also provided an opportunity to highlight issues of particular interest to the Church of Scotland, such as fair pay in the social care sector and combatting the climate crisis.
The leaders, who each met the Moderator separately, were: First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP from the Scottish National Party, Douglas Ross MP MSP from the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Anas Sarwar MSP from the Scottish Labour Party, Patrick Harvie MSP from the Scottish Green Party and Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP from the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
As part of each meeting, Ms Foster-Fulton thanked the politicians for the work they do in the public sphere and discussed the challenges of increasingly polarised politics. She also confirmed that members and congregations of the Church of Scotland regularly pray for those in positions of authority and government over the nation.
Ms Foster-Fulton was joined in the meetings by the Principal Clerk, Rev Fiona Smith and the Church's Parliamentary Officer, David Bradwell.
The Church of Scotland is politically independent of any party or the government, and there are Church members in every different political party.
The Church has a strong tradition of supporting engagement with elected representatives on issues that shape society and where Christian values can make a positive impact.
In May, the then Moderator, Very Rev Iain Greenshields, and the Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop William Nolan, signed a declaration calling on the Scottish Government to do everything in its power to ensure all frontline care staff were immediately paid a minimum of £12 an hour, and encouraged other faith leaders to follow them in showing support for the sector.
Ms Foster-Fulton said: "Social care workers sensitively and professionally care for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and they deserve to be paid fairly and appropriately. An immediate increase of at least £12 an hour will go some way to evidencing our commitment to this vital sector. This is also a highly gendered issue, as 87% of the work force is female. We must do better!
"Meeting our party leaders is an opportunity to thank and to challenge, and both have been welcomed across the political spectrum. Discussions on how faith communities support and continue to play our part in creating peaceful, welcoming and equitable communities fuels our determination as well. I am so inspired to be part of a country where these idea exchanges are embraced."
Ms Smith said: "These meetings are a reminder to the whole Church that we can all play our part in influencing the way politics is conducted and to contribute our ideas to debates for the betterment of all. I'd encourage Churches and ministers at local and Presbytery level to contact all their elected representatives and build and strengthen a dialogue with them, so that the views of the Church can be heard, and the work of the Church understood, by those with power over decisions relating to law-making and budgets."