Moderator and Principal Clerk travel south for London Week
Published on 21 November 2022 3 minutes read
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, will be in London this week where he and Principal Clerk, Rev Fiona Smith will meet with a wide range of religious, political and charity leaders.
This year the annual London Week agenda will include meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer, Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack, and SNP Westminster Parliamentary Leader Ian Blackford.
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:
"I am very much looking forward to speaking with London-based political leaders and with our ecumenical and interfaith partners.
"The Church has a strong interest in nurturing dialogue and collaboration across parties and among faith groups and in sharing the Christian message of love with all those in positions of power and responsibility in our country. When leaders from faith, civic and social justice backgrounds come together to tackle challenges and solve problems, it's wonderful what can be achieved."
The packed agenda began yesterday evening (Sunday 20 November) when the Moderator attended the UK launch for the Peace Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
The Peace Forum behind the charter came together in 2017 to draw on the peacebuilding strengths of faith groups around the world with a vision of building lasting peace through a ‘global movement for forgiveness and reconciliation in sustainable peacebuilding'.
Coming at the close of Interfaith Week, the event was also intended to bring together an initial Steering Committee to create a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Reconciliation and Peacebuilding.
During the week the Church of Scotland team will visit Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, St Martin-in-the-Fields and the church offices of the United Reformed and Methodist churches and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
The Principal Clerk will lead a Parliamentary service in St Margaret's Church, Westminster and the Moderator will preach. He will also read from John 10:22-30 at an Evensong service in St Paul's.
The Moderator and team will have lunch with the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, at the House of Lords. Other meetings with key church leaders include talks with:
The Dean of Westminster Abbey, Very Rev Dr David Hoyle MBE
The Church of England's Director of Faith and Public Life, Rev Dr Malcolm Brown
Dr Paula Gooder, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral
Rev Dr John Bradbury, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church
Rev Dr Sam Wells, Director of the HeartEdge initiative
Also on the agenda is a meeting with key interfaith partner, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack will host the Moderator and team at a special lunch at the Scotland Office. Other opportunities for political engagement include at Prime Minister's Questions and at a reception in the House of Lords.
A highlight of the week will be a visit to the London-based charities Scotscare/Borderline. The sister charities serve Scottish people in London, providing support, counselling and assistance to those who become homeless. The Moderator will learn about the charity's work, meet its chief executive Ms Shona Fleming, and speak at the ScotsCare Festival Dinner.
And at the Christian Aid headquarters they will meet the charity's chairman Dr John Sentamu and its CEO Patrick Watt.
"The Church's priority is always to stand with people struggling with poverty and those who are pushed to the margins," the Moderator said. "These visits will allow us to support the incredible work that Scotscare and Christian Aid are doing to put an end to poverty here at home and across the world."
The two Church of Scotland congregations in London, St Columba's and Crown Court, will come together at a joint service on Sunday 27 November at the Pont Street church. The Moderator will preach at the service as well as speaking at a joint evening event in Crown Court. Offerings at both events will go to support the Borderline charity.
Rev Scott Rennie, minister at Crown Court Church, welcomed the visit, saying,
"We are delighted the Moderator is joining us for our joint service of worship in St Andrews tide, not only to encourage us in our mission as churches to the many thousands of Scots in this world city, but particularly to those Scots who are in grave need.
"The Moderator's choice that the offering should be given to Borderline, a charity we support in its commitment to helping homeless Scots off the streets of the capital, could not be more apt or timely."
A meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury has been arranged for December.