Minister tells MSPs how Boys Brigade played pivotal role in his life

A Church of Scotland minister from Aberdeen highlighted the work of the Boys Brigade in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

Rev Manson Merchant of Dyce Parish Church told MSPs that the Christian organisation reached out to 50,000 children and young people each week.

He delivered Time for Reflection in the debating chamber, which heralds the start of the parliamentary week.

Enriched lives

Here is what Mr Merchant had to say:

Thank you, Presiding Officer. Members of the Scottish Parliament, I thank you for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.

It was on this very day—4 October—in 1883 that the Boys Brigade was founded in Glasgow by Sir William Alexander Smith.

From that one unit—the 1st Glasgow company—the Boys Brigade has grown into a worldwide movement.

It is one of the largest Christian youth organisations in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and is committed to lives being enriched by supporting children and young people to reach their full potential through providing opportunities for them to meet and engage in a range of fun developmental activities and experiences.

For more than 130 years, the Boys Brigade has partnered local churches to work with children and young people, through sharing the gospel and encouraging the development of personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Today, it works alongside 1,400 churches of all denominations to reach out to over 50,000 children and young people each week.

As a youngster, I became involved with the Boys Brigade.

Sense of stability

It played a pivotal role in my life, for it was through that involvement that I eventually felt the call to the ordained ministry in the Church of Scotland, so I am truly thankful for the Boys Brigade.

The motto of the Boys Brigade, as many of you will know already, is “Sure & Steadfast”.

The crest—the emblem—of the Boys Brigade is an anchor set in front of a red cross.

What is the purpose of an anchor? Its main purpose is to stop a ship from drifting.

The anchor is cast into the sea so that the vessel does not drift unnecessarily from its position because of currents.

The Boys Brigade offers a sense of stability to many young people in what can often be a stormy world.

Long may it continue to flourish and to help many of our young people to grow up to be well-rounded citizens.

Great nation

Members of the Scottish Parliament, my prayer for all of you as you seek to discharge the great honour that has been conferred upon you by the electorate is that you be sure in your decision making and steadfast in your calling to be servants of the people of Scotland, who have entrusted you to lead this great nation. May God bless you all.