Church meets MSPs to dis­cuss con­cerns

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - Jonathan Ged­des

A Ruther­glen church is hop­ing to get closer to MSPs through a new project.

Ruther­glen United Re­formed Church are now tak­ing part in the Meet Your MSP ini­tia­tive, where they hope to speak to var­i­ous MSPs about ar­eas of con­cern.

Church min­is­ter Rev John San­der­son was joined by Rev David Pick­er­ing, URC Mod­er­a­tor of the Na­tional Synod of Scot­land and a Cam­bus­lang res­i­dent, to meet list MSPs James Kelly and Jo­hann La­mont of Labour, and Adam Tomkins of the Con­ser­va­tives.

In their meet­ing with the Labour MSPs, the sub­jects of so­cial care, tax­a­tion and home­less­ness were raised, and in their con­ver­sa­tion with Adam Tomkins they talked about food­banks, grow­ing the econ­omy and car­ers.

Rev San­der­son said: “Ini­tially I had reser­va­tions about the project – I wasn’t sure what would come out of it.

“But this has been a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for me.

“It’s good to meet MSPs face to face in an in­for­mal set­ting. You see a more hu­man side to peo­ple.

“It was good to raise con­cerns I had re­ceived from mem­bers of the church be­fore our meet­ing, and be able to do that face to face.

“I ap­pre­ci­ated that the MSPs took the time out to meet with us, and it is an op­por­tu­nity to build on that hu­man con­nec­tion.”

Rev Pick­er­ing added: “It is re­ally good for churches to en­gage with politi­cians in a per­sonal way.

“We are grate­ful for the Meet Your MSP project and en­cour­age each of our churches to en­gage with their lo­cal MSPs.

“From the na­tional URC per­spec­tive, it is im­por­tant to share our as­pi­ra­tions with our lo­cal politi­cians.

“In our meet­ings to­day, we raised par­tic­u­lar con­cerns about hous­ing and home­less­ness, and around sup­port for refugees and asy­lum seek­ers.”

The project will con­tinue with Clare Haughey MSP set to visit next Mon­day, Jan­uary 16.

It’s good to meet in a more in­for­mal set­ting, you see a more hu­man side to peo­ple

Get­ting to know you Rev John San­der­son (left) and Rev David Pick­er­ing meet MSPs Jo­hann La­mont and James Kelly

Meet up Rev John San­der­son (left) and Rev David Pick­er­ing meet Adam Tomkins

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