I was in Glasgow yesterday for an lunchtime event run by Faith in Community Scotland and Place for Hope – invited to join them with Moderator John Chalmers and Bishop Joe Toal of Paisley.
The purpose was to hear stories of co-operation between Catholic Parishes and the Kirk, ourselves and others – part of the Scottish Government’s initiative on sectarianism.
So whence the animation? Well what we heard was stories of growing co-operation shaped by warm personal friendships between the clergy. And it seemed that the sharing was enabling them to begin to address the challenges of social and economic deprivation which are all around them – and that also produces a spring in the step.
We were allowed a brief word in response to what we heard. And part of what I said was something like this:
Churches can all too easily become tired – institutionally exhausted. The struggle to keep going becomes about as much as we can do. So the horizon and the aspiration shrink to dealing just with our own stuff. Anything else becomes an extra which we might like to do without.
But you are obviously energised by friendship. You are energised by the discovery that working together seems to give you the aspiration, the and the energy to tackle things which you have always wanted to do and which are the essence of what we are called to do.
This is not an extra. This could be our salvation.