Faith in politics... it’s now the turn of Stornoway

​A major academic project which is exploring how people of faith can play more of a role in the political discussion surrounding Scotland’s constitutional future will visit Stornoway next week, with an appeal for local church members and adherents to participate.
Kate Forbes will contribute through a pre-recorded speechKate Forbes will contribute through a pre-recorded speech
Kate Forbes will contribute through a pre-recorded speech

Among those who will deliver a speech is MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate Forbes, a high profile member of the Free Church of Scotland who stood for leadership of the SNP last year. It also includes fellow MSP Murdo Fraser.

“Faith in Scotland’s Constitutional Future” is being led by the School of Critical Studies/ Theology & Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow and aims to engage with churches across Scotland to encourage them to reflect on the key question of independence.

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The university stressed that the event is “ecumenical, non-partisan and neutral on the constitutional question” and is”bound by a strict code of ethics regarding impartiality and accurate representation”.

The event will be held in Martin's Memorial Church next Tuesday at 7pm.The event will be held in Martin's Memorial Church next Tuesday at 7pm.
The event will be held in Martin's Memorial Church next Tuesday at 7pm.

The meeting will start at 7pm in Martin’s Memorial Church, Stornoway, on Tuesday and “people of all denominations and all views on the future of Scotland are very welcome”. Admission is free.

There will be four video presentations from Christians active in politics (three recorded at the project’s launch conference held in Glasgow last October). Along with Kate Forbes and Murdo Fraser they are Rev Dr Maggie McLennan, former Labour Councillor in Glasgow, and Stephen Noon, Director of Strategy for the Yes Scotland campaign (2014).

The keynote speeches will be followed by a discussion based on “discernment in common” principles of respectful dialogue led by the Rev Matthew Ross, the project’s researcher.

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He said: “This meeting in Stornoway is an important opportunity to hear views, hopes and concerns from church members of all different traditions across Lewis and Harris. It is vitally important that voices from across all parts of Scotland are heard – not just those from the Central Belt or the cities.

“Ten years on from Scotland’s independence referendum, the topic of constitutional change remains controversial. Churches have a role to play in listening to the hopes, fears and diversity of views that surround this issue – and in promoting good governance, justice and peace in this country and internationally.”

The wider project is led by Professor Heather Walton, Professor of Theology and Creative Practice, and the Rev Dr Doug Gay, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies, at the University of Glasgow.

A number of similar event have been held in different parts of Scotland since the turn of the year and further dates are planned for 2024.

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Professor Walton said: “The direction of Scotland’s constitutional future will affect every aspect of our common life. I am excited that this conference offers the opportunity for Christians to reflect together in an informed and faith-full way on the challenges and choices ahead.”

The Rev Dr Doug Gay said that they wanted to explore “these issues with folk in the pews and to deepen our understanding of how people relate their faith to their thinking about constitutional options.”