MSPs on all sides of the Scottish Parliament have welcomed an “invaluable” initiative which helps them better engage with churches across the country.
We were delighted to welcome our MSP, Ben Macpherson, to church a couple of weeks ago.
Ben was invited as part of an ecumenical project aimed at improving engagement between churches and members of the Scottish Parliament – an initiative that has been described as “hugely important” by politicians and church leaders, who have said that the “Meet Your MSP” project helped shine a light on the “positive” and “inspirational” work being carried out by congregations to help and support some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Meet Your MSP was launched last year after the Holyrood election by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) which has launched a new logo to mark the work it does with churches across the nation.
Chloe Clemmons, SCPO parliamentary officer, said: “We believe that it is important for people in churches get to know their local political representatives and view them as real people that they can have a conversation with.
“MSPs have the power to impact our lives in very significant ways and getting to know them early in their term in office is a great way to start a relationship that will hopefully be beneficial to both churches and MSPs for years to come.”
Ben Macpherson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, has taken part in the project over the past few months with visits to the Salvation Army’s Eagle Lodge Care Home in Leith, North Leith Parish Church and a plaque unveiling at Old Fishermen’s Cemetery in Newhaven. His visit to Granton last Sunday was planned before the General Election was called for next month.
“It has been great to visit so many local churches and associated projects over the last few months,” he said.
“Thank you to everyone involved for the warm welcomes I’ve received.
“I have been inspired by the amount of good work being done by faith groups to make a meaningful difference and to support some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Mr Macpherson said his constituency is a very diverse area with many cultures, ethnicities, religions and nationalities making up the vibrant community.
“It is important to me that I support every part of our community and the ‘Meet Your MSP’ project has been a great way to learn more about the various congregations in the area and the positive difference they make,” he added.
A Meet Your MSP event took place at the Scottish Parliament in February where representatives from congregations and groups that have taken part in the project celebrated what has been achieved so far.
Scottish Churches Parliamentary Council
SCPO was set up in 1999 following the creation of the Scottish Parliament. It is a non-denominational and non-partisan organisation which exists to help build good working relationships between the UK parliaments and churches in Scotland.
There are 11 denominations represented by the SCPO in Scotland including the Church of Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Baptist Union of Scotland, Salvation Army, Unitarians, United Reformed Church, United Free, Quakers and Methodist Church.
The office provides a Christian perspective on political matters, helps churches engage with the parliamentary process, and provides information between churches and politicians.