Doing Politics Differently

Speak Out
Aberlour Parish Church minister Rev Shuna Dicks with Moray MSP Richard Lochhead.

A new film has been launched today to highlight a strong desire among churches and communities to "do politics differently".

It features Duncan Logie and Rachel Walker, members of the National Youth Assembly, who discuss how their generation are at the forefront of exploring new ways of engaging with decision makers.

Filmed outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, it is the first of seven films produced for “Speak Out”, a new way of working spearheaded by the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland.

Speak Out commits the church to a long term process of advocating for and delivering change, with a more intentional focus on resourcing local congregations and communities.

At the heart of the campaign is a commitment to working alongside those on the sharp end of injustice and poverty – making real the Church of Scotland’s ongoing commitment to the poorest and most marginalised, not just out of sympathy but because that is the Gospel way to live.

The Doing Politics Differently film was developed in response to a consultation that revealed a strong desire for more participative democracy.

It raised questions around constitutional reform, disillusionment with political systems, and a desire to move beyond party politics and tribalism.

In the film, Mr Logie said he was in favour of elected members being more representative of the communities they represent.

“In our actions as a Church, there should be a clear line of thought because we care about what God cares about – the poor and people without power,” he added.

“That needs to come into our politics as well.”;

Miss Walker said people involved in the life of the church at all levels and politicians should be working together to create a more equal and fairer society.

“Young people, as a generation, are more politically engaged,” she added.;

“We have social media and people are saying ‘this isn’t right and I am going to share that and tell the world.’”

Miss Walker said the National Youth Assembly had provided many opportunities to engage with public life and lobby for change.

As a non-partisan advocate, the Church of Scotland is in a strong position to bring people together across the political spectrum to make the changes people want to see in society.

The other six film themes are:-

  • Flourishing Local Communities
  • Investing in Young People
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Caring for Creation
  • Building Global Friendships
  • An Economy Driven by Equality

Speak Out has a specific focus on enabling the Church to engage effectively with communities it’s rooted in, with wider society, and also through partnerships, with a broad range of ecumenical and civic partners.

One of the first examples of Speak Out in action is the Meet Your MSP project, coordinated by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO).

Launched in June last year it allows churches around the country to engage with the theme of Doing Politics Differently by breaking down barriers between churches, church groups and their local politicians.

SCPO is hosting a reception in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to highlight the work of the Meet Your MSP project.

The ecumenical initiative encourages churches to meet their MSPs with over 60 events already taken place, including coffee mornings, visits to local projects, and special services, among many other things.

These have involved people of all ages and all backgrounds across the whole of Scotland from Orkney to the Borders.

The parliamentary reception, sponsored by Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, is an opportunity for churches, church groups and MSPs to share their experience of the project, and to inspire others to take part.