BLESSING OUR COMMUNITIES Conference in Musselburgh Wednesday 18th November

In conjunction with ‘Redeeming our Communities,’ I am organising and hosting a day conference on Wednesday 18th November, 9.30am-4.00pm, at St Andrew’s High Church, High Street and Millhill, Musselburgh.

The one-day event is called ‘Blessing our Communities: Mercy, Justice and Community Engagement’ and will look at ways in which we can seek to bless the communities in which our Churches are set, by showing compassion and mercy, by lobbying for change and by praying in more focussed ways.

We have secured Martin Johnstone, the Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, to come and give a keynote address. There will also be workshops on Community Engagement; Lobbying for Change and Spirituality in Community Participation, as well as a plenary session and worship.

The idea for the day emerged from a conversation I had with Diane McWilliam, from Redeeming our Communities, where we talked about the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but asked the question, ‘What would have needed to have been done to have made the road safe from bandits in the first place?’. The example of the Good Samaritan leads us into thinking about mercy and compassion, while the question of making the road safer raises the issues of justice and of campaigning for change in society.

These are the issues the day will explore. In that sense, it is of a piece with the emerging ‘Food Justice’ movement – which rightly sees Food Banks as a great example of compassion and mercy but urges us to go ‘Beyond Foodbanks’ to work for a more just society where Foodbanks aren’t needed. It fits with the Church and Society Council’s ‘10,000 Voices for Change’ campaign and with those two well-known sayings: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for life’ and ‘If I give the poor some bread, they call me a saint; if I ask why the poor have no bread, they call me a communist’ (Dom Helder Camara).

The day costs £10, which includes lunch and refreshments. More details and booking at

Please come – it will be worth it.

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