Primus meets DFM John Swinney to promote political engagement in churches

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has met with the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church the Most Rev David Chillingworth to promote the Meet Your MSP project.

The meeting was set up by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) which has been running the project over the past few months, encouraging churches across a variety of denominations, including the SEC, to meet with their local MSPs.

Mr Swinney is an MSP for Perthshire North and one of the Primus’ local MSPs as Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said:

“I was grateful for the opportunity of meeting Deputy First Minister John Swinney today in Perth. Clergy and public representatives have different roles and functions – but they share a deep involvement with people of all kinds and with their hopes, concerns and aspirations. 

“Our meeting allowed time for discussion of some immediate concerns. I was able to share something of the positive journey of the Scottish Episcopal Church in responding to the Scottish Government’s Same Sex Marriage provisions. John Swinney was very sensitive to the way in which faith communities are challenged in their internal unity by such matters.

“We also talked about the way in which faith communities respond to issues such as Scottish independence. Faith and identity often meet together within churches and other faith communities. Questions about Scottish independence have a significant impact on peoples’ understanding of who they are at the deepest level.”

It is hoped that the meeting between the Primus and Mr Swinney will encourage churches within the Scottish Episcopal Church to contact their local MSPs, invite them along to events, and start a conversation that will benefit both churches and politicians.

Chloe Clemmons, SCPO Parliamentary Officer, added:

“This project focuses on the importance of people in churches getting to know their local political representatives, and viewing 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.”

The SCPO project aims to reach all 129 MSPs and connect them with churches in their area.