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Home  >  News  >  Moderator Says Pandemic Has Unveiled 'Spiritual Longing'


Moderator Says Pandemic Has Unveiled 'Spiritual Longing'


                                                                                                                  Saturday September 4 2021


THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland said today that the Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled a ‘spiritual longing in our land’.

Speaking at the pared-down Annual Gathering of the Church of Scotland Guild at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, the Moderator, Lord Jim Wallace said: “I believe that whatever the setbacks of pandemic and lockdown, that Good News gives us a bright hope for tomorrow… and I have a sense that the pandemic has revealed a spiritual longing in our land. People who previously showed little interest in institutional church life have been logging on to online worship.”

Addressing the first in-person Gathering of the Guild since 2019, Lord Wallace praised the Guild for its tireless work, even in the face of the adversity presented by the global pandemic. He said he had been particularly struck by the organisation’s scale of fundraising and the breadth of work supported by it, pointing to the £500,000 raised over the last three years (including the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic) which supported six diverse projects across the world, including an initiative in India – the Free to Live Trust – supporting sex workers and their children.

He said the range and nature of the projects supported by the Guild placed them at ‘the cutting edge of the Kirk’s outreach’.

Reflecting on the new partner projects chosen by the Guild to support over the next three years, he said: “Under the overarching strategy of ‘Look Forward In Faith’, the project partners for this upcoming cycle are no less challenging: addressing issues such as eating disorders, channelling support to help disadvantaged children find homes here and helping children with special needs in Uganda; training women for the ministry in Brazil; and supporting a village in Tanzania and promoting fair trade chocolate manufacture thereby supporting people in a community on an island in south-east Asia…. all appear designed to make a positive difference with an emphasis on those in real need and the young.”

Praising the Guild for its new ‘apt’ strategy ‘Look forward in faith’, he said the Church of Scotland faced a future where change was ‘inevitable’ but, using an observation from the late US President John F Kennedy that the Chinese word for crisis used two brush strokes – one for danger and the other for opportunity, he reminded the Guild to ‘be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity’.

Lord Wallace added: “The challenge for our Church is both to recognise and to seize the opportunity which has been presented to us. “

Outgoing National Convener Mabel Wallace said she had not been able to travel as expected during her year in office but said it had been a “full and fulfilling year”, adding that she had been “humbled and honoured” to serve.

She also paid tribute to General Secretary Iain Whyte who retires from the role at the end of the year after ten years of service and said he had been ‘a true and faithful servant to the Guild’.

During the Gathering Guilds from North Berwick and Perth were able to use technology to join the meeting and share how they had continued their work and reached out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Gathering drew to a close with the installation of new National Convener, Margaret Muir. 

Worship was drawn from footage of previous Guild Gatherings in Dundee, which was enjoyed by the 250 people assembled in the Assembly Hall. 

Details of the six new partner projects were shared at the Gathering – full details of all projects are available in the September and October issues of Life and Work (copies in print or digital are available here) and here 


Irene Walker - Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

“Congratulations to all involved In making the Gathering such a well organised and informative meeting. Great to meet old friends face to face again (even behind masks).”

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