From the Minister – February & March

Into the Future

THE BEGINNING of a new year tends to be a time for resolutions and predictions.

I’ve long since given up on resolutions finding that, before long, all good intention has been somehow lost in the ether of everyday demands and activity.  With regard predictions, well, maybe you have peered into a crystal ball, read the tea leaves or consulted your star indicator and know what’s going to happen.  Me ?  My prediction for 2014, which I make with total confidence, is that confidence in predictions is impossible.  If you don’t believe me, here are a few I have come across …

Heavier than air machines are impossible,” said Lord Kelvin when President of the Royal Society in 1895.

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,”  said Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment in 1977.

It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything,” said the school report of Albert Einstein in 1895.

Everything that can be invented has been invented,”  wrote an unnamed official at the United States Patent Office in 1899.

Two things we can say, however.

2014 will be a momentous year both for our country and for our church.

The 18th September is the day the Scottish Government has designated as Referendum Day. For the first time in over three hundred years the people of Scotland will be asked to vote on whether Scotland should still within the United Kingdom or become an independent country.  It is possibly the most momentous decision our countrymen and women will ever be asked to make. The consequences of our decision will have repercussions for every single aspect of our future living: defence, health, education, social welfare, commercial prosperity – everything. Once made, there will be no turning back.

Referendum –
An Uninspired and
Uninspiring  Campaign

Thus far, detailed information about the issues central to the Referendum has been hard to find. The campaign of both protagonists has been as uninspired as it has been uninspiring. Huge matters of national interest remain to be explained and a myriad questions properly
answered. Hopefully, before long the shadow-boxing of the political combatants will give way to mature, intellectual argument and explanation. Only then will the people of Scotland be equipped to be able to vote with their head rather than the fickle emotions of the heart.  Such is the importance that this be quickly and adequately addressed politicians, alone, should not be left to take the initiative. It is surely the responsibility of each individual, eligible to cast a vote, to ensure they have knowledge sufficient to allow them to do so with integrity. I would therefore hope that within such a community as ours, the Church would have a part to play. Plans are already being discussed to organise an event to be held within the church, later this year, which will enable members of our congregation and community to listen to representatives of both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns make their arguments and for questions to be answered. Further information will be publicised nearer the time.

Church  – 
Quire Repair
& Restoration Project

It is now over a year since our Appeal was launched for the urgent repair and restoration of the church Quire. To date, through public and private donation, £1.2million has been secured. Of which, members of the local community have, thus far, contributed approximately £150,000. This represents a tremendous response from the congregation, and others, of which we should be rightly proud.  However, there is enormous pressure for us to identify further benefactors and secure the balance of our funding.

Urgent works on the eight hundred year old foundations had to be commenced last November. Various bore-holes have been excavated around the building and within. Samples of earth have been officially analysed and a great deal of engineering investigation undertaken. Inevitably, unexpected work has been necessary. This has meant that the whole project is running approximately six months behind schedule. Our professional advisers, however, are confident that the information we will now possess will be beneficial to the better planning of the project in the long run.

It is expected that completed and costed project Tenders will be returned to us early March. Then we will know more accurately how we stand financially. We will also then be able to make further applications for essential funding that can only be made once such information is at hand. No major work will be undertaken to the roof of the Quire unless and until necessary funding is secured.

Confidence in predictions is impossible.

However, whatever the outcome of our national Referendum  and of our Quire  project, 2014 is certainly going to be a momentous year. Let us hope – and pray – for a good outcome for both country and church.

Jim Gibson
Minister of Bothwell
Interim Moderator at
Gilmour & Whitehill Church Hamilton

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