The Rev Heller González, rector of St Augustine’s Dumbarton, addressed the Scottish Parliament this week during Time for Reflection, highlighting the effects of the cost of living crisis in his local area.
Rev González told MSPs of the frightening experience of having to flee his homeland of Cuba into the unknown, finding a new home in Spain, and then being welcomed to Scotland in 2015, “heralding the beginning of a new life”.
He described the challenges he sees every day in a place with a wonderful and welcoming community spirit, but with the effects of deprivation and unemployment clear.
Local efforts from organisations such as churches are in place to support people who have been hit by the cost of living crisis.
“The opening words of the Rule of St Benedict sum it up beautifully. There needs to be a ‘listening with the ears of our hearts’,” said Rev González.
“In these difficult days, days when many feel utter desperation, the message the Church is called to proclaim, is to look towards Easter for renewal of hope and even life itself.
“Yes! Through God, these things can be achieved. It is God who breathes life once again into the tired and dispirited.
“As you all strive to make Scotland a better place for all, may it be given to you to listen with the ears of your hearts to the needs of the people of this country.”
The full address from Rev González can be watched through this link to the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway Facebook page.
During the current Parliamentary Session dating back to June 2021, five Episcopal priests have been invited to address members in the chamber: Rev Canon Dave Richards of St Paul’s & St George’s in Edinburgh, Rev Andy Philip of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Rev Dr Jenny Wright of Christ Church Morningside, Rev Canon Sarah Shaw of Christ Church in Falkirk, and now Rev González.
Invitations to address the Parliament at Time for Reflection are issued by the Presiding Officer on advice from the Parliamentary Bureau.
Also this week, the Rev Diana Hall gave Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Scotland. The Rector of St Anne’s in Dunbar considered the news story this week about a woman who has lived in the same house for 102 years, and discussed the effects that change ‘one true constant in life’ – can have on people.
“We often think of change as a good thing, and it can be,” said Rev Hall. “But it can also be risky and unfulfilling. If we search for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, we realise soon enough that we never seem to reach the rainbow’s end.”
She concluded: “Whatever is going on in our lives and communities, perhaps we can all find an inner sense of peace and calm to help us to be well grounded, and to recognise the goodness and fulfilment to be found in the here and now.”
To hear the full broadcast, go to the 1:23:08 mark at this link.