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Address of Rev. David Watson of Clark Memorial Church, Largs, of 14.05.22

Good evening everyone

My name is David Watson,

I’m the minister of Clark Memorial church

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.


I am delighted to be here this evening

at this time of the Second Synod encounter

and I’ve been invited by Monseigneur Magee

to share a few thoughts with you.


There are good relations between the churches in Largs

And I’m grateful for the various ways

that we are able to share with each other in ministry

and in Christian witness in the community.


The Synod Encounter process initiated by Pope Francis

Is an opportunity to think the future direction of the church.

The discussions have been themed under the headings;

What can we be proud of?

What do we need to work at?

What are we missing that’s holding us back?


These are question which are relevant to all of us.

How will the church look post pandemic?

How do we engage with the younger generation?

How do we approach moral issues

in a way that are pastorally sensitive?

How do we adapt to our fast changing world?

What are our core beliefs and what is simply tradition?


Ever since I attended the Scottish Christian Youth Assembly as a young person

And visited the Taizé community in France

I have always felt that I have more in common

with practising Catholics than with Protestants

who never darken the door of the church.

I lived in Govan when I was a student and while I was there

I went along to an inter-church dialogue.

I was chatting to this other guy

And asked him what denomination he was.

He told me that he was a GC,

I said I did know what that was,

Glesga Catholic, he smiled.


Many of the issues that we face as churches are the same

Regardless of our denomination.

We need to have an honest appraisal of the past,

Acknowledging our faults as well as celebrating

The rich history of faith and its influence in Scotland.

The Christian faith has had a profound influence on our national identity.

Truthfully, historical divisions have weakened our mission.

Abuse of clerical power, which was covered up to prevent reputational damage has weakened our moral authority.

Facing up to the truth isn’t easy but it is necessary.

Confession is an important aspect of our faith.

We need to recognise our mistakes

in order to try to avoid repeating them.


Change is a fact of life we need to embrace it

We are living through a change of epoch

The world wide web and the information age

Has brought about change which is as far reaching

as that which followed invention of the printing press.

Like any change it has positive and negative aspects to it.

We need to adapt to the change which is happening whether we like it or not.


We are in the middle of culture wars

In which everyone is promoting their version of the truth.

None of us have a monopoly on the truth.


Anthony De Mello was an Indian Jesuit priest who collected stories from different mystical traditions in one of them

the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts.

They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny.

“What did he find?” asked the cohort.

“A piece of the truth,” the Devil replied.

“Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort.

“Oh no,” said the Devil,

“I will see that he makes a doctrine out of it.”


As churches we need to be open to new insights,

And flexible enough to embrace new insights.

The truth is elusive, the minute we think that

we have it all sewn up, we have lost it.


If we are open to God’s spirit

we may receive glimpses of the truth

but we also need the humility to learn

from each other’s insights.

The world is constantly changing

although we believe that Jesus Christ

is the same yesterday today and forever,

we must always be seekers after truth.


At one time when Scottish pupils

were given the strap for writing with their left hand.

That may seem strange to us now

But it is a measure of how much the world has changed,

In the lifetime of many of us.

We don’t belt children anymore and we certainly don’t

Try to force them to write with their left hands.

The word sinister comes

from the Latin sinistra meaning left.

It was thought that being left-handed was sinister.

Left handers were forced to conform

there was a tyranny of the majority.


Now we rightly celebrate diversity.

I’m left-handed along with about 10% of the population,

forcing people to be right-handed

was oppression by the majority.


I didn’t choose to be left-handed

that’s the way God made me!

Around 10% of the population are gay

They didn’t choose to be gay

that’s the way God made them.

We should celebrate the fact that we are all different.


Morality is to do with the choices we make

We don’t choose our race or gender or our sexuality

We don’t choose with whom we fall in love,

But we do choose what kind of relationships we make.

For me the hallmark a Christian relationship is fidelity

To be faithful to ourselves, to those we love and to God.


Rather than trying to compel everyone

to conform to a certain way of being

we should celebrate diversity.

We can’t impose our moral values

on others even if we wanted to.


The church in the Europe certainly is in a very different place, increasingly marginalised in our secular society.

However, that isn’t necessarily a bad place to be

Outside the structures of power

The church can once again find its prophetic voice

And to speak truth to power.

The world is changing ands we need to adapt too.



As we approach the season of Pentecost

When the Holy Spirit transformed the church

We pray for a similar transformation for all of us.

The early church grew exponentially at least in part

Because the community was seen to care for each other.

And boldly proclaimed the Good News of God’s love.

The church is at its best when it is creating a caring community and binding up the broken hearted, caring for the grieving, helping the lost and lonely

Passionate about peace and justice

and caring for our planet, a church without walls

which shows God’s love by living out the gospel

in word and action and by the quality

of our relationships with one another.