OUR latest community column is written by Rev Christine Murdoch, Church of Scotland minister at Craigrownie, Rosneath St Modan’s and Garelochhead.

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THE Church of Scotland has just met in General Assembly, online for the second time.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, much has been learned, and new technologies created, to allow us to meet and contribute to the debates.

The Church of Scotland has had to change outmoded practices to embrace our new reality. In future, attendance at the Assembly online is to be encouraged. Thus both scarce financial resources will be saved, as well as costs to the earth, as people travel from all over the world to attend.

We may wonder, why then, the Conference of the Parties 26 in Glasgow will be in person, rather than online?

In one report to the General Assembly, Rev Lydia Neshangwe, from Zimbabwe writes: “For the majority of the world the situation of no jobs, no political stability, no insurances, no predictable measures, no certainty, no social safety nets, is a way of life.

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“This is why the coronavirus pandemic has been labelled the Great Revealer. It has simply revealed the already existing pandemics around us – the pandemic of poverty, the pandemic of racism, the pandemic of political disorder, and the pandemic of social decay.”

That is precisely why it is important that people from countries worst affected by all these pandemics and the pandemic of climate change are able to be at the same table as those from the rich “Global North”, and to have their stories heard by the whole world.

We have read in these pages that delegates from COP26 could be visiting our town. What a wonderful opportunity for us to learn first-hand the difference our actions could make to people around the world.

In Genesis chapter 2, we read: “The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed...to till it and keep it.”

We still have that same commission to care for the planet, so let us use new technologies to reduce our carbon footprint and to care for the earth and her people.

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