Minister’s May Message 2016
May 31, 2016
On Sunday 10th April I spoke in church about the loneliness that is an everyday fact of life for many people in our
parish and how we, as a church, rarely think about or talk about loneliness even though the consequences can be
alarming and even harmful. In our community, no age, marital or family stage is immune to loneliness. According the
census statistics, 22% of the homes around our church have one person living in them and 15% of the parish
population is elderly. These facts, along with the fact that social contact often decreases for older people for a variety
of reasons including retirement, the death of friends and family or lack of mobility, is contributing to loneliness
amongst elderly people in our Parish.
Recent studies carried out by the Voluntary Actions group of East Renfrewshire Council also point to the loneliness
existing amongst new mums, young people and people of all ages with additional support needs in our area which
are perpetuated by the absence of befriending opportunities. While for some this loneliness can be a temporary
feeling, for far too many people today it is a familiar feeling. Perhaps even more heart-breaking is the fact that lonely
people, tormented by the crushing thought that they are alone in the world, don’t feel that the church is there for
The social events team, the Youth Committee and the Conversations Legacy group in our church are currently trying
to find ways to address the loneliness that presently exists in our community. In the near future the Kirk Session
hopes to pilot Bookbug – which are free story, song and rhymes sessions for young children and their primary carers.
Two of our elders have been on the Bookbug training course and two more elders waiting to train are in the pipeline.
In the autumn, to try and combat the existing youth loneliness, the Youth Committee hopes to pilot a Saturday
evening club for young people in the community. In conjunction with Voluntary Action, East Renfrewshire, the youth
committee is currently investigating best practice and funding sources for this venture. The Social Events Committee
have committed themselves to looking at ways to make Saturday afternoons less lonely for people and are also
hoping to put something in place by the autumn. If you have any ideas about how we as a church might lessens
people’s loneliness or if you want to be involved in putting something together to combat loneliness, please contact
me or Jane at the church office so that you can be directed to the appropriate committee or group that might be able
to help put your something into practice..
I ended my sermon on 10th April by saying that we may not feel we have the ability to do very much, especially when
the need seems so great, but we don’t have to change the whole world. It’s more than enough for us to perhaps
discover one way to offer dignity and hope and the good news that God is still in the business of healing lonely lives.
If we all do that, we can make a huge difference to the lives of people in the community of Clarkston. We don’t know
whether the things we put in place will ultimately combat people’s loneliness but we have to try something. We may
not have all the answers but we can offer our prayers, our voices, our commitment and our companionship with the
hope that God will show us a way forward so that lonely people might know that their worth to Him, to the church
and to us is priceless.
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