Divisional leaders’ honour at addressing the Scottish Parliament

published on 25 Apr 2018

The work of the Salvation Army in Scotland has been recognised by members of the Scottish Parliament.  

Majors Raelton and Lynn Gibbs, West Scotland Divisional Leaders, spoke of their honour at addressing MSPs in the main chamber at Holyrood yesterday.

In the parliament’s weekly Time for Reflection, Raelton and Lynn spoke about their joy at reading to their children and grandchildren, especially the story of Noah and the Arc. They told MSPS that just as people questioned Noah’s plans, so too were eyebrows raised when the Salvation Army in Easterhouse embarked on a boat project of its own.

But Like Noah’s Arc, the Salvation Army boat project has proven to be a lifesaver. In setting out to repair an old boat, Easterhouse Corps has built a community to help repair broken lives. 

Watch Raelton and Lynn’s speech to the Scottish Parliament or read it in full below:

“For 13 years now we have been in the best club in the world; the grandparents' club. We've recently welcomed into the world our third grandchild. How special and important are positive family relationships.

“Reading to our children and grandchildren has always been a joy. But their favourite story from the Old Testament is Noah. Initially the excitement of the animals coming in two by two and then beginning to understand how, in obedience, Noah built the arc when to everybody around it was an act of madness. Only when the rain came everyone thought Noah might not have been so crazy. But it came too late for them.

“For us, we were in danger of having similar thoughts to the crowd of people when we learnt the Salvation Army in the west of Scotland was building a boat in Easterhouse. On the face of it seemed a similar act of madness.

"But while the rain came and it wasn't for the same extent as Noah, we have seen quite a lot of rain in Glasgow in that time. What we have witnessed though is the building of this boat in a garage in Easterhouse brought together a group of people struggling with how to cope and come together. It has given them hope and a reason for change. This resulted in them developing a community and supporting each other. They have formed a walking club and a fishing group. They have formed positive relationships. One couple are now engaged to be married. They have achieved things we thought would never be possible. One gentleman has even started singing in the [Salvation Army] choir and even had the joy of singing here at parliament.

“So in getting involved and listening to some of the people, it has come as no surprise to learn that this project has little, if anything, to do with a boat. It has more to do with, acceptance, love, care and understanding. These are all the elements that make both community and those special important relationships that we all need.

“So whatever perspective we come from, whether it's political, scientific or spiritual, we are all working together to help those that are hopeless, friendship to those who are lonely and joy to those who are sad.

“We can make a difference as individuals but we will make a greater impact if we work together. As the Bible tells us: ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’"