As the new decade dawns in Edinburgh, there is much to be praying about as our MSPs enter their final full year of work before the election next year.

It feels like something of a new season in politics across the United Kingdom as December’s General Election saw a new UK Government established with a significant majority. This matters because it meant that the UK’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement duly passed by 99 votes last week, ending the uncertainty of whether Brexit would actually happen or not. It also proved to be a catalyst for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive in Stormont, and gave Prime Minister Boris Johnson renewed confidence to formally reject Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s request for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

As a result, much more attention is being centered on the day-to-day domestic issues that have always been ongoing throughout the Brexit deadlock. Here in Scotland, there is much to look out for in 2020. We encourage our members, churches and communities to engage throughout on the issues that matter most to them. This article will outline just a few of the most significant ones.



With the SNP entering 2020 with a renewed mandate from the General Election (where they won 48 out of 59 seats in Scotland), the issue of Scottish independence will remain high on the news agenda throughout 2020. Linked to it will be the measures the Scottish Government is planning to take in light of the UK entering the Brexit transition period from the end of January, as well as the ways in which the Scottish Parliament will support or distance themselves from the Scottish Government’s position.

The key issue at the heart of these discussions is uncertainty about the future of where we live. As we lift up Scotland in prayer this year, we can love our neighbour this year in an eternally significant way; through sharing the certainty of the hope we have through having faith in Jesus Christ:

In Him [Jesus] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13 – 14, ESV, emphasis mine)

COP 26 & The Circular Economy Bill

Last month we encouraged our members to contribute to the Scottish Government’s consultation on their upcoming Circular Economy Bill, which is aiming to make Scotland’s economy more environmentally sustainable. It’s safe to say that 2019 was a defining year with high profile environmental activism and awareness, after which many governments around the world committed to become carbon-neutral in their energy mix in just a few decades’ time. We look forward to seeing the positive changes the Circular Economy Bill could bring as part of Scotland’s contribution to mitigating climate change.

We are also looking ahead to November with anticipation as the UN’s annual Climate Change Conference, COP26 (the 26th annual meeting) will be taking place in Glasgow. To put this into perspective, our biggest city will be hosting 30,000 delegates and 200 national leaders as the world comes together to work out a way forward for the future of the planet. While the main conference will be taking place at the Scottish Events Campus, the Glasgow Science Centre across the Clyde will become a hub for community groups and the public to get involved in the process.

The theology of stewardship to which Christians hold is drawn from across the breadth of the Bible. What is undisputed is that God has given humans a duty to look after the world that He has created:

God blessed them [Adam & Eve] and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”…God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:28, 31, NIV, emphasis mine)

When God created the world He gave humans the instruction to look after it. Therefore, we must all reflect on how we might be contributing to the harming of our planet through our life choices and actions. There is much thinking to be done in Holyrood this year about how we as a nation can fulfil our commission to steward the earth and its resources.

Gender Recognition Reform

The Scottish Government’s proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act are proving to be controversial and complicated, and the debates around them have at times been anything but respectful.

The proposed reforms would make it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender, which the Scottish Government believes is necessary as the current system can be traumatic and demeaning” for those who go through it. The new legislation would no longer require medical evidence of gender dysphoria and someone would have to live in the gender they are acquiring for at least 6 months for there to be approval. The proposed deterrent against misuse of the system would continue to be that it is a criminal offense to make a false statutory declaration, however it is unclear whether how and if this would ever be used. The minimum age of an application would be reduced from 18 to 16. Many concerns have been raised from various groups across Scotland about the implications of these reforms for the rights of women and others.

In order to find out what Scotland thinks about the issue, the Scottish Government opened a consultation on the draft bill which anyone can contribute to by 17th March here:

The debate around this issue has been notable for loud and warring factions, but there has also been a genuine desire to protect vulnerable people. A key mark of those who follow Jesus is that they will seek the best for those they disagree with, it is possible to amicably disagree on a sensitive issue with others while also treating them with respect, a level of understanding, and self-sacrificial love. We won’t necessarily be received well for doing so, but when Jesus did the same He wasn’t always either. The Evangelical Alliance’s Transformed resource seeks to offer Christians an introduction to the biblical and pastoral issues involved.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also…Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that…Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27 – 29, 31 – 33, 36NIV)

As this debate takes centre stage in Holyrood in 2020, let’s advocate our positions in a way that reflects Jesus’ teaching to us.

Our Advocacy in 2020

As we look ahead as a team for our advocacy work in 2020 we are excited about how we can represent our members in Holyrood in a way that reflects Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for us on the Cross. As Christians, let us be known as people who do politics differently, who approach these difficult issues with care, understanding, humility and boldness. Scotland will go through many changes in 2020, but we have a God above who never does.

So let’s engage in the political process at Holyrood. Let’s pray for our MSPs and invite them to our welcoming churches. Let’s respond to consultations in honest and Gospel-centered ways. Let’s participate in the politics winsomely and honourably. Above all, let us glorify God in Scotland this year.