Thank you to all who continue to support and encourage the work of the SRT, in whatever capacity- not least in remembering us in your prayers. A few highlights from the past few months:
Energy, fuel poverty and climate change: The report of this working group, which explores a number of important interlinked issues, is approaching completion. All being well, it should be presented to the General Assembly in May 2016.
Social Justice and Digital Surveillance: We all encounter surveillance in public places (CCTV, speed cameras); using online shopping sites or loyalty cards in supermarkets means that marketers are able to categorise us and target us so that we become ‘better’ consumers. But how is digital surveillance impacting upon issues of social justice? What does it mean to encounter surveillance which deepens marginalisation? Do particular forms of surveillance enhance efforts towards greater social justice? These are just a few of the questions which will be addressed by this working group, which plans to report to the General Assembly in May 2017.
Organ Transplantation: further to the work which we have been doing on “presumed consent” in organ transplantation, and the report which was accepted by the 2015 General Assembly, the SRT continues to dialogue with the Scottish Parliament around this issue.
Science festivals: The SRT event at the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016 will be based around the fuel poverty report mentioned above. This will take the form of a facilitated discussion, and will include a number of experts in different fields. The date and venue for the event will be advertised in due course. The EISF runs from March 26- April 10.
The EISF is just one of a number of science festivals held throughout the country. We continue to encourage congregations to consider getting involved in their local science festival- please see http://www.srtp.org.uk/srtp/view_article/scottish_science_festivals
Credit Unions: Karen Hunter has taken on responsibility for our work with CUs, and she has been very busy promoting this through talks to Presbyteries, etc. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with credit unions. The Churches Mutual Credit Union (CMCU) may be of particular interest to many: if you are interested in opening an account with them, please see the CMCU website, www.cmcu.org.uk
Good Money Week: As detailed elsewhere, we ran a very successful free half- day conference in Edinburgh in early October to mark Good Money Week. However, the SRT never rests on its laurels, so plans for next year’s event are already in hand. Watch this space!
Funeral poverty: The SRT has been continuing to work on this important issue with a number of organisations, including the Scottish Working Group on Funeral Poverty, the Church of Scotland Priority Areas forum and Quaker Social Action.
Digital divide: There is clearly an opportunity for individual churches and presbyteries to have a positive impact on their communities; we are seeking the best way to help facilitate this impact. The digital divide group, working with our colleagues in SCVO, are keen to hear from churches who have been able to harness the positive power of digital technologies in their local areas.