Pastor Oli Higham in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh with his wife Aliona and children Sofia, 13, and Theo, 11, and Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie.

By Bill Heaney

MSP Jackie Baillie was delighted to welcome Pastor Oli Higham of Rock Community Church to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to lead Time for Reflection.

His was the opening contribution at the start of the parliamentary week, which is aimed at allowing members to reflect on their public duties.

During his powerful speech, he named a number of valued community members in the West End of Dumbarton where Oli is involved with the Rock Community Church and the Phoenix community hub in the old Co-op store at Quarry Knowe in Castlehill..

He travelled to Edinburgh for the day with his wife Aliona and children Sofia, 13, and Theo, 11.

The family enjoyed a tour around the Scottish Parliament building after Time for Reflection.

Jackie Baillie, the Dumbarton constituency MSP, said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Oli and his family to the Parliament.

“His Time for Reflection was incredibly moving as he paid tribute to so many community champions in Dumbarton who continually go above and beyond the call of duty for others.

“This is what makes the community of Dumbarton and the surrounding areas so amazing.

“Oli and the team at the Rock Community Church and the Phoenix do incredible work within the areas of Westcliff, Castlehill and Brucehill and it was really heartwarming to hear of some of the ways in which they help inspire and encourage people to thrive.”

Pastor Oli Higham said: “I was delighted to lead Time for Reflection.

“It was an honour to be able to bring the stories of the community work which goes on in Dumbarton every day to a wider audience.

“I am sure this is replicated across the country and I hope this inspired Members of the Scottish Parliament to focus on this when making important decisions which matter to each and every one of us living in Scotland.”

Pictures of Pastor Higham along with his family and Jackie Baillie at the Scottish Parliament are attached. 


Pastor Higham’s Time for Reflection can be viewed at https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/meeting-of-the-parliament-june-6-2023?clip_start=14:00:07&clip_end=14:03:54

West Enders – incredible people in one of Scotland’s most impoverished communities

By Pastor Oli Higham

I live in a Scottish index of multiple deprivation data zone that is in the bottom two per cent of Scotland, Pastor Oli Higham, of the Rock Community Church in Dumbarton told the Holyrood parliament on Tuesday.

His full contribution at Time for Reflection read: “Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, may I offer you an invitation: an invitation to pause and reflect before you take on today’s business, and to be reminded of the incredible people whom you are representing today.

“I am from one of Scotland’s most impoverished communities. I live in a Scottish index of multiple deprivation data zone that is in the bottom two per cent of Scotland.

“Around the corner is the Phoenix, which is a community centre offering a wide range of activities and opportunities that our church runs.

“We aim to primarily serve three communities in the west end of Dumbarton: Castlehill, Brucehill and Westcliff.

“If we represented those areas statistically, it would be bleak reading, with stark and uncomfortable levels of poverty, educational attainment, unemployment and the same addictions that blight many of our communities.”

Pastor Higham added: “However, these are also communities full of incredible individuals. We believe that we are a richer people for their presence and their God-given talents.

“You will make decisions today that affect our nation. Can I encourage you today not to consider Scotland as a series of data points but as the remarkable individuals whom you know in your own communities, from every strata of society, who carry the beautiful talents and giftings that God has bestowed on them.

“As a means to help you reflect, let me name some amazing people from my own community.

“They include Fiona from Brucehill, who volunteers at our youth club and helps us to provide free breakfasts to our community; Naomi from Castlehill, who is part of the leadership team for our church community and brings joy wherever she goes; Lottie from Westcliff, who delivers a range of arts activities for our community and beyond; David and Gemma from Castlehill, who run taekwondo classes, providing physical and mental health support; Janice from Brucehill, who helps to bring our community together; Cathy from Westcliff, who helps us to provide a range of activities for babies, toddlers and their parents; and Iain from Castlehill, who volunteers, giving drum lessons to local kids and free haircuts to our community.

“I could name many, many more, but time does not allow it. So, let me finish, as I started, with an invitation: as you make decisions in this chamber today, may you see not just data and statistics, but the faces of the remarkable people who make up this nation. May God’s peace be with you today.”

‘I live in a Scottish index of multiple deprivation data zone that is in the bottom two per cent of Scotland’, Pastor Oli Higham, of the Rock Community Church in Dumbarton

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