“Looking Forward” by the Rev John Carrie
A great deal has changed in the 350 years since Queensferry Parish Church was established. The town has expanded far beyond the old boundaries and the population has multiplied a dozen fold. In 1635 there was no school, now there are four. In 1635 the main employment was on the sea and on the land, now it is in electronics and service industries in Edinburgh. Then we had a Burgh Council, now we are governed from Edinburgh and Whitehall. In the early days most of the population attended the Church, now it is only a minority.
What do the next 350 years hold? Assuming that our population is not wiped out by nuclear war or an environmental catastrophe, I assert as a matter of faith that there will be a vital and caring Christian community in Queensferry in 2335 A.D. Towards this end the Church must now devote increasing energy to promote disarmament and a sustainable society. At a local level we must give higher priority to Christian nurture in the home and within the church.
I anticipate also that the present denominational barriers will crumble and that in the future church buildings will be shared by different Christian traditions with many different forms of worship taking place on a particular Sunday. Although there will probably continue to be full-time ministers in the centuries ahead, lay people will play a fuller part not only in administration but in worship, particularly with small groups in homes, and in caring.
We of course cannot dictate how things are to be in 2335 A. D. but we can and must ensure that the Christian faith we have inherited is passed on to the next generation.