After attending this year’s General Assembly in Edinburgh, Gary Brough and his family visited our Presbytery for a week in June. They had been scheduled to visit in 2020, but the global pandemic intervened. A programme of events and visits was organised for Gary, his wife Jacqueline and daughters Eildih and Morven, which hopefully gave them a flavour of what is going on in our Presbytery, before we become part of the new Presbytery of South West Scotland later this year. Gary gave presentations at services at Kirkcudbright Parish Church and here at MaxWest. There was an Afternoon Tea at Castle Douglas Parish Church, a picnic at Crawick Multiverse and visits to Kirkcudbright Primary School and Kirkcudbright Academy where Gary had been Head Boy.

Giving us the background to his work in Malawi, Gary described his work with the Church and Society Programme [CSP] run by the Synod of Livingstonia which seeks to improve the lives of people in northern Malawi by promoting access to justice, advocating for good governance, empowering women and young people and building resilience to the climate crisis. He emphasised how CSP is hard at work to ensure that girls, at risk of child marriage and early pregnancy, are able to stay in school and pursue their own hopes for their future.
With schools closed during the pandemic, this put children at greater risk. Congregations and Guilds supported efforts to engage with communities and their local traditional leaders on the issue of child marriage. The work of the CSP emphasises the pursuit of justice for survivors of gender-based violence – a long and difficult process, which too often forces women to abandon the justice system and return to abusive relationships. The CPS legal team supports women by providing loans to help them start small businesses.

By the time that you read this, Gary, Jacqueline, Eilidh and Morven will be back in Malawi, along with their third child, Caitlin Rosie, born in Northern Ireland on 12th July. Mother and baby are both doing well. Congratulations!
Please remember the Broughs in your prayers as the family settle back to life in Malawi with their new addition, and Gary starts his new role with the General Assembly of CCAP.