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How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10.14

For the last two days the Gaelic College of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, national centre for the Gaelic language and culture, has been celebrating its 50th anniversary - with a conference reflecting on the past, present and future. This morning it's my turn to make a presentation, on Gaelic and the Church.

This relationship goes to the heart of who we are. Pagan Pictland was converted and colonised by the Gaelic-speaking Scots, whose identity became synonymous with the nation they created. Over the years it might be claimed that Scotland has been colonised again by those speaking different language and worshipping other gods or none.

Perhaps that is contentious? Better to concentrate what is positive. With so much to draw on, I shall contend for better awareness of our history, both in our schools and theological colleges. I shall celebrate the initiatives that are already happening - in various churches and para-church organisations. And I shall sketch the resources of material and expertise we shall need to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Many would agree that these are difficult days for Gaelic and the Church. Yet there are signs that people are disillusioned with rampant secularism and the superficiality of social-media. Might there be an appetite for going deeper, into something sustainable, meaningful - and already ours!



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