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Queensferry Crossing opening marked with church's bridge of kindness

Wed 30 Aug 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

Church members have carried out 320 acts of kindness to mark the official opening of the Queensferry Crossing.

The new crossing over the Firth of Forth opened to traffic for the first time Wednesday morning, after more than a decade of planning.

It's the longest free-standing balanced cantilever bridge in the world and has cost more than £1.3 billion pounds to build.

The structure inspired the congregation at Queensferry Parish Church to reach out to people in the local community.

Jane Barlow/PA Wire

 

Over the last year, people of all ages have engaged in a wide range of activities to assist people such as DIY, litter picking and gardening.

They have kept a record of what they have done on post-it notes attached to a drawing of the bridge.

Derek Hobson, a member of the church community team, said: "This was initiated in recognition of the constant need for the church to be building bridges with the surrounding community.

"Using an official drawing of the Queensferry Crossing as a template, the church was able to make its own 9ft drawing of what we call the Bridge of Kindness.

"After each act of kindness has been shared, members are invited to colour in one of the segments of the road deck, the towers or one of the viaduct supports which equates to 320 pieces."

Hobson said children within the congregation have been particularly enthusiastic about the project, which was finally completed on Sunday.

Church of Scotland

 

He told Premier News Hour: "They've been doing acts of kindness at homes, doing acts of kindness at school, helping in all sorts of ways. They've been helping people who have been hurt."

Hobson, who lives close to the bridge, said church members personally identified with the bridge because it is "right on our doorstep".

He added that it's brought people together within the Queensferry community as it was topic of discussion for several years.

He said he hopes the unity develops as the church seeks to continue to build a bridge between the community and the Church.

Hobson said: "We have got to go out to them so we can engage with them where they are and show that the love of Jesus Christ is relevant to them in their situation.

"Many have gone out of their way to be kind in the home and among their friends and seeking to include those who have no friends.

"Older members of the congregation have also played their part in giving lifts, cooking, baking, gardening for those in need, to name but a few."

Church of Scotland

 

Rev David Cameron, Minister at Queensferry Parish Church, said the new bridge was an impressive feat of engineering and the design complemented the existing road and rail bridges.

"We have a striking cross on the wall of the sanctuary of the church which sums up our faith really well," he added.

"It points upward and reminds us of the importance of our relationship with God.

"But it also points outwards and speaks to the importance of living out our faith and showing love and kindness to our communities."

Jane Barlow/PA Wire

 

Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will bless the bridge next Monday.

He said he was "thrilled" to be accompanying Her Majesty the Queen who is officially opening the structure, which spans the Firth of Forth and connects Fife to Lothian.

The event will include a welcome address by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a specially commissioned poem read by Scotland's Makar, Jackie Kay, and live performances showcasing a cross-section of Scotland's rich musical talent.

Listen to Derek Hobson speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here:


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