Thought for the Week

AT THE end of September, Montrose welcomed African Children’s Choir 38 who performed in the Old & St Andrew’s Church. Seventeen children, aged between eight and 10 years, sang, danced and played instruments for an audience of more than 400.

We also heard about the children’s experiences in their home country of Uganda and of their dreams for the future with one little boy telling us that he wanted to be the President of Uganda!

These talented children are part of a Christian organisation which works in seven countries throughout the African continent giving children and young people hope for the future.

The African Children’s Choir was founded in 1984 when one man, Ray Barnett, gave a small boy a ride from his decimated home to safety in another village. As children often do on a journey, the small boy started to sing.

That simple song of dignity and hope became the catalyst for a programme that has changed the lives of thousands of children in Africa. In 1984 the first African Children’s Choir was founded and went on tour in North America, raising funds to purchase Makerere, a children’s home in Kampala, Uganda.

Over the last 25 plus years, the success of the choir has enabled the building of a teacher training college, a music academy, a primary and a secondary school as well as more children’s homes in Africa.

In the New Testament, James Chapter 2, we read: “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?”

One person can make a difference if they have the vision and faith to follow through.

What was Ray Barnett hoping for when he set up the first African Children’s Choir? Did he envisage it would grow to such a phenomenal success, helping thousands of children? Ray had faith and took action, involving others to achieve his dream of helping children who had nothing – no food, no clothing, no shelter – and who had no chance of an education.

Faith is not just words – we need to take action and show our faith by deeds. It doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking we embark on, it may be something very small and perhaps insignificant to us but it may make a huge difference to others - a friendly smile, a helping hand, a lift on a rainy day – what actions demonstrate your faith?

Elaine McLean

Old & St Andrew’s Church