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Christian Viewpoint: Ross-shire link of woman whose listening ear has helped so many


By Contributor

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Christina McCrae.
Christina McCrae.

I did some research before meeting Christina McCrae, and discovered that back in 2016, while volunteering with the National Trust on St Kilda, she made a small wooden boat, placed a message in it, and let it drift out to sea, writes John Dempster.

Five months later, she had a reply from a Norwegian family who had found her message on the shoreline.

We all need to communicate. Will we be heard? Will there be a meaningful reply?

Christina works in Inverness with Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland. She regularly visits some of the Eastgate Centre shops, chatting with staff, building relationships with them.

She tells me about the time she messed up badly in Australia, and then had a mental picture of a tennis court. On the other side of the net was Jesus. She said to him, “The ball is in your court now.”

She listens non-judgementally and in confidence, making space if people want to bring into the open any personal or work-related issues.

She also signposts folk to other helping agencies, and sometimes assists international traders communicate with the authorities.

Christina spends time with fire service staff, visits the Victorian Market and Dingwall Mart and runs a monthly Listening Post in the Eastgate Centre where anyone – staff or member of the public – can stop for a chat.

Whether we know it or not, God is present in our lives, with us on the daily shop floor of life.

Christina is as much a comforting presence in everyday troubles, as in tragedy and grief.

Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland is a Christian organisation. But, Christina tells me, “we are not Bible-bashing, we are not trying to convert.” On occasion, where it’s appropriate, she will talk about her own faith; sometimes she will pray with someone. But fundamentally her job is to listen so that people know they have been heard.

St Kilda
St Kilda

Christina describes her own inner journey. I hear of her Christian faith as a child in Ayrshire. She tells me about the time she messed up badly in Australia, and then had a mental picture of a tennis court. On the other side of the net was Jesus. She said to him, “The ball is in your court now.”

I hear of a worship service in New Zealand, a visit to a Billy Graham stadium meeting in Glasgow, and a time in Ross-shire churches where Christina discovered more about the Bible and following Jesus. At King’s Church in Smithton she has learned about “actually living out your faith in a different style, and being more proactive.”

“The Lord took me step by step,” she says.

Whether we know it or not, God is present in our lives, with us on the daily shop floor of life.

At times it may seem as if we’re on that island; our prayers like that small boat committed to uncertain waters. Will it founder, or reach its destination? Will there be a reply? God’s responses, as Christina discovered, come in many ways. One of these ways is via the ears and hearts of people like her, people through whom God chaplains us.


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