As welfare reforms start to bite, Midlothian Christians have come together, in partnership with the council, to tackle poverty in the area.
It is church initiatives like this and the recently established Midlothian foodbank, which appear to be making the church more relevant, reaching out to support the local community.
The Council and Church Liaison Group made a presentation to a full council meeting at Midlothian House recently, about local poverty in the wake of the recent changes.
The liaison group meets regularly and has representation from Midlothian Council and a number of churches across the county, as well as the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland.
Ms Halley believes it is important that the Church connects with the local community.
She said: “It is important that the church is relevant to the realities of everyday life for people, many of whom are struggling with changes to welfare benefits. The Penicuik food store was set up in response to this.
“Inspired by what we have seen and judged of welfare reform and poverty, the Church and Council might ask together: ‘What is our long term goal? What is it that we want to change? What are we going to do about it now? Who else can we involve in our action?’
“In considering such questions we reveal and reflect our values and concerns, and in these we may find that we share common purpose with others.”
Read more on this story in the November 7 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.