Church in the news

The latest news on The Church of Scotland's work, events and activities from external media outlets.

Tuesday 10 November, 2015

The Herald publishes a commentary by CrossReach chief executive Peter Bailey on its 10th birthday.

"I am privileged to be part of an organisation which has a social care heritage stretching back almost 150 years, and which continues to support people in communities across Scotland every day.

"The Church of Scotland's professional involvement in social care began in 1869 with the establishment of the Church's Committee on Christian Life and Work. Since then, our organisation has experienced urbanisation and the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, two world wars and the establishment and continual reformation of the welfare state.

"In a changing society, we have had to innovate to survive. We, along with the rest of the sector we work in, have learned to respond positively to change." Read the rest of Peter Bailey's commentary here. (paywall)

The Press and Journal devotes a full page to the Aberdeen to Malawi Bikeathon, organised by a group of ministers whose congregations are twinned with congregations in Malawi through the world Mission Twinning programme. The aim is to raise money for people in need in rural Malawi. (print p26 of Highlands and Islands edition)

The Stornoway Gazette covers the Moderator's tribute to the fallen at Lewis War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday. See the story here.

The Press and Journal publishes a column by Rev Ron Ferguson on Conservative leader Ruth Davidson's recent admission that she had delayed coming out as a lesbian because she struggled to reconcile her sexuality with her faith as a Church of Scotland member. Ron says:

"As a minister, I changed my mind on the issue when I had conversations with Christians in same-sex partnerships. When I learned of the kind of things they had had to endure in churches, I marvelled at how they had managed to keep their faith. This, in turn, led me to look again at some of the biblical passages cited by opponents of same-sex partnerships, and at how texts taken out of historical context can be used like bullets.

"What disappointed me about the Church of Scotland studies of this important issue was that at no stage were Kirk sessions and presbyteries mandated to sit down with Christian gays and lesbians and listen to what they were saying.

"There were people who wanted 'gay free' churches. I hope they never get their will. And I hope the churches will always 'err' on the side of justice, compassion and generosity, reflecting the nature of the God they seek to serve." (print p24)

The Central Fife Times reports on the Moderator's visit to Dunfermline Presbytery publishing photos of Rt Rev Angus Morrison at the football Derby between the Blue Brazils and Dunfermline Athletic along with Rev Ron Ferguson and Cowdenbeath mascot Bluebell the cow. Read the story online.

The Central Fife Times also reports on the departure of Rev Dr Rebecca Prichard, who preached her final sermon on Sunday before returning home to California.

"St Serf's Church, in Lochgelly, was packed for the occasion - a testimony to the appreciation for her ministry over the last six months when she served as locum minister for Lochgelly and Benarty St Serfs Church of Scotland." Read thestory here.

WorldNetDaily website publishes what they call the "real" story of David Livingstone.

"David Livingstone had been raised in the Church of Scotland, then the Congregational Church, and committed his life to Christ to become a medical missionary to China. When the medical school required him to learn Latin, David Livingstone met a local Irish Catholic to tutor him, Daniel Gallagher, who later became a priest and founded St. Simon's Church in Glasgow...

"In his journal, David Livingstone wrote: 'I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time and eternity.'" Read the story here.

Monday 9 November, 2015

JJ Chalmers, son of Principal Clerk John Chalmers and a veteran who was injured in Afghanistan, was featured on BBC television's Andrew Marr Show's Remembrance coverage. (22:42) Watch the interview here.

Rev Dr Marjory Mclean featured on BBC 1's coverage of the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph, which also included the Queen and political leaders laying wreaths. View the programme here.

The Daily Record reported on Remembrance Sunday events happening across the region, writing:

"This Remembrance Sunday is of special significance with this year being the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Many people will have had fathers and grandfathers who fought and died during the six-year conflict including Jim Paxton, a Church of Scotland locum minister for Wishaw Old Parish Church and Craigneuk Belhaven.

"Jim, who himself served in the Army in the mid 1970s, will be remembering his father-in-law Sgt James Winspear, who was held as a prisonerof war by the Japanese following the fall of Hong Kong. James, who died in 1982 at the age of 70, was taken prisoner on Christmas Day 1941 when Hong Kong was captured by the Japanese. However, his diary of his time as a POW, which was hidden from his captors, remains in the Imperial War Museum in London. Jim said:

"'He joined the services when he was 15 as he got someone to pull a few strings for him.

"He left for Hong Kong in April 1939 before the war even began. He did suffer from post-traumatic stress during his life and also had terrible arthritis because of his treatment.'" Read the story here.

The Courier also reported on Remembrance Day services from Perth to Blairgowrie, Crieff and Auchterarder. (print p16)

The Press and Journal reported on Remembrance Services in Inverness, Fort William, and Lewis.

"The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rev Dr Angus Morrison, led the open-air Remembrance service at the Lewis War Memorial. He said the commemoration never fails to move him deeply. He said:

"It seems to me too that no-one can fail to be moved by the sheer scale of the sacrifices made by those who paid the price to secure our freedom"

The Courier reported that historic St Matthews in Perth held its last service yesterday before closing for a £800,000 refurbishment. The Church was built in 1871. The refurbishment has been supportedby local businesses and Perth and Kinross Council. (print p4)

A letter to The Herald praises Ruth Davidson, the Scottish conservative leader, for her courage in "coming out" as a lesbian.

"Like Ms Davidson I am a member of the Church of Scotland,and do believe the word of God is contained within the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, but I do not read them literally. If I did I might think child abuse and slavery were acceptable." (print p17)

The Aberdeen Evening Express reports on the installation of Professor David Fergusson as a Chaplain-in-Ordinary to the Queen. (print p 3)

The Edinburgh Evening News devoted a whole page to the installation of Professor David Fergusson to the Chapel Royal. (print p22)

Friday 6 November, 2015

The Herald reports on the installation of Prof David Fergusson as a Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen. Read the story here.

The Evening Times also reports on the addition to the Royal Chapel. Read the story here.

Dunfermline Press covers the Moderator's visit to a flower show.

"Dunfermline St Margaret's Church had a blooming lovely weekend as it jointly hosted a 'Banners and Flowers Festival' with the Dunfermline Floral Art Club.." the story says.

"Rev Iain Greenshields, minister at St Margaret's, said, 'It was an outstanding success, not only in quality but also in terms of attendance and support. It's been 40 years since we moved from the town centre to Touch and we wanted to do something special.

"We have people who've made great banners in the church over the last 10 years and we've also got people who have given flower arrangements for the church every week." Read the story here.

Scottish Housing News reports on the Churches' warning to the UK government that its Welfare Reform and Work Bill will fail to get people into work and will instead increase poverty.

"The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, said: "Scotland's Poverty Truth Commission works on the principle of involving people who have direct experience of living with the daily struggle against poverty in contributing to the policy-making process.

"The UK government needs to hear from the people who will be affected, such as the 46 per cent of families affected by the benefit cap who have found themselves in rent arrears." Read the story here.

Wednesday 4 November, 2015

The Huffington Post reports that the Department of Work and Pensions minister Priti Patel has ruled outlooking into whether benefits sanction harm claimants' mental health. The story adds:

"In January, a consortium of churches published their own report which found more than 100 people per day with mental health problems were being subject to sanctions - a higher rate among those with physical ailments.

Some 83 per cent of Work Programme participants with mental health issues surveyed said the scheme's "support" had only made their mental health problems worse.

The Methodist Church, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales and mental health charity Mind all then piled in to rebuke the Government, the former's policy advisor commenting: "The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed." Read the story here.

The Herald reports on the Scottish Parliament's vote against renewing the Trident nuclear programme, saying the decision was "morally and ethically abhorrent."(print p1,10)

Family Tree magazine publishes a feature on Scottish genealogical research that explains that Church of Scotland parish registers are available in digital form on the website.

The Big Issue reportson the need for affordable short-term loans for low-income people. The story quotes Very Rev John Chalmers saying, a responsible short term credit market is an absolute necessity. (print p13)

The Aberdeen Evening Express reports that the family of Bailey Gwynne has thanked community members for their support and care after the teenager died from a stab wound last week.The story mentions the vigil in Cults Parish Church which attracted hundreds of mourners. (print p6)

The story is also reported in the Irish Daily Mirror. (print p24)

The Courier publishes a story and photo showing an elder from Blairgowrie Parish Church receiving a certificate for his long service. Ron McLaren has served the Church for 30 years, including as treasurer. (print p7)

The Courier also publishes an interview with Catherine Stihler about her campaign to save the traditional role of rector at Scottish Universities. Elected rector of St Andrews University last year, the Dunfermline-based Member of the European Parliament credits her teacher parents for her commitment to Labour politics and says the Church of Scotland inspired her to help others. Read the story here.

In a feature called Where to Wed, the magazine Perfect Wedding includes information on how to contact the Church of Scotland.(print p161)

The Methodist Recorder reports on the meeting of the Methodist Council. The story, Discussions and Decisions notes that a Church of Scotland representative joined the Joint Public Issues Team six months ago which has proved "beneficial to both parties". (print p3)

The Herald reports on the Scottish Parliament's vote against renewing the Trident nuclear programme, saying the decision was "morally and ethically abhorrent."(print p1,10)

Third Force News carries a story about people feeling bullied by Jobcentre staff. The story quotes "Donna, a former Church of Scotland development worker from Glasgow," saying: "He made me feel like I was imagining my problems and I didn't have any problems," she said. "I would have been in a mental institution if I had stayed with that first adviser

"He was saying to me: 'It's not like you've got a leg missing.' Each time he made me cry.

"I would have been in a mental institution if I had stayed with that first adviser - or I would have shot him." Read the Third Force News story here.

An opinion piece in The Scotsman examines the relationship between faith and secularism. While not mentioning the Church of Scotland specifically, it seeks to show where secular and Christian belief systems may intersect. Read Fundamental truths about secularism here.