Church in the news

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

Tuesday 3 November, 2015

The Scotsman reports on the Scottish Labour Party's decision to oppose the Trident nuclear submarine programme, adding comment from Rev Sally Foster Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council.

"Church of Scotland leaders last night called on MSPs tounite in opposition to the nuclear weapons system.

"The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Kirk's Church and Society Council, said: "There is no place in Scotland, the UK or any partof the word for weapons which unleash unspeakable evil and destruction.

"To hold them as a threat is abhorrent and to consider replacing our current nuclear capability is morally wrong. We need rid of these weapons and we need rid of them now.

"The Church of Scotland has had a long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons stretching back over thirty years." Read the story here.

Read the Church's statement in full on our website.

The Edinburgh Evening News covers the selection of Rev Russell Barr as the next Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. (print p38)

The Evening News also covers the story of the Fortingall Yew, which has produced berries despite being a predominantly male tree. Surprising botanists, part of the tree appears to have changed sex. (print p15)

The Daily Record covers the Fortingall Yew's change of sex too. (print p19)

The Sun reports on the tree's unexpected behaviour. (print p27)

The Glasgow EveningTimes reports that the family of slain teenager Bailey Gwynne has visited Cults Academy and has thanked the community for its support. The story mentions the vigil organized by Cults Parish Church that brought hundreds of people together to mourn the teenager. Read the story here.

Also covering the story are:

The Dundee Telegraph: Read the story here.

The Aberdeen Evening Express (print p2)

The Scotsman publishes an obituary for Shetland poet Stella Sutherland noting that:

"The kirk was always important to her and for many years she shared the organist's role with Mrs Madge Gifford. She had a good alto voice and if not playing the organ she would often be in the choir."

Monday 2 November, 2015

The Courier and The Times both report on The Fortingall Yew, the oldest and most famous tree in Scotland, situated in the churchyard of Fortingall Parish Church. About 5,000 years old, the tree—or at least part of the tree—has surprised botanists by apparently changing sex. According to TheTimes:

"Max Coleman of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, made the discovery after finding a group of red berries on the tree.

"He said, 'Yews are normally either male or female, and in the autumn and winter sexing yews is generally easy. Males have small spherical structures that release clouds of pollen when they mature. Females hold bright red berries from autumn into winter.

"'It was therefore quite a surprise to me to find a group of three ripe red berries on the Fortingall Yew when the rest of the tree was clearly male.'" (The Times: Print p24, The Courier: Print p21)

The Courier reports on the conclusion of the Moderator's visit to Dunfermline Presbytery with a photo of the special service at Dunfermline Abbey Sunday. (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. (print p24)

The Courier reports that Dundee Menzieshill Parish Church has been awarded £9,950 in Lottery Funding. The money will renovate the toilets in the Church Hall, which is used by local community groups. (print p8)

BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Business programme focused on faith, business and social enterprise, 1 November. The Church of Scotland is mentioned in regards to a recent trip to India. Church of Scotland, the Guild and the WEvolution project are mentioned 4 minutes into the programme. Listen to the show here.

The Church Times reports on the Church's call for a full review of benefit sanctions.

"A GROUP of Churches and charities have openly criticised the Government's response to the latest report on the welfare system because it fails to make a commitment to a "full review" of benefit sanctions.

"In a joint statement on Thursday of last week, the Church in Wales, together with the Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union, and the charity Church Action on Poverty, said that the policy changes outlined by the Department for Work and Pensions are "not enough", and called for a full independent review of the system." Read the Church times story here.

Press interest continues in the community impact of the tragic death of a teenager at Cults Academy last week.

The Times reports that during his Sunday service Rev Ewen Gilchrist of Cults Parish Church cautioned against heightening security in schools in reaction to the stabbing death. Mr Gilchrist is quoted saying:

"It seems to me that we have already turned more and more our primary schools into mini prisons, with the debate and response to the risk of paedophilia, sexual abuse and so on. I think sometimes we have overreacted to all of that and taken away some of the uncomplicated joy and freedom that young children should have." (print p18)

The Daily Record reports on yesterday's service at Cults Parish Church, which offered prayers for teenager Bailey Gwynne, who died last week at Cults Academy after being stabbed. Another teenager has been charged with murder. Rev Ewen Gilchrist is quoted offering prayers for the families of both teenagers.

Friday 30 October, 2015

Practically every major media outlet in the UK has published/broadcast content about a candlelight vigil held at Cults Parish Church in Aberdeen last night an event to allow people to mourn and reflect on the tragic death of 16-year-old Bailey Gwynne at Cults Academy.

The service was led by minister the Rev Ewen Gilchrist who gave numerous television and radio interviews to outlets including Channel 4, ITN and BBC about a stabbing that has shocked Scotland. National Youth Assembly Moderator Hannah Mary Goodlad was interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland this morning.

The story hit the front pages of newspapers including The Times andThe Scotsman and extensive coverage appeared in outlets such as The Daily Mail,The Guardian , The Sun, The Daily Record, The Herald, The Courier. The Aberdeen Press and Journal'scoverage of the service can be read here.

The announcement that Edinburgh minister the Rev Dr Russell Barr has been elected the next Moderator of the General Assembly has received significant attention in the media.

Outlets that carried the story included The BBC (online, TV and radio) The Herald, The Times, The Scotsman, The Press and JournalThe National, STV online, Paisley Daily Express, Evening Times, Evening Expressand Evening News. More than 20 local newspapers have carried the story.

The Press and Journal has published an article about a village minister who opened up her manse to the local GP practice after the medical centre in Fort Augustus burnt down.

The Highland News also published the story about the Rev Tabea Baader who decided to act to prevent poorly residents in the Loch Ness-side village being forced to travel more than an hour to Inverness or Fort William for treatment.The article on the Church's Facebook page has been seen by around 15,000 people three times the circulation of some weekly newspapers.

The Herald has published a diary piece about the fact that the Most Reverend Leo Cushley, Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh now follows the Church on Twitter.

The Courier has published an article about the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison who visited Dunfermline High School to take part in a debate with all Dunfermline cluster secondary pupils.

The Stirling Observer has published an article about city minister the Rev Alan Miller who is going to China with the Church of Scotland's World Mission Council to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Amity Foundation.

Wednesday 28 October, 2015

The Inverness Courier reports on a fire in Fort Augustus that destroyed a health centre. The local Church of Scotland minister Rev Tabea Baader has welcomed the clinic into the manse until an alternative site is located.

"Alternative medical facilities are being sought for Fort Augustus after fire ripped through the village's health centre on Sunday. NHS Highland and Highland Council are working together to make emergency arrangements while a permanent solution is found. Yesterday , patients of the Cill Chuimein medical centre were directed to a temporary clinic in the neighbouring Church of Scotland manse and to the Fort William-based out-of-hours service." Read the story here.

The Herald's front page story "The Scourge of Loneliness" covers a report by the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunity Committee called Age and Social Isolation. The report calls for a national strategy to combat loneliness and social isolation."It is thought to have been the first parliamentary inquiry anywhere in the world to analyse the health and social burden of loneliness.

"Loneliness should be treated as a public health priority on a par with poverty and poor housing, MSPs have said. Social isolation is linked to malnutrition and dementia, with the stigma of admitting to loneliness driving people into desperate situations, according to campaigners." The Scourge of Loneliness.

The Independent covers a report from the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty that took a year to prepare. The report contains 14 proposals to reduce food poverty. The story says: "The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, whose report is out today, said that it was not clear how David Cameron actually intended to stop people from going hungry.

"The commission has even found that the Government has no count of the number of people who currently lack secure access to nutritious, affordable food.

"Recorded food bank use passed one million people over the last year, according to figures from the Trussell Trust, which showed a 19 per cent year-on-year increase to April this year.

"NHS statistics released this week show that the number of people admitted to hospital diagnosed with malnutrition had risen more than 50 per cent in the last four years and was now over 7,000." Read The Independent's story here.

The Sun reports that The Church of Scotland is one of a group of churches asking the Chancellor to reconsider changes to tax credits. The story quotes Rev Dr Richard Frazer saying:

"There is huge disquiet that the proposed cuts will not only fail in the intended aim to encourage people into good quality work but they will victimise the very people the Government is keenest to support." (print p2)

Dunfermline Press reports on the rededication of Rosyth Parish Church after a £690,000 fundraising effort.

The Church "had fallen into disrepair and been shut for 11 years but the B-listed place of worship on Queensferry Road threw its doors open for a special service to mark the completion of a major renovation. Deacon Morag Crawford told the Press:

"The one thing people kept asking was when the bells would ring again so it was good to see so many people there and appreciating the work that has been done.

"At the beginning it had seemed an impossible task, overwhelming when we said how much it would cost." Read the Dunfermline Press story here.

Third Force News reports that the Open University has awarded an honorary degree to Dr Alison Elliot OBE, the first woman chosen as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Read the Third Force News story here.

The Scotsman's Here and Now column notes that on this day in 2003: "The Church of Scotland ended centuries of male domination by appointing Dr Alison Elliot as the first female Moderator of the General Assembly." (print p35)