Church in the news

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

Friday 7 August, 2015

The Argyllshire Advertiser reports that four years after its roof was damaged in a storm, the refurbishment of Tarbert Church of Scotland is near completion.

The Stornoway Gazette reports that Tarbert Church was "packed to capacity" Friday 3rd July for the induction of Rev Ian Murdo MacDonald as the new minister.

After tributes to Mr MacDonald from office-bearers in his former congregation the new minister replied suitably, expressing his own and his family's delight at being here, thankful to God for His leading in the process hitherto and asking for the prayers of the whole congregation for God's blessing on the new ministry which had just begun."

The Mearns Leader reports that residents of Johnshaven have put together a bid to buy the Parish church, which is up for sale. The story says:

"Minister of Mearns Coastal Parish Church Colin Dempster has said that he would like to see the building remain as a place of worship.

'As the Parish Minister, along with other members of the Church and community, weare obviously very sad that such a lovely wee church cannot be saved for the public worship of God and other community

'Due to the severe financial restrictions upon the Church as a whole, that is Mearns Coastal Parish Church, it was felt that we could only maintain one building and that as St Cyrus Church was by far the highest attendance and being blessed with even more coming along to Sunday Worship over the past few years, that it would be best to use St Cyrus Church.'"

The deadline for bids on the 155-year-old building is today, Friday, 7 August.

TheKincardineshire Observer also reports on the community bid for Johnshaven Church.

The Highland News reports that a father and son from Inverness are heading to Tanzania to build homes for some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. Tanzania ranks 151st out of 181 in the UN Development index. The Kilimanjaro area where they will be working is home to many orphans and street children who have lost parents to illnesses such as malaria and AIDS.

"David Maclean and his 15-year-old son Lewis will travel to Tanzania in March as part of a work party made up of members of St Columba Church of Scotland and senior pupils from Inverness Royal Academy…Mr Maclean, of Drumfield Road, Holm, also has experience of football coaching and hopes to use his skills to work with the children there." (print)

The Falkirk Herald reports on Rev Kay Brown's new book, Now I See, which brings characters from the Bible face-to-face with Jesus. (print)

The Berwickshire News 'Thought for the Week' column was written by Rev Andy Haddow of Coldingham and St Abbs with Eyemouth Parish Church of Scotland. He talks about how our connection to faith changes our view of ourselves for the better.

"We are told in Peter's first letter found in the Bible that we are built like living stones upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Because of this we are a'chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God'(1 Peter 2v9).

Indeed.God calls us his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), his beloved child (1 John 3v1)and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5v17).

To understand our identity, we need to grasp God's identity and be transformed by what God has to say about us."

The South Wales Echo and Wales Onlinereport that Welsh organist John Richards, from Cardiff is on course to play all cathedrals in Britain after visiting nine in Scotland.

"I had a fantastic week in Scotland. I played Calon Lan at the cathedral in Millport for a lady from Machynlleth who lives up there now and I played the Welsh national anthem at Paisley Abbey after being asked to by a lady in the coffee shop there."

The Paisley Daily Express carries an obituary for Rev Alexander C Barr, who married more than 1000 couples during his career.

A former Moderator of the Presbytery of Glasgow and a graduate of Edinburgh University: "He enjoyed spells as minister of Burnfoot Parish Church, in Hawick, and Methil Parish Church, in Fife, before finishing his ministry at St Nicholas' Cardonald Parish Church, where he and Mrs Barr spent 25 years." (print)

Thursday 6 August, 2015

The Times reports that going to church is connected to happiness as people age in its article: Church, not charity, helps a happy old age.

"A study of almost 10,000 people over the age of 50 has tried to discover the kind of social activities that made people less likely to be depressed.

Over four years, people across Europe were asked whether they engaged in voluntary work, education, sports and social clubs and political or religious organisations."

The Stirling Observer reports on the progress of the Eco-Congregations' Climate Baton which is circulating among churches to raise awareness and interest in the conference on climate change in Paris this November-December.

"Rev Sally Foster Fulton of Dunblane Cathedral said: 'At the beginning of December in Paris over 190 countries will meet to attempt to negotiate a deal on climate change to limit emissions from developed countries and help developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change and develop low-carbon economies. The burden of climate change often falls most heavily on the poorest in the world, those who have done least to cause it. This is a matter of social justice, as well as caring for God's creation.'" (print)

The Bayou Buzz in Louisiana, USA, reports on the Church's concerns about Nepal's religious policy.

"The Church of Scotland is concerned that Hindu groups might succeed in restoring Hinduism as Nepal's state religion, thus endangering Christian activities in the country.

The Moderator of the General Assembly wrote to British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and Scottish Minister for International Development Humza Yousaf to raise the matter.

"The growing threat to religious freedom around the world is, I believe, one of the most pressing issues of our time," said Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, moderator of the Church's general assembly."

The Times of Israel reports that a network of Friends of Israel groups in Scotland is putting out pro-Israel messages with the aim of reaching church members and to counter what they see as a negative view of Israel. Nigel Goodrich, a former lay preacher in the Free Church of Scotland,is quoted.

"'We've brought people together who care for Israel for a variety of different reasons.' said Goodrich. Many of them, he believes, are Christians who are frustrated by the attitudes of their church leadership. 'For example, the Church of Scotland does not support Israel.'"

The Times of Israel continues:

"The Church of Scotland issued a controversial report in 2013 which questioned the divine right of Jews to the Land of Israel, and last year resolutions were again tabled asking for the Church to impose Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions measures against Israel.

Now formed into a Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland, Goodrich's troops are out on the streets week after week, challenging perceptions. And they are already getting some interesting feedback. 'There are usually people telling us that they are sick of hearing about the Palestinians all the time," said chair of the Edinburgh Friends, Dorothé Kaufmann. Whenever her group sets up a stall or hands out leaflets, she said people "can't believe that Israel is an apartheid state, but they say they are not getting any other message — so they are quite pleased to read our material.'"

On our own Church of Scotland website we report that Rev Kay Brown a workplace chaplain in Falkirk has written a book that brings Biblical figures face to face with Jesus.

Also on our own website we interview Rev Susan Brown who is working to support the Dornoch community after 22-year-old chef Lachlan Simpson'sdisappearance after a dance just over a week ago.

Wednesday 5 August, 2015

The Daily Record reports on the future of the Cambuslang Parish Church's Kirkhill sanctuary building.

"In a letter sent to all members of the congregation, Rev Dr Leslie Milton said: "The church building at Kirkhill is an important site in the history of Cambuslang. Kirk session is aware that this building is currently underused, and its current use does not serve our mission as a Christian congregation.

"We have been considering whether there are ways of allowing the building to be used that will respect its place at the centre of our community.

"The kirk session has concluded that now might be an appropriate time to investigate alternative uses for the Kirkhill sanctuary."

Ekklesia and The Methodist Church both report on itswebsite that,"People with mental health problems bear the brunt of benefit sanctions in Wales." The story adds Welsh data to the Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions report produced in March 2015 for Church Action on Poverty and the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Church in Wales and the Church of Scotland.

Stories at Methodist website: Ekklesia:

The Herald writes about the sale of Thomas Chalmers birthplace in a story titled Bless these Houses in its print edition:

"The B-listed house in Anstruther that was the birthplace of theologian Thomas Chalmers in 1780 is for sale at offers over £295,000. Widely regarded to be Scotland's greatest 19th century churchman, Chalmers was a professor of theology, political activist, leader of the Church of Scotland and founderof the Free Church of Scotland – and from 1815 to 1818 he was the minister of Tron Church in Glasgow, now the Tron Theatre.";(print)

Tuesday 4 August, 2015

The Paisley Daily Express reports that a group of volunteers have published a history of Bishopton Parish Church in Renfrewshire, as part of celebrations marking 200 years of worship in the current church building.

"A Renfrewshire Parish – A New History of Bishopton Church also reveals that the records of Paisley Abbey show the presence of a church on or near the present site as long ago as the 13th century." (print)

The Press and Journal reports that villagers from Johnshaven in Aberdeenshire have failed to raise £75,000 to buy Johnshaven Church. The Johnshaven congregation merged with St Cyrus congregation to form the Mearns Coastal Parish 16 years ago. The building needs a new roof and renovation.

The story quotes Mearns Parish Church minister, Rev. Colin Dempster saying, "Alas, after a valiant attempt at saving the church, there was no viable way to come up with a firm offer to buy the building. He added that services would be retained at Johnshaven Church on the last Sunday of each month for the time being, with transport laid on to St Cyrus Church on all other Sundays." (print)

Also in the Press and Journal, community minister Ron Ferguson writes a column saying:"…compassion is a huge virtue. It makes the world turn. It takes many forms. Simple acts of human kindness can transform lives. As a minister, I have seen it at close hand, and it is wonderful to behold. In a world in which narcissism and rage seem to be everywhere, non-judgmental compassionate empathy shines like a beacon." (print)

The Owen Sound Sun Times in Leith, Canada, reports on celebrations for a 150-year-old church founded by Church of Scotland pioneers.

"About 100 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Leith Church with a worship service inside the handsomely restored church, then ate lunch outside under an oak tree Sunday… Afterward, a memorial plaque was unveiled in honour of Adam Ainslie, who moved to Leith in 1858 from Galt. The Leith Church, formerly Auld Kirk or a Presbyterian church of the Church of Scotland, was built on land Ainslie donated for that purpose."