Church in the news

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

Monday 22 June, 2015

The Sunday Herald reports Lewis Presbytery has accepted a report on the electronic handsets used at the General Assembly, and is satisfied failure to register attendance was down to user error. The paper quotes the Assembly Arrangements convener Rev Dr Derek Browning:
"After questions were asked about voting and attendance recording at the 2015 General Assembly, the Assembly Arrangements Committee initiated a thorough review of the technology used. Having carried out extensive checks, the Assembly Arrangements Committee is satisfied that the electronic attendance and voting system was fully operational at the General Assembly. In relation to queries concerning attendance recording, our conclusion indicates this was down to 'user error'. This may have been caused by commissioners forgetting to register attendance, or pressing more than one button at the same time, or pressing one of the non-number buttons. With a view to remedying this problem, the Assembly Arrangements Committee will be recommending that in future years only one specific numbered button will be used to record attendance." (Paywall)

Glasgow Cathedral's minister Rev Laurence Whitley has been working around a large film production crew for the past fortnight. The Daily Record reveals the Cathedral's Lower Church has been used as a location for the hit American TV series 'Outlander', which is mainly set in Scotland in the 18th century. Mr Whitley says he found the film crew to be very pleasant people, and thanks to careful planning the filming did not disrupt worship. Historic Scotland, who manage the building, say the public will have full access to the Cathedral by the end of this week.

The Carluke Gazette carries a nice picture of 17 year old Girls Brigade member Christina Murray, who was presented with the Queens Award by the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood at a ceremony in Glasgow.

The Belfast Telegraph columnist on religious affairs Alf McCreary has an interesting take on the sexuality debate in Northern Ireland.

And the Church Times has an article questioning how churches can regain funerals from humanist celebrants. The Church Times observes humanists celebrants answer the phone quickly and always have their diaries with them.That's often trickier for ministers juggling many more responsibilities.

Friday 19 June, 2015

Claims that Humanist wedding ceremonies are on pace to surpass the number of Church of Scotland weddings continue to gain press attention. Here's the story from BBC online:

Climate change is also grabbing headlines, partly thanks to the release of Pope Francis's wide-ranging encyclical, but also because of pressure on politicians from climate change advocates including Christian Aid, and Church members from congregations around the country. Faith groups and other climate change advocates are gearing up for Paris 2015, the UN climate change conference to be held in Paris this November-December.

The Press and Journal reports on Eco-Congregation Scotland's climate baton, now circulating in Moray.

Here's our story about climate change, the Kirk and Pope Francis' statement:

The Southern Reporter in its print edition, reports on a Church member moving into the role of Presbytery Moderator. "After eight years as treasurer of Melrose and Peebles Presbytery, Fraser Simm, is stepping up into the hot seat as Moderator for 2015-16."

Rev Paraic Reamonn,who is based at St Andrews in Jerusalem, has alerted us to an arson attack on the Benedictine Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves in Tabgha. The Catholic Church released a statement condemning the attack, saying:

"Christians of the Holy Land, bishops and faithful, have been deeply shocked upon learning that it was an intentional act during the night, and that a monk and a German volunteer, were intoxicated by the fumes and were taken to the hospital… In recent months, other attacks were perpetrated against Christian sites or mosques and investigations were not followed up. Given the seriousness of these incidences, we demand immediate investigation and the perpetrators of this acts of vandalism be brought to justice."

Thursday 18 June, 2015

BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland interviewed Very Rev Bill Hewitt to discuss the Church's request for recommendations for next year's Moderator. This is the first time the Kirk has asked for public input at the beginning of the process. A committee of 15 people chosen by the General Assembly will make the decision. Find it at 1:17:04

The Herald covers the story with an arresting –if somewhat inaccurate— headline saying,"History is made as public asked to pick the next Kirk moderator."

And here's the story about the new process for selecting the next Moderator on the Church of Scotland website.

The Press and Journal reports in its print edition that, "Moray churches and schools will host an "eco-baton" for the next two weeks as part of a national climate change campaign."

The Northern Times in its print edition reports that the parish of Altnaharra and Farr is seeking a new minister.

The Edinburgh Evening News (June 17) carries an obituary for Norma Ronald, a deaconess of Morningside parish Church, noting that "Countless people benefited from Norma Ronald's ministry."

The Carluke Gazetter reports (print edition) that very Rev Lorna Hood presented Christina Murray, 17, with the Queen's Award, the highest award in the Girls Brigade. Christina spent six months as a volunteer coach for Law and District Athletics Club to earn the award.

Kingdom FM covered a rise in the number of Humanist weddings since they were first introduced in 2013. (link unavailable)

The Herald also covers the rise in Humanist weddings.

Rev Michael Mair appears on STVs The Fountainbridge show which airs today, Thursday 18 June, at 4:05 pm. You can also watch it on STV's Player:

Finally Pope Francis has released his encyclical on global warming and on humanity's responsibility to respond to the dangers it brings to life on earth. The Church is preparing a statement in response.See the full text here:

Wednesday 17 June, 2015

The Herald reports that: "Edinburgh will host the first ever Global Ethical Finance Forum, staged by Dubai-based Middle East Global Advisors, in early September, to explore the global convergence of standards in the ethical sector." The Church of Scotland is one of the bodies to be represented."

The Guardian has a photo essay about the increasingly difficult position of Christians in the Middle East. "A cross to bear: the vanishing Christians of the Middle East – in pictures."

A story in The Belfast Telegraph discusses the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and same-sex relationships through the eyes of a Church member (and former Church of Scotland member) who says her uncle died of AIDS.

"It is hard not to be a Presbyterian when you have inherited from your parents a centuries-long tradition. I feel that I am a Presbyterian with every bone in my body, and my parents made me aware of the importance of sharing different opinions, and of the great dissenting tradition of Presbyterianism," she said.

Ms Morrow is extremely critical of the current attitude of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which opposes same-sex relationships on biblical grounds.

"I want the Irish Presbyterian Church to open up this debate rather than close it down. In Scotland there is not full consensus, but there is a great deal of diversity, and the Church of Scotland has managed to keep the channels of communication open, but the Irish Presbyterian Church is not succeeding in doing that."

The John O'Groat Journal (print) reports on a congregation's search for a minister. "The far-flung congregation of the Church of Scotland parish of Altnaharraand Farr is once more without a settled minister having lost its long-term locum."

The Al Monitor reports that Egypt's Coptic Christians are demanding the right to remarry, which is against the teachings of the Coptic Orthodox Church.