Moderator of Lochcarron and Skye hits back at critical headlines

Rev David Kellas

The Moderator of the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye has spoken out after two ministers announced their intention to leave the Church of Scotland. The Reverend David Kellas says he was dismayed by the tone of some of the media's reporting of their departure. He has written the following response to one paper, the West Highland Free Press,in which he argues the Church of Scotland is well placed to address the challenges facing people of faith as society changes.

"No one was surprised to see the front page of the Free Press last Thursday but as Moderator (chairman) of the national Church in our area I have to correct some of the very strange unfacts (that's the polite word!) which appeared on it. "Kirk in crisis!" That's where our enemies would like to think we are. No, we're not. We are a little out of breath because so many things have happened all at once, but not in crisis. Crisis means judgement and we'll all come to that in the end when, the Bible assures us, it will not be at all what some people expect!

David Macleod and Roddy MacRae have left us for a church which everyone could see is their natural home. They depart at a time when our Presbytery already has a number of vacancies: three of these came about through resignations, two through retiral and one throughthe translation of the minister to a charge in Moray. Of the six, three are in the care of ordained ministers and three of Elders trained in this task: and in every parish there are Elders and others who share in the care for the people,and that means for us the whole people, not just our Church members.

We are a little out of breath. But Noah has not yet walked off the Ark nor has the shepherd abandoned his sheep in the spooky glen! The Auld Kirk trusts in the promised presence of the Holy Spirit and faces the future with a living faith. I for one am proud to be a Minister of a Church which is prepared to sit down and debate the issues of our time and face new facts and where necessary make changes in how we think about things without for one tiny second losing our grip on the message of the Bible. I am proud to be in a Church wherein all parties have moved away from fear and hostility in relation to the different sexualities which God has given folk, though we are not at all in agreement about the practical consequences of that. I am thrilled to be in a Church where for fifty years the spiritual gifts of women and men have been recognised as equal, to the enormous enrichment of our congregations and the Courts of the Church: and in which now, as a matter of faith as well as law, no election of Elders or Ministers can properly take place where anyone is excluded solely on the grounds of sex. And it's good to be in a Church which will dare to pursue new ideas and sometimes gets things wrong - how sad it must be to be always right!

One last point: where on earth did you get that rubbish about Sandor Fazakas? Sandor is Minister at Portree and Interim Moderator of Kilmuir and Stenscholl in Skye. He may be the only full-time Minister in our Presbytery, but as I showed above, he is not alone! Anyway, Harris, Uist, Benbecula and Assynt are in the care of other Presbyteries. But those who know of his twenty years of heroic ministry in Romania in the days of the Communist tyranny would happily give him a parish only slightly smaller than Wales and be sure it would not be neglected!

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all readers of the West Highland Free Press: he is not far off from any of you."

Rev David Kellas

Moderator of the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye