Church in the News: 10 January, 2017
Church in the News - Bumper January Edition!
Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr wrote a piece for the 'Sunday Essay' section of the Daily Mail in which he drew parallels between the story of Mary and Joseph as marginalised members of society and present day homelessness. Dr Barr calls for a "housing first" solution, similar to the model used in Finland and expressed concern that "at best in Scotland what we are doing is managing the situation and have long lost any desire to end it."
Moderator's Christmas Message
Rt Rev Russell Barr's Christmas message looked at the issue of homelessness, and highlighted the contrast of what can be an incredibly difficult time for those without a permanent place to stay.
The Christmas message was published in the Edinburgh Evening News, The Edinburgh Reporter and mentioned on the BBC Website.
Our Advent campaign registered more than a quarter of a million views across Facebook and YouTube, and a very large number of positive comments from Church people as well as many from people outside our denomination. This doesn't include those who watched in church services which screened them. Thanks to everyone who took part in making the videos, or liked and shared them online.
Funding for Jane Haining Heritage Centre
Jane Haining's extraordinary story of heroism, bravery and personal sacrifice which resulted in her dying in Auschwitz in 1944 will be celebrated by a new heritage centre within Dunscore Church near Dumfries, which is expected to open later this year.
A new Christmas carol written by a retired widow from Largs was performed for the first time at Paisley Abbey just before Christmas.
Catherine Murray, an 82 year old from Largs and her daughter Fiona White were at the historic Paisley Abbey to hear her new carol performed by the Paisley Abbey Choristers in front of hundreds of people at a Christmas carol service for the ACCORD Hospice.
The surprise performance came after Mrs Murray wrote to the Church of Scotland with a Christmas wish. Tucked inside the envelope, along with her letter, were the words and music for Christmas Morning;, a new carol she had written herself.
The story was covered by:
Home Office Changes Its mind
Boxer-Rebellion Document Uncovered
A fragile handwritten public proclamation has cast fresh light on the impact of a bloody rebellion on Scottish Presbyterians in China over 100 years ago.
The striking document, which is about two feet long and written in calligraphy, was issued by the Court of Emperor Kuang Hsu after the Boxer Uprising ended in 1901.
It appeals for peace between religious believers and civilians and authorises the resumption of Christian evangelism.
The priceless artefact states that all churches in the north-east of the country, then known as Manchuria, should be re-opened.
The proclamation, which is as delicate as tissue paper, effectively ordered the Liaoyang Government to protect Christian activities.
More than 300 Protestant Christians and thousands of Chinese Christians were killed by a secret organisation called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, who were opposed to the spread of Western and Japanese influence, during the 1899-1901 rebellion.
The story received some great coverage and was published across national papers, Scottish regional and local newpapers, English regional papers and abroad (over 260 news outlets in total).
Here's a link to The Scotsman's take on the story.
Let us bray! Animals help recreate nativity scene
Unsurprisingly the story was widely picked up by the media including:
Church-goers in Storm hit areas urged to go online
Amid a flurry of articles about the storm which hit Scotland just before Christmas, the Kirk was extensively quoted recommending that those in the worst affected areas should consider watching online services rather than risking their own safety in order to attend church at Christmas.
Many large newspapers quoted the Kirk's comments about the storm, including:
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Mail
The Daily Star
BBC1 News also featured an interview with Rev Robert Allan from Falkirk Trinity Church on the subject.
On the subject of digital engagement an Observer Article looked at how churches across the UK are modernising for the digital era, and noted the Kirk's online advent calendar.
Church Congregation make unique video to attract new minister
The upbeat and energetic 90 second film stars members of Keith: St Rufus, Botriphnie and Grange Church.
Vacancy committee secretary Esther Green said: We may not have the budget for a television ad, but we've produced our own film to put our congregation and community in the spotlight.
We wanted to show a membership that has get-up and go, enjoys fun, isn't afraid to roll its sleeves up and work hard and that is prepared to do something a little bit different to make its mark.
"We hope that by producing this film it shows that we've got a lot to offer and that our area is a great part of the world in which to live and work.
Let Us Play - Kirk Reaches out to men
The story attracted mixed reactions from:
The Daily Mail
On social media it has proven to be quite controversial with some people concerned that the event relies heavily on stereotyping. However, there has also been a lot of positive feedback and we always welcome respectful debate on our channels.
Rev Stuart Love Interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland
The Kirk's current youngest minister spoke about what attracted him to ministry. You can listen to Mr Love's interview online.
Sailors' Society Appoints New Chaplain
A Church of Scotland deacon has been appointed to the role of chaplain to seafarers. Pauline Robson will be based in ports along the Forth Estuary including Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Braefoot and Hound Point
The role has been increased from part-time to full-time.
The story was reported on in the Edinburgh Evening News and The Falkirk Herald.