Church in the News: 13 March, 2017

Moderator calls for African missionaries for Scotland

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr spoke whilst visiting a church in Kikuyu, Nairobi. He said "You do not need missionaries anymore. We do."

"Your faith has found its African heart and soul and its African voice. You need to teach us again how to find our Scottish heart, and soul and voice because your Church is growing and, sadly, our church is not."

Premier and Christian Daily covered the story.

Minister speaks of 'overwhelming' support following church vandalism

The minister of a vandalised church in Perthshire has told of the “overwhelming” support she has received from across the country.

Minister Rev Mairi Perkins, in her first charge for the Kirk, said: “It is said that God moves in mysterious ways and these last five weeks have certainly been a mystery to us in the way in which it has produced some of the most amazing opportunities to witness to God in places, ways and in people we could never have imagined.

“The love, help and support from Blackford, Ardoch, the wider ecumenical church, police and so many others has been overwhelming. Church without walls and missional church has certainly taken on a new reality for us.

“This delay in returning to the church [following findings of asbestos in the organ] is just another challenge of which there are many as we go through uncertain but exciting and positive times in our faith journey together with the words of Isiah 40:31 ringing in our ears:

"But those who wait on the Lord for help will find their strength renewed."

The update was published in The Courier.

Church receives major grant

St Mary’s Church in Kirkintilloch has been awarded £208,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. The grant will go towards repairing the roof structure of the Grade B listed building.

The story was covered by the Kirkintilloch Herald and the Milngavie & Bearsden Herald.

SNP MP calls for secularisation of schools

MP Tommy Shephard was revealed to have spoken at a Humanist Society Scotland Fringe event about the need for a secular school system in Scotland. Although he was particularly referring to Catholic schools, he spoke of his support of the Humanist Society's 'Enlighten Up' campaign which seeks to alter the 1973 Local Government (Scotland) Act "which requires each local authority education committee to appoint three religious members - one Church of Scotland, one Catholic and one other".

The Times,The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News covered the story.

Minister who was imprisoned for refusing to allow her abusive husband access to their children calls for change in the law

Rev Tracy Hart will call for changes to parental access laws in the Scottish Parliament this week.

Ms Hart has spoken out about her treatment following a ruling by a sheriff which saw her spend eight days in prison after she refused to allow her estranged husband to see their children at a contact centre.

Her husband had previously been convicted of murder which Ms Hart found out had been a violent action and not the accident that she had previously believed.

Despite her children suffering from "distress" at the idea of having to meet their father and being "physically sick" at the thought Ms Hart was jailed for contempt of court. ;

She said “Women are urged to leave violent partners to safeguard children, but the system contradicts this by routinely ignoring their wishes.”

The story was published in The Sunday Post.

Stunning wedding dress exhibition at St Michael's, Linlithgow

The Herald covered an exhibition of 100 brides' dresses at St Michael's Parish Churh in Linlithgow.

The dresses dated from the 1950s to the present day and featured many brides from the same families over several generations.

Number of vacant charges in Dundee raises concerns

Dundee's Presbytery Clerk Rev James Wilson and minister at The Steeple church Rev Robert Calvert have spoken to The Courier about what the church is doing to address a shortage of ministers in the city. The paper reported "More than a third of the Dundee's churches are without a minister, as a nationwide Church of Scotland staff shortage spreads to the city". Mr Calvert told the paper about the new initiatives he is engaged in at The Steeple, saying "The Presbytery and the Church of Scotland are supportive to the changing needs. They have given us the freedom on how each church can support itself".

Dundee locum calls for focusing away from church buildings

A Dundee locum believes the Church of Scotland’s ability to help people in need is being diminished by too much focus being directed on keeping churches open.

Locum Gordon Sharp, of Dundee West Church, said too much emphasis has been made on material structures while the message of Jesus diminishes in society.

The story was covered by the Courier.