Church in the news

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

Monday 23 May, 2016

Yesterday's Heart and Soul was a great success with a full crowd at Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens watching a stellar lineup that included energetic performances from the African Children's Choir, Fischy Music and the Heart and Soul Swing Band, followed by a service and address from the Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr. View photos on the Church of Scotland website and see photos and video on our Facebook page.

Monday's session features reports from the Business Committee, World Mission and the Social Care Council. View the proceedings on the livestream accesible on the Church website.

The General Assembly's vote to allow congregations to call ministers in same-sex marriages was reported across the media from Scotland to the USA and Japan. The story was reported on:

BBC Radio 4's Sunday Morning programme included an interview with very Rev John Chalmers. (12:15)

BBC Radio Scotland had a full hour of General Assembly news on Sunday Morning with Cathy Macdonald including interviews with the new Moderator, Rev Mike Goss, of Barry Church linked with Carnoustie; The Very Rev'd Lorna Hood of Renfrew North Parish Church; the Kirk's youngest minister Rev Michael Mair of St David's Broomhouse, and youth Moderator Hannah Mary Goodlad. (1:04:10)

BBC 2 covered the proceedings of the General Assembly with a full hour of programming with Sheena McDonald:

The story made headlines in:

The Sunday Telegraph (p10)

The Independent (p210

The Mail on Sunday

The Sunday Express

The Scotsman and the Evening News

The Sun (p2)

The Sunday Mail (p10)

The People (p25)

The Sunday Herald

Scotland on Sunday (p16)

The Daily Record (Monday p8)

STV Online

The Herald also reported on the protest from dissenting ministers.

The Courier interviewed Rev Scott Rennie on what might be next for the Church.

and across the world as far afield as:

The China Post

New York Times

The Sunday Herald also reported three other stories from Saturday's General Assembly.

Kirk to call for total ban on smacking of children

New Kirk Moderator vows to tackle scandal of homelessness

Kirk members asked to back 'In' vote in EU referendum

The Press and Journal (p17) the Aberdeen Evening Express (p8) and The Glasgow Evening Times (p2) reported that Archbishop Justin Welby will make history as the first Church of England leader to take part in a General Assembly debate. Archbishop Welby will be at the Assembly on Wednesday for discussion of the Columba Declaration formalising closer cooperation between the two churches.

The Herald reports today on the Guild's new tartan. (p9)

Saturday 21 May, 2016

The start of the General Assembly is widely reported with a focus on Archbishop Justin Welby's scheduled visit on Wednesday and the historic Columba Declaration which will be the first ever formal agreement between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. The head of the Church of England will be the first to take part in a debate on the floor of the Assembly. The story is widely reported including:

The Courier

The Herald

The Scotsman

The General Assembly debate on calling ministers in same sex civil partnerships drew attention from broadcast, print and online media.

BBC Radio Scotland had a report on its bulletins as well as an interview with Rev Jonathan Fleming and Rev Prof Andrew McGowan. (22:57)

BBC One Television Breakfast News included an interview with Rev Peter Johnston.

STV News reported the story on its Aberdeen news at 6 pm. (8:20) as well as on STV online news

BBC online news

The story was reported in

The Daily Mail

The Guardian

The Daily Record

Christian Today reports on Archbishop Justin Welby's plan to address the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The Record also reports that Glasgow Presbytery has approved two Rutherglen Churches to call ministers. Previously the Presbytery had planned for one minister to serve both churches, but census data showing one of the parishes is one of the poorest in Scotland allowed the Presbytery to change the decision.

Saturday 21 May, 2016

The Times reports on the forthcoming debate about ministers and same-sex marriage in its story: General Assembly to consider same-sex marriage.http://thetim.es/1PYiPdY

BBC online covers the same story saying, "Church of Scotland to debate allowing gay ministers to marry." http://bbc.in/1Bdvao2

The Scotsman reports on social care convener Sally Bonnar's report to the General Assembly: 'A good number of the Kirk's 2,000 care staff could earn more "stacking shelves in Tesco", the convener of the Kirk's social care council admitted today.' http://bit.ly/1R5TpO4

The Scotsman also wrote a leader on the need for a living wage: "Today, the Church of Scotland said it has been unable to pay its care workers the living wage, partly because of cuts in public spending. The Kirk is moving in the right direction, commendably, but is unable to bridge the gap fully at this stage."http://bit.ly/1FpNQ7P

The Herald reported on the Church's efforts to improve wages for social care employees, saying 'Church in subsidy call for living wage for care workers.' http://bit.ly/1ehvEo8

The Press and Journal reports on the Church's decision to fund 5 "Pioneer" ministries. http://bit.ly/1GrAxpv

Ekklesia reports on the church's stance on the economy saying, "A demand for an urgent reform of the tax system in response to the number of Scots suffering benefit sanctions, low wages and increasing dependence on food banks has been made at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland." http://bit.ly/1JCIxF9

Friday 20 May, 2016

The Times reports that the Scottish Episcopal Church may allow its ministers to perform same sex marriages after a vote next month.

The story says:

"A clause would ensure that no cleric would be obliged to conduct a marriage ceremony that was against his or her conscience.

"The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, who is the church's primus, or leader, is preparing to deal with the consequences of the vote.

"'This is a legislative democratic process, so it is not really for me to say that it will happen, but I think that the proposal would not be put unless there was

a reasonable chance that it would be approved,'" he said.

"'The change may be approved, but there will be people who will find that really difficult so my focus is on the unity in the church.'

"The bishop, who will not be taking a stance on the issue, added: 'Clearly there are people within our church who would find that change very difficult to live with.

"'It then becomes the task for people like me, and other bishops, to sustain the unity of the church and that means honouring the people who don't agree and making sure that the church has space for them.'" (print only)

The Herald publishes a story that looks at the implications of the Theological Forum's Blue Book report, saying:

"A forum chaired by a former Moderator will warn the General Assembly that the debate over homosexual relationships 'threatens to polarise the Church into two camps' and is harming the Kirk's mission to do good.

"One of the Kirk's newest committees, the Theological Forum which was set up in 2013 to help broach a broad range of topics and tackle difficult issues like gay clergy, says in a report to go before the assembly, which begins tomorrow in Edinburgh, that 'absolute victory" is unrealistic for either side.'"

The Church Times publishes a column by Andrew Hayes on the Columba Declaration, looking at its impact on the Church of England and on the Scottish Episcopal Church.

A story about the proposal for the Church to take a deeper look at how we can respond to new communication technologies has been reported around the world. Religion News Service, The New Zealand Herald, and Newsweek have all published the story. Christian Today publishes an editorial praising the idea of online baptism.

The Edinburgh Reporter lists Heart and Soul in its What's On calendar for Sunday noting that the event will offer "Singing, music, art, exhibitions, bands, youth zones, Fischy Music for children, refreshments – 65 exhibitors. 2-6pm, West Princes Street Gardens. Free. For more information please see the Heart & Soul website here."

The Lochaber News prints a story about a congregation that will connect to Heart and Soul with a live link during the event.
"An event in Lochaber on Sunday will coincide with a similar one in Edinburgh taking place during the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
"Called Heart and Soul, the celebration will be held at the Duncansburgh Macintosh Parish Church in Fort William. And there will be live link-ups with Edinburgh during the afternoon."

Gina Davidson's column in the Edinburgh News praises the Moderator Designate's plan to campaign for solutions to homelessness.

In Christian Today Ruth Gledhill writes about Steve Aisthorpe's research and his new book The Invisible Church:

"Regarding why people stopped going to church, even when they remained Christian, he said: 'Our research showed that most people who have left churhes have done so after a long period of frustration disappointment and difficulties.
"'People recounted feelings of anguish in the period leading up to it.
"'There's a kind of growing apart process. Many people struggled with issues related to relevance, such as of sermons. About half felt that church feels like another planet.'"
"The answer was 'consciously, proactively to celebrate diversity and allow those who are different from the current core group to be themselves.'"