Church in the news

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

Friday 27 May, 2016

Today is the final day of the General Assembly and commissioners are hearing reports from the General Trustees, the Housing and Loan Fund, the Investors Trust and the Pension Fund. The proceedings will end this afternoon after addresses from The Moderator and the Lord High Commissioner.

The media continues to report on the Columba Declaration and Archbishop Welby's visit to the Assembly.

BBC online

The Evening News

The Scotsman

Anglican News Service

Church Times

The Heraldreported that on efforts to reach out to young people in its article, 'One in five Church of Scotland congregations has no children attending'.

"The National Youth Assembly, the body that echoes the Kirk's General Assembly making decisions that affect young people in the Church, is using Facebook and Instagram to reach out to a younger generation of worshippers.

The Scotsman covered the military chaplains in its story, 'Kirk agrees Forces Covenant to help troops and their families'.

"As well as a plea for more ministers to volunteer as forces chaplains, there were calls for closer working relationships between the services and parish ministers.

Rev Geoff Berry, army chaplain from the presbytery of Lothian, said that there were many service personnel, including young soldiers who were already combat veterans, who were worried about family members and that parish 
ministers were a vital resource for visiting extended families."

The Daily Record reports that Rev ian Taylor and his Bishopbriggs congregation have been invited to visit the Central Mosque after the church extended hospitality to a Muslim Community Centre whose community centre was firebombed. (p18)

The Courier reports on Rev Violet McKay minister at Rosyth Parish Church whose uncle died in the Battle of Jutland, and the church's centenary celebrations. (p32)

BBC online also covers the opening of a play about Rev Henry Duncan who founded the first savings bank.

"Henry Duncan worked in a commercial bank before taking up the ministry in Ruthwell Parish at the turn of the 19th Century. He started his "penny bank" to give parishioners access to savings and interest for the first time. The model was soon adopted around the globe."

Local newspapers across Scotland covered the Church's continuing support for EU membership. Two examples are:

Arbroath Herald.

Deeside Piper

The Daily Recordreports on the high costs of maintaining historic Paisley Abbey and proposals to increase its revenue from tourism. The story quotes a three-year-old archictect's report that is out-of-date. Paisley Abbey is one of the buildings that will be under discussion today as part of the General Trustees report.

The Evening Timesreported that Renfrewshire Council is supporting Paisley Abbey's proposed 4th cloister project.

The Guardianreports on the finances of Iona Community also under discussion today.

The Herald also covers the General Trustees report on the Iona Community.

The Evening Newspublishes a story about the new Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr.

The Guardiancovers the Church's decision not to invest in 'the most carbon intensive energy companies'.

Thursday 26 May, 2016

The historic Columba Declaration and the visit of Archbishop Justin Welby to the General Assembly was reported across the media.

The Scotsman put a photo of the Moderator and the Archbishop on its front page, with a story on page 17 and an editorial on p26.

The story was reported in:

The Times (p12)

The Telegraph (p8)

The Press and Journal (p17)

The Courier (p27)

BBC online

BBC radio news in Scotland and in London.

The Heraldreported on the discussion about minister recruitment saying:

"Rev Dr Doug Gay, a lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at Glasgow University, said as numbers of applicants and students looking to join the ministry have dropped that the Kirk failed to capitalise on plans for a new route to create ministers that included vocational charges similar to chaplaincies."

The Scotsman has an obituary for Alexander James Pirie "a staunch man of faith and Kirk elder" who served as session clerk at St Columba's Kirk in Craigshill and was the first lay member to serve as Convener to the Presbytery of West Lothian. (print p38)

The Carrick Gazettereported that the Moderator awarded the Stevenson Prize to Ballantrae Primary school pupils.

The Church's decision not to invest in energy companies that derive more than 15 percent of their turnover fom oil tar and thermal coal fossil fuels was reported in Third Force News.

The General Assembly's reaffirmation of support for EU membership was reported in:

The Herald

Holyrood magazine

Christian Today

The Scotsman

Ekklesia carried a column on the Church's decision to allow congregations to call ministers in same sex marriages writing:

"Respect for conscientious choice and local decision-making on some ethical issues makes it possible for those with very different views to stay in fellowship. And in terms of Christian understanding, it may make it easier to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit than does rigid centralisation of power.

"A handful of Church of Scotland ministers have left in recent years because of increasing acceptance of partnered LGBT people. But numerous church members have been willing to move forward together, on a journey which is likely to continue for some time."

The Caithness Courier reports that

"A Wick Church of Scotland minister has urged his colleagues not to be "emotionally blackmailed" into voting against allowing gay ministers to marry.

The Rev John Nugent voiced his support for the move which was carried at the kirk's General Assembly at the weekend in what he dubbed a historic moment for the church." (print p4)

The Aberdeen Evening Express reports that: "A parish which lost its minister last year isto welcome an overseas reverend. The new minister of West Mearns Parish will be Reverend Brian Smith from South Africa, who is to be inducted to the parish at Auchenblae next week."

Plans for Paisley Abbey to become a bigger tourist attraction took a step forward, the Glasgow Evening Times reports, as Renfrewshire Council decided to support the Abbey's proposed Fourth Cloister project.

"HISTORIC Paisley Abbey is in line to beturned into a major international tourist attraction with the building of afourth cloister and visitor centre. Bosses at the 850-year-old A-listed churchproduced plans four years ago for a tourist facility based on its status as thecradle of the Stewart royal family but were unable to progress at the time. RenfrewshireCouncil has now agreed officials should work with the Abbey to progress theplans as part of a wider push to develop tourism in the town."

Wednesday 25 May, 2016

Archbishop Justin Welby joined the debate on the report from the Ecumenical Relations Committee and the historic Columba Declaration, the first formal agreement between the KIrk and the Church of England. The primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was also present during the debate. Members of the Ecumenical Relations Committee were congratulated for their work and Convener Allison McDonald said she was delighted to be moving forward.

Monstrous regiment of women?

OnBBC1 reporter Elizabeth Quigley covered the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women as elders, a decision that began the move towards full equality for women in the Church of Scotland. (8:48) Watch the programme on Vimeo here.

Friends of the Earthreported on the Kirk's decision to divest from "the dirtiest fossil fuels".

BBC Radio Scotland news bulletins reported that Archbishop Welby would visit the General Assembly today.

Premier Christian news also covered the Archbishop's visit.

The Edinburgh Reportercovered the Church's decision to allow congregations to call ministers in same-sex marriages.

The story was also covered in:

The Huffington Post

Premier Christian news

Christian Post

The Herald reported on the General Assembly's call for a ban on smacking children giving them the smae rights as adults.

The Scotsman also covered the General Assembly vote to ban smacking children .

Tuesday 24 May, 2016

This morning Rev Sally Foster-Fulton is delivering the Church and Society report. She will be standing down as Convener after the General Assembly and is taking over as head of Christian Aid Scotland. The vote on calling for a complete ban on smacking was close, passing by fewer than 20 votes.

Later today reports will follow from The Guild and the Iona Community Board. After the proceedings commissioners are invited to attend a celebration to mark the 50th year of ordination of women.

Today's media reports focus on yesterday's CrossReach report and in particular the Council's discussions on the living wage.

The Scotsman's story 'Kirk plan to pay staff living wage comes with £1m price tag' reported that:

"The Church of Scotland has voted to pay its cleaners, cooks and ancillary staff the Scottish Living Wage in line with a long-standing commitment it made fours years ago at the 2012 General Assembly to pay a fair wage to all its employees."

The Herald's headline 'Kirk in 'hypocrisy' row over pay' focused on statements from a Kirk deacon:

"The Church of Scotland has been accused of "hypocrisy of the highest level" after failing to pay the living wage to staff four years after backing the principle at the General Assembly."

Rev Ron Ferguson's regular column in the Press and Journal discusses the General Assembly and how it has changed in recent years. He says: "What the great Scottish Reformer John Knox would have made of purple hair is a matter for conjecture. What I can say is that he looks great wearing a tartan scarf."

The Aberdeen Evening Express interviews Rev Scott Rennie about the vote allowing churches to call ministers in same-sex marriages. (print p6)

The decision is also covered in the United States on, (a television station in North Carolina) and on radio stations across the UK.

BBC Radio Scotland has reported on the historic decision to ordain women as elders, taken by the General Assembly of 1966. The report discusses how the Church has welcomed women into leadership roles. (13:57)