Church in the news

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

Friday 8 April, 2016

The Scotsman has published a commentary by University of Glasgow professor Jane Mair, who co-authored the recent report funded by the Humanist society on the place of religion in Scottish Law. Professor Mair acknowledges that Scottish law does not privilege the Church except in its role in national ceremonies and on education committees. She argues that it is important to continue national discussion on religious rights as well as on citizen rights in general.

The Scotsman also reports on the death of the last resident of St Kilda, Rachel Johnson who has died at 93. Mrs Johnson's funeral was held at Clydebank's Radnow Park Parish Church this morning.

In The National, Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie writes about the Church of Scotland hustings held earlier this week at the Assembly Hall.

"As candidates we were expected to listen first, and then respond. It left us in no doubt about the high expectations the audience were setting for the new session of Parliament, especially the need for hold and progressive tax policies." (print p16)

The Scotsman published an interview with Rev Sally Foster-Fulton in its Q&A section. (7 April Print P7)

The Caithness Courier publishes a story about Church member Pauline Craw, a NHS manager who is retiring after 36 years. In the story she mentions her husband John, a Church deacon. (7 April print p4)

The Forfar Dispatch reports that Reverend Barbara Ann Sweetin, of the East and Old Church is visiting Malawi to represent the Church of Scotland at the signing of an agreement that will see additional support for the Church of Mozambique.

"Mrs Sweetin is making the trip as a member of the Church of Scotland World Mission Council's local development committee which helps to engage churches in this country with Christian congregations across the world.

"The tri-party agreement has come about due to a 150-year relationship between the Church of Scotland, Blantyre Synod in Malawi and the Church of Mozambique; Scottish missionaries were sent originally to Blantyre and the synod subsequently sent people to Mozambique.

"Mrs Sweetin said: "Numbers there are quite low and they're struggling to recruit and train ministers and maintain buildings and the plan is for all three to work together. We can help out people in Mozambique by sending missionaries and financial help administered by Blantyre Synod.

"It's about a willingness to listen and learn and keeping communication open, sharing resources financially and materially and it'll be a three-year agreement."

The story also appears in the Kirriemuir Herald.

The Press and Journal report that the funeral of Brian McKandie who was found murdered in his home in Aberdeenshire will be held 13 April in Auchterless Parish Church.

Wednesday 6 April, 2016

Banchory West Church was featured on BBC's The One Show. (16:51)

The Evening News reported on the Church's hustings event noting that Willie Rennie, leader of the LibDems announced his party would allocate an extra £17 million to the education budget. (print p4)

The Aberdeen Evening Express also published the story. (print p13)

Glasgow Evening Times also reports on the hustings event, focusing on an audience members call for scotland to become more like a Scandinavian country in its economic policies. (print p2)

Holyrood Magazine reported on the hustings event focusing on John Swinney's comments that he would support taking more refugees than the 2000 planned for.

The Cumberland & Westmorland Herald reported that all four of Penrith's Churches came together each day of Holy Week to hold services and walk through the town bearing witness. (print p6)

Tuesday 5 April, 2016

The Church of Scotland 's People's Politics debate was featured in close to 80 publications and on local radio across Scotland. Around 450 people attended the event in the General Assembly Hall, which featured politicians responding to the stories of ordinary people struggling to succeed. Here's our own story.

The Press Association released two stories. Both stories appeared side-by-side in local titles across the country.

One story reported the news that Willie Rennie announced at the event he would boost the LibDems education budget by an extra £17 million. Here it is in the Falkirk Herald.

The second Press Association story focused on Annabel Goldie and John Swinney's attack on Labour's tax plans. Here it is in the Kincardineshire Observer.

The Herald's story focused on a call for Scotland to transform itself into a Scandinavian-style more egalitarian society.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, which claims 52 percent of Scots are now atheists continues to appear in broadcast and print media. Here is the story in the Daily Express.

The Anglican News service reported on the vigil in Lahore, Pakistan, held to commemorate victims of the Easter Sunday terror attack that has killed 76 people and wounded hundreds more. World Mission Convener, Rev Iain Cunningham and Asia Secretary Sandy Sneddon were at the even supporting the Kirk's partner church in Lahore, the Church of Pakistan.

The Press and Journal reported on the Church's efforts to help refugees in Aberdeen.

"Now, an account has been set up by NESCU, the North-East Scotland Credit Union, and the Church of Scotland's Aberdeen Presbytery for the 100 refugees set to arrive in Aberdeen during the next year." (print p8)

Rev Colin Sinclair, Convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council went on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme yesterday to give the Church's point of view. (55:00)

Mr Sinclair also spoke out today in a story posted to our own website that warned against judging the Church by a limited study.

Monday 4 April, 2016

A report from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey was widely publicised in Sunday and Monday's print and online media. The report, which showed fewer people claiming an affiliation with the Church of Scotland, was published by ScotCen Social Research and based on a sample of just 1,288 people.

The Scotsman, The Independent, the Herald and the National all asked for comment from the Kirk, although not all used the comment.

Our brief comment said:

"This is no great surprise, but whatever people may say about their religious practice, the Church of Scotland will be there for them when the chips are down. It's at vital moments in life that people appreciate the wonder and mystery of it all, so the Church has the exciting challenge of speaking into that fertile space."

Of course, we could have said a lot more about the crucial work the Church is doing at home and abroad. Rev Colin Sinclair is expected to do just that on this afternoon's BBC Radio Scotland Newsdrive programme. Confirmation awaited, but tune in around 4:50pm to hear his interview.

STV were first to publish.

BBC Online said:

"Findings from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey show 52% of people say they are not religious, compared with 40% in 1999 when the survey began. The proportion who say they belong to the Church of Scotland has fallen from 35% in 1999 to just 20%. Other religious groups, including Roman Catholic (15%) and other Christian (11%) have remained steady. The number of non-Christians has remained at 2%."

The Daily Record.

The Sun (print p4)

The Sunday Post also ran a story and used information from the Church of Scotland to create a more balanced story.

The Courier reported on the Moderators Challenge, where Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison will join Hannah Mary Goodlad in cycling 13 miles around Loch Leven to raise funds for refugee aid. The April 16 event will support StARS, the St Andrews Refugee Service in Egypt. (print p9)

Steve Aisthorpe, Church of Scotland development worker for the North of Scotland, was interviewed by Cathy MacDonald on BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Morning with... show about his groundbreaking new book The Invisible Church. (1:15:35).

Premier Christian news also reported the story and has taped a segment with Steve for broadcast soon.

Scotland on Sunday published a story about the Church's property portfolio as part of its survey of Scottish land ownership. (pages 18-19)

The Aberdeen Evening Express reported on the Aberdeen Malawi Partnership bikeathon that raised £15,500 to help people in rural Malawi that are suffering hunger after losing crops. (print p4)

In its story Churches talk about refugees, the Midlothian Advertiser reports on Rev Sandy Horsburgh of St Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church in Dalkeith, who has recently returned from Switzerland, where he attended a meeting of the Europe area of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Mr Horsburgh, who is Secretary of the group told the Advertiser:

"We have an annual meeting and it gathers around 40 people from reformed churches in Europe. This year we had two main things to focus on. The meeting was in part to prepare for the general council that will be held in Leipzig in 2017.

"The other thing was discussing what we can do for refugees at the moment. Some of our churches in Greece and Germany are doing a lot of work with refugees just now. The Greek Evangelical Church is providing a thousand meals a day. They only have 4,000 members. It's a very small church and they do a huge amount of work.

"There is a church in Italy doing the same thing. We have lots of churches doing what they can to help refugees when they arrive in their countries. We were also considering what more we can do. There were some thoughts raised. But it's quite difficult to know what we can do here.";

The Edinburgh Reporter included tonight's Speak Out Politics event in a roundup of things to do this week.

A story about politicians on the campaign trail, published by Johnston Press newspapers across the country, also mentioned the Speak Out politics event:

"At a debate hosted by the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie will call for a "fresh approach" to service provision for asylum seekers in Scotland."