Church in the news

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

Tuesday 19 January, 2016

The Inverness Courier reports that a new group, the Friends of the Old High Church, is working to save the historic church, which dates back to 1772 with worship on the site going back even further. "The move comes after spiralling maintenance and insurance costs last year sparked an urgent appeal from Rev Nimmo, who has warned that the church building is in danger if they cannot be met. It is hoped the committee will raise vital funds following months of talks with Church of Scotland." (print p18)

The Northern Scot reported that Elgin Youth Development Group are using a £30,000 Go For It Main Grant to provide training courses for unemployed/ vulnerable people and affordable meeting space for community groups and cookery courses in their Community Hub building.

The Fife Herald reports that Rev Jeff Martin, a minister who spent 14 years as pastor in Missouri, USA, is in the process of becoming the new minister for Cupar Old and Monimail. (print p5)

The Scotsmanpublishes an obituary for Rev Andrew Morton:

"The Rev Andrew Morton was an outstanding leader of his generation of Church of Scotland ministers, a passionate socialist and internationalist who worked tirelessly throughout his life for the causes of social justice, democracy, human rights and church unity, but also made time -alongside his late wife Marion Morton, a former deputy lord provost of Edinburgh - for an exceptionally rich and fulfilling family life, and for many profound life-long friendships, both in Scotland, and far beyond…

"In 1981, the call came for Andrew to return to his beloved Edinburgh, and to the Church of Scotland offices at 121 George Street, to begin the job that would take him through to formal retirement age, as the church's Secretary for Ecumenical and European Affairs. These were momentous years in international politics and in the politics of religion, as the grip of communism on Eastern Europe began to weaken, and countries like China began to open up to the West; and Andrew's combination of intellectual openness, stronge motional empathy, and unfailing commitment to the cause of human dignity and equality made him an outstanding figure in the civic politics of the time, both internationally and in Scotland." (print p33)

The Courier reports that a former church building, owned by the Church of Scotland until it was sold in 1991, may be turned into a luxury home. Campaigners have opposed the development of Kinfauns Church arguing the nearby cemetery should not be disturbed. The current proposal, which will allow developers three years to produce plans, drew one objection. (print p9)

The Courier also reports that Forfar East and Old Parish Church held a dinner to celebrate theChurch's 225th anniversary. (print p7)

The National has a story about Robert Burns which includes a paragraph about the Church's role in promoting literacy in Scotland. (print p26)

The Edinburgh Evening News has published an obituary for Archie MacLullich, a Midlothian biology teacher who in 1980 was appointed depute director of social work for Church of Scotland's Board of Social Responsibility. (Print p28)

Monday 18 January, 2016

The Paisley Daily Express has published an article about local man Thomas Blane who has been accepted for minister training. The 24-year-old is one of 31 people to be accepted in 2015 - the year the Church launched its Tomorrow's Calling campaign. The number of people accepted for training last year is at the highest level since 2007. (print 15 Jan.)

The Sunday Mail quoted Principal Clerk Very Rev John Chalmers in its story about proposals to fix the date of Easter. The Archbishop of Canterbury grabbed headlines Saturday when he said he supported Easter being moved to either the second or third Sunday in April. The Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Churches have a fixed date for Easter, while for Western Churches, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the Vernal Equinox on March 21. The paper headlined its story: "Kirk Let's all have the same Easter," although the comment, while welcoming discussion of the issue, pointed out that after 2,000 years of Church tradition, any change would require at least 5-10 years of discussion and consultation. (print p11) See Easter dates up to 2030 here.

The full comment from Very Rev John Chalmers said:

"It is a very interesting idea and we would be interested in joining the discussion. Anything that could solve 2000 years of division across the Church in the East and the Church in the West would be worth exploring.

"This is far more than a discussion about school holidays, it's about the most important festival in church life and it would be a wonderful statement if Christians across the world could one day celebrate the resurrection of Christ on the same day.

"This is something that goes back to the second century so it is realistic to look at 5-10 years of discussion and consultation."

The Herald's story, 'A restless history,' discusses the Easter Rising of 1916 and the legacy of sectarianism in Ireland and Scotland. The Church of Scotland's role is briefly discussed. (print p 10, 11)

The Sunday Times writes about a forensic expert and artist, who began painting to deal with the trauma of witnessing the impact of the atrocities committed there. The artist, Robert McNeil, has now joined the board of Remembering Srebrenica Scotland.

"Robert McNeil, 68, was part of a United Nations team sent to Bosnia in 1996 to gather evidence of genocide committed by Bosnian Serb soldiers at Srebrenica…

"The Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland and chairwoman of the charity, said she is 'delighted' to welcome McNeil as its newest board member.

"His first-hand experience of the atrocities and their effect on surviving family members haunted and inspired him to paint the most moving and captivating paintings portraying the darkness and horror of that time." (print p9)

Friday 15 January, 2016

The Sun reports that Motherwell FC owner Les Hutchison paid £600,000 for restoration work at Bothwell Parish Church, Lanarkshire. (print p9)

The Paisley Daily Express mourns the "shock" dissolution of the "architecturally stunning" St James Church, where the congregation is discussing plans to dissolve. The story quotes three church sources including Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood. whose church is part of the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley. Dr Hood praises Rev Eleanor McMahon, the minister at St James, for her tireless work and notes that the congregation has been very active in the community. However the steep upkeep costs for the B-listed building are not sustainable. Congregation members plan to make group visits to nearby churches and find a new home church. (print p3)

Times Higher Educationreviews a book about historical descriptions of God that mentions the Church of Scotland. Robert A. Segal, sixth century professor of religious studies at the University of Aberdeen, discusses 'The Invention of God' by Thomas Römer. He says:

"Römer, a distinguished scholar rather than an ideologue, seeks to determine exactly what is historical and exactly what is not in the depiction of God. This is a brilliant book."

Thursday 14 January, 2016

The Stornoway Gazettecovered the appointment of Rev Sally Foster Fulton as the new head of Christian Aid.

The story was also covered on Central FM radio and made the front page of The Courier.

The Herald publishes an obituary for Rev Dr Andrew Morton, a former Chaplain to Edinburgh University as well as Secretary for Ecumenical and European Relations for the Church of Scotland for more than 10 years.

"Andrew Morton, who has died aged 87, was a former chaplain to the University of Edinburgh and an enthusiastic participant in discussions about and proposals for unity in the Church of Scotland."

The Glasgow Evening Timescovers the story of Church organist Christopher Nickol playing David Bowie's track "Life on Mars" on an organ in Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow.

The story is also covered in:

Inspire magazine.

The East Fife Mail carries tributes to Leven Parish Church member Mary Logie, who was murdered last week. The Rev Gilbert Nisbet, her minister, and Lynda Colston from the Church Women's Group are both quoted in the story. (print p6)

A letter in the Caithness Courier looks at record keeping in the Church, and the difference between what can be measured and what can't. (print p13)

"Who can tell how many folk have had their lives changed for the better, how many have found courage to endure the "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to" because of the good news of God's love for us which scripture records?"

The Courier reports that a group of Dundee residents are hoping for lottery funding that will allow them to purchase Craigiebank Church.

"The Craigiebank Association want to raze Craigiebank Church and replace it with a new building, if it can secure cash for the project.

"The association believe that a purpose-built centre on the site of the church – which is no longer in use and is in a "bad state of repair" – could be used for leisure activities, meetings, youth groups and office space…

"Chairwoman Kathleen Mands said: "We're hoping to get enough people interested in this. If there's no community support for this then we wouldn't feel it's a viable project and we'd look at different approaches. For example, the church could stay and we could look at extending the church halls instead."

The Cumbernauld News reports that a number of events are planned for 2016 the 200th anniversary celebration planned for Kilsyth's Burns and Old Parish Church.

"The first of these is the Bicentennial Launch Service on Sunday, January 17. This will be conducted by the Rev G. Stewart Smith, son of the Rev Henry M. Smith who was once minister at Burns and Old." (print p14)

The Cumbernauld News also criticises the Kirk for the length of time it takes for congregations to get a minister.

"Congregations in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth could wait up to six months before new ministers are appointed, the Church of Scotland admitted.

"The Presbytery's Ivar Struthers said: "I am afraid there is nothing to report. We hope that the situation at St Mungo's won't be the case with Catriona and Elinor's appointments. Any progress, at least any we can go public about, is likely to be realised in the longer, rather than shorter term."