Church in the news

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

Wednesday 6 January, 2016

The Timesaccuses the Church of Scotland of 'provoking a row' with the Scottish Episcopal Church after news reports on the Columba Declaration. The Columba Declaration is a report from the ecumenical joint study group, which formalises co-operative work between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.

In reality, reporters south of the border found out about the story in December and the timing of the information being released was not of our choosing. The report will be published in full in the next few weeks in advance of the Church of England's General Synod, which is normal practice for such papers. The Synod (February) and the General Assembly (May) will discuss the Declaration this year. The Church issued the following statement which was not included in full.

"The joint study group report and The Columba Declaration are the outcome of ecumenical work that has been underway since 2010. The Scottish Episcopal Church was a full partner in the joint study group until it chose to withdraw from active participation in 2013.

"At that time the Scottish Episcopal Church continued to attend as an observer. The report, and The Columba Declaration, will now be considered by the Church of England's General Synod in February 2016 then by the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in May 2016."

(print p16)

The story also appears in:

The Anglican Communion News Service

Christian Today

Premier news

BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive (23:23)

Here's our own story if you missed it. Historic agreement between Churches of Scotland and England charts the way for future projects.

The East Lothian Courier reports on East Lothian's newest minister writing, "Rev Aniko Schütz Bradwell took up her role in the parishes of Humbie with Yester, Bolton and Saltoun."

The Coleraine Times reports that retired Church of Scotland minister Rev Alan Knox was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's honours List. "He had been an chaplain to the army, the Royal Air Force and the Territorial Army, but it was his work with the Royal British Legion in Garvagh, for which the Rev Alan Knox has been nominated for in the New Year's Honours List."

Third Force News reports that the Church of Scotland has become the third sector organisation with the largest number of people working with children and vulnerable adults. The Church has registered more than 28,000 people with the governments Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. (print p4)

Third Force News also quotes Rev Sally Foster Fulton in an article on the Climate Justice Fund. Mrs Foster-Fulton calls for commitment to investing in the fund which will support climate justice efforts in the most affected parts of the world. (print p4)

The Alloa Advertiser reports that St Mungo's Parish Church will be able to make essential repairs thanks to a £248,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Environment Scotland. (print p11)

The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser publishes a column by Rev Scot McCarthy minister of Langholm, Eskdalemuir, Ewes and Westerkirk. The article, 'Look to the future with hope' tells residents that despite a fall in the number of textile jobs in the area new growth is possible. (print p4)

Many local papers carry reports of nativity plays and watchnight services. The John O'Groat Journal, for example, reports that the congregation of Bettyhill Church raised £116.66 at its watchnight service, which will go to UNICEF to fund thermal blankets for displaced Syrian babies and children. (print p7) The Northern Times also reports on the Bettyhill service. (print p16)

The Mearns Leader reports on the retiral of Rev Dr Flora Munro.

"Portlethen Parish Church Minister, Rev. Dr Flora Munro, is to retire from her position at the Kirk after 12-years of service. Rev Munro became minister at "The Kirk on the hill" in 2003 after leaving Cults East Church in Aberdeen, where she worked for ten and a half years." (print p8)

The Ross-shire Journal publishes an obituary for Rev Sandy Glass, writing that flags were flying at half-mast in honour of the former rector of Dingwall Academy who died on Christmas Day. (print p5)

Tuesday 5 January, 2016

In the first Church in the News for 2016,

Flooding response

The role the churches in Ballater have played in assisting the flood hit community has been recognised by a number of papers, who pictured the minister Rev David Barr at Glenmuick Church showing Prince Charles around the devastated village. The story is picked up by the Press and Journal as well as the Daily Express, The Sun and the Daily Mail among others. Mr Barr is also pictured in the Aberdeen Evening Express conducting a service reflecting on the floods, where he spoke of the 'angels with shovels and cups of tea' who had come to help in the massive clean-up operation.

East Lothian Ministers induction

The East Lothian Courier covers the induction of Rev Aniko Shuetz Bradwell as the new minister in the twinned parishes of Humbie with Yester, Bolton and Saltoun, complete with a lovely picture. Aniko has recently set up home in the local manse with her husband David Bradwell, from the Church and Society Council. She tells the paper "I have been really welcomed by everyone I have met and look forward to serving people in my parishes in East Lothian. Arriving at Christmas time has given me a great opportunity to meet many of the families and attend the festive events, I am looking forward to the new year."

Primus "deeply hurt" by proposed Columba Declaration

The Church Times and The Independent have followed up news of the proposed Columba Declaration between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England with articles on the reaction from the Scottish Episcopal Church. Comments attributed to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, on an internet blog expressed surprise at the move and said the Scottish Episcopal Church has been left "deeply hurt". A Church of Scotland spokesperson is quoted responding "The joint study group report and The Columba Declaration are the outcome of ecumenical work that has been underway since 2010. The Scottish Episcopal Church was a full partner in the joint study group until it chose to withdraw from active participation in 2013. At that time the Scottish Episcopal Church continued to attend as an observer. The report, and The Columba Declaration, will now be considered by the Church of England's General Synod in February 2016 then by the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in May 2016."

Duns Foodbank

There is a nice write up in the Berwickshire News about the Berwickshire Churches Foodbank, which operates out of Duns parish Church and has helped nearly 400 people in the local community over the past 3 years. The minister, Rev Stephen Blakey is pictured and quoted in the article, saying "The volunteers do a magnificent job and should be congratulated for their commitment and dedication."

Goodbye Govanhill Trinity

The Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra reports that generations of churchgoers came together recently to say goodbye to Govanhill Trinity Church of Scotland which is closing after 135 years. The B-listed building — known locally as the Daisy St Church — has joined forces with nearby Queen's Park.

This is just a small selection of the many articles featuring the church in the press over the last few days, with a wide selection of local papers carrying pictures of Christmas celebrations at local churches, as well as new year messages by ministers. These are not available online, but show there is strong demand from the local press for stories and images at this time of year.

Thursday 31 December, 2015

The New Year's Honours List includes many people with church connections including ministers and elders. We expect more local and national stories about them, but one notable individual is highlighted today in The Press and Journal: James Dunbar chief executive of New Start Highland, and a former employee of CrossReach who was awarded an OBE. (Print p11)

"The chief executive of a social enterprise set up to combat poverty in the Highlands has been made an OBE. James Dunbar was inspired to set up New Start Highland in the late 1990s by his work with homeless and addiction services.

"New Start Highland grew out of ideas Mr Dunbar had while he was working in homeless and addiction services with the charity CrossReach in the 1990s."

The 9-year high in trainee ministers continues to get attention in media outlets across Scotland.

The Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman story, 'Kirk hails nine-year high for numbers of trainee ministers', says:

"…Since the Kirk launched its Tomorrow's Calling campaign at May's General Assembly, a series of promotional films about parish ministry have been viewed more than 100,000 times on social media.

Reverend Neil Glover, convener of the Church of Scotland's Ministries Council, said he was "thrilled" by the level of interest."

Among many other local newspapers covering the story are:

The Evening Times.

The Arbroath Herald.

The Galloway Gazette.

The Extra reports that a farewell dinner was held for Govanhill Trinity Church after the congregation merged with Queen's Park.

"Generations of churchgoers said goodbye to Govanhill Trinity Church of Scotland recently, raising a toast to 135 years of history on Daisy Street.

"As reported in The Extra, the B-listed building — known locally as the Daisy St Church — has joined forces with nearby Queen's Park.

"Some 87 guests attended the church's farewell dinner, tucking into a two course meal and enjoying entertainment by organist Richard Scholfield."

Ekklesia reports that CrossReach early intervention services have been awarded a Scottish government grant of £258,000.

"The Church of Scotland's social care arm CrossReach has secured a grant for £258,000 which will enable it to continue supporting some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged children in society.

"Paul Gilroy, head of children and family services, said the money awarded by the Scottish Government would be used to help children aged eight and under and their parents as part of work to improve life chances.

"This fund replaces the Third sector Early Intervention fund and will enable us to continue and establish our Daisy Chain Early Years Project in the Govanhill area of Glasgow as a core service for Crossreach", he explained."

The Evening Times reports that the charity Glasgow the Caring City has sent aid to Serbia.

"MORE than 80 tons of aid have been sent to Serbia after being collected by Glasgow the Caring City. The third 40ft truck was sent out by the charity last week and arrived with the Serbian Red Cross on December 23.

"The charity's international projects manager, Ross Galbraith, travelled to the country in October to establish a distribution base and aid has been pouring into the charity from across Scotland.

"Ross's father, the Reverend Neil Galbraith, of Cathcart Old Parish Church, said the work that had taken place over the past couple of months was "a real Christmas Story of compassion, dedication, hard work, and social responsibility for the welfare of others."

Tuesday 29 December, 2015

Print and broadcast outlets covered news that the intake of new ministers is at a nine-year high.

The BBC featured the Tomorrow's Calling campaign on its breakfast show 29 Dec. Broadcast not available online.

BBC Radio 5 Liveinterviewed Rev Michael Mair and Rev John Cowie about becoming a minister. (1:26:00)

BBC Radio Scotland also covered the drive for new ministers. (01:25:00)

Good Morning Scotland said: The Church of Scotland has had its best year in a decade for minister recruitment. (1:04:35)

The Sunreports that Minister training is at a nine-year high.

Our own website reports on the progress of the Tomorrow's Calling since the campaign was launched last January.

"This has been the year of Tomorrow's Calling.

"With an anticipated 80% of Church of Scotland ministers due to retire in the next 15 years, the General Assembly tasked the Church with the high priority of encouraging the recruitment of more ministers. Work on the 'Tomorrow's Calling' initiative began in earnest in January.

"A few short months later, it launched at the Heart & Soul event in Princes Street Gardens at the General Assembly.

"A short video showing the work of five younger ministers was enthusiastically received by both church members and the media.

"To date, it has attracted more than 200,000 views on Facebook and other social media, well beyond any initial expectations we had of the interest it would generate."

Newspapers across Scotland have published a Christmas message from the Moderator. Among them are:

The Press and Journal: (print p17)

The Edinburgh Evening News: (print p19)

A report from the ecumenical joint study group that recommends formalising the relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England was covered in the broadcast and print media over Christmas week.

Here's the story on our own website:

"The Church of Scotland and the Church of England have reached an historic agreement that recognises their longstanding ecumenical partnership and lays the groundwork for future joint projects.

"The agreement, called The Columba Declaration, is set out in a 15-page report by the Joint Study Group, "Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission"."

The Joint Study group has been working on the report since 2010.

The story was covered in:

The BBCcovered the story on television and radio news broadcasts and online

The Daily Telegraph wrote: Church of England and Church of Scotland forge pact.

The Herald writes: Kirk and Church of England sing Historic Pact.

The Herald also published an editorial welcoming the agreement.

The Times 26 Dec. (print p5)

Daily Mail 26 Dec. (print p35)

The Sun 26 Dec (print p23)

The Sunday Mail 26 Dec (print p30)

Yorkshire Post 26 Dec (print p8)

The Courier 27 Dec (print 17)

The Press and Journal publish an obituary for Rev Sandy Glass.

"Flags are flying at half mast for a churchman and former school rector who died on Christmas Day. News of the Reverend Sandy Glass's death was broken to parishioners at Castle Street Church of Scotland in Dingwall, where he had preached and served as an elder." (print p9)

The Sun went to Church toilets across the United Kingdom and swabbed them for cocaine residue. Several churches tested positive including Renfield St Stephens in Glasgow. The Church issued the following comment:

"With hundreds of people each week visiting this large, welcoming. supportive city centre church, open until 10 pm each evening and home to more than 300 organisations and a cafe, there will be among them people who are struggling with substance abuse - just as there are in every large group of people and in every walk of life. "

The Sun did not use our comment but the article summarised it saying several churches have made similar statements. (Print p5)

The Belfast Telegraph, in a roundup of the year's religious news, criticises the Presbyterian Church of Ireland for deciding not to send a representative to the General Assembly because of the Church of Scotland's decision to accept ministers in same-sex civil partnerships.