Church in the news

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

Monday 21 December, 2015

The BBC reported on the Tabeetha Church of Scotland school in Israel.

"The last remaining Church of Scotland school in the world is in Israel. What makes it even more unusual is that it teaches Christian, Muslim and Jewish children together in an attempt to create an environment of tolerance, despite the tension."

The story was broadcast on BBC television news and on

BBC Radio Scotland: with a 30 minute documentary starting at 1 hour 30 mins55 secs into this link.

and BBC online:

Christian Today.

Saturday's Daily Mail carried a two-page spread featuring the Moderator's Christmas message. (Print p16-17)

The Sunday Express also carried a Christmas message from the Moderator headlined, Make Peace at a time of War. (print p28)

"The problems of the world might seem too big for us to solve. But by opening our hearts to God's grace and love we can act to make peace and to care for those whose lives touch ours.

"So this Christmas, let's put God's love to work in our own lives.

"Why not reach out to an elderly neighbour and brighten their day through being with them, just as God is with us. Practice forgiveness. Be thankful for everything good.

"By living in God's love revealed in Jesus, we will inevitably be transformed. Then we will see in our world the coming of the King-dom of the Prince of Peace. To all of you, I wish a happy and peace-filled Christmas."

STV Edinburgh's Fountainbridge show asked Rev Michael Mair from St David's Broomhouse, who's a regular guest on their show, to record a Christmas message which will play on the STV Local channel over the festive period. You can see the short film they made with Michael here.

The Daily Express reports on the service to be held at Glasgow Cathedral Tuesday 22 December to commemorate the anniversary of last year's Queen Street tragedy.

"The event, Glasgow Remembers The Queen St Tragedy, has been organised by ecumenical body Glasgow Churches Together and will take place at Glasgow Cathedral at noon – a year to the day since the horror unfolded to leave six people dead.

"Then, an out-of-control 26-ton bin lorry careered along Queen Street, mowing down Christmas shoppers, finally coming to rest in George Square."

The memorial service is also covered in:

The Scottish Daily Mail. (print p21)

The Evening Times.

The Daily Telegraph reports on calls to reconsider whether the Stone of Scone should be sent to England when the next British monarch is crowned.

"Its origin is shrouded in legend and its history fraught with tensions between Scotland and England.

But almost 20 years after the Stone of Destiny was returned to Edinburgh from London, the man who masterminded its theft in 1950 has questioned whether it should be loaned to England for the coronation of Britain's next monarch.

Ian Hamilton, 90, said: "A new sovereign must decide if he is to be crowned on the coronation stone. Which of the two governments will he consult? Let us hope it is decided with calm reason.

"We must show an example. The English crowns are loaded with the spoils of empire, the Koh-i-Noor and Cullinan diamonds are the least of them."

He said the Queen was not the head of the Church of Scotland and "has no right to order [the stone's] disposal in and from Scotland". (print p9)

The Sunday Times also reports on the story.

"The Stone of Scone— also known as the coronation stone — has been used as a seat for the crowning of new monarchs for hundreds of years. It rests at EdinburghCastle but Ian Hamilton, 90, who was one of four young Scottish nationalists who stole the stone from Westminster Abbey in 1950, has questioned if it should be loaned to England for the coronation of Britain's next monarch.

"Writing in the latest edition of The Westminster Abbey Chorister, Hamilton argues that should the Queen's successor — either Prince Charles or his eldest son, William — wish to be crowned on the stone, it should not be assumed that the relic will automatically be made available for the ceremony, which would be in Westminster Abbey."

The Herald reported on Rev Andrew Frater's decision to treat the nativity story not as a factual account of Jesus' birth but as a symbolic account.

"While Church of Scotland minister Reverend Andrew Frater is a believer, he has a similar objection to hanging onto ancient but tenacious stories and ideas. The church, he says, should recognise that the fanciful elements of the nativity story are off-putting to people who find them simply unbelievable."

The Paisley Daily Express reports on the uniting of two parishes.

"After decades of informal union, two historic churches have finally officially united.

"Kilbarchan East and Kilbarchan West are now one congregation, known as Kilbarchan Parish Church.

The new congregation will be based in the East hall.The two churches have been for decades in what is known as "deferred union", meaning they functioned as one church, and held joint services in one of the venues on alternate Sundays."

The Courier reports that a card delivery service in Montrose has raised £3,200 for Old and St Andrews Church. (print p4)

The Tayside and Fife Courier reports on grants of £1.45 million that will help restore eight places of worship including four Church of Scotland churches in its story, 'Perth cathedral hits the lottery jackpot.'

The National covers figures from the Trussell Trust that say this Christmas will see record numbers of Scots using food banks.

"FOOD banks are bracing themselves for the busiest month in their history as an increasing number of desperate people turn to them to feed themselves and their families.

"Figures released yesterday by the Trussell Trust, one of the main providers of emergency food supplies, said demand for its services in Scotland was at a record high in December last year, but it expected the number of people being referred for help would break that record this month…

"Martin Johnstone, secretary of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council and chairman of the independent Food Poverty Working Group, which will be reporting to the Scottish Government early next year, said: "The suggestion from the Trussell Trust that this Christmas more people will be using their food banks than ever before is shocking."

He added: "In Scotland, we do not have a food shortage. What we have are more and more people without enough money to live on."

And finally, the story about artist and parish development worker Iain Campbell's 'Our Last Supper' painting of homeless men for StGeorge's Tron church in Glasgow has continued to capture the media's imagination around the world. The story was picked up by UK online news site Mashable UK, where it generated 770 shares on social media and 512 retweets. One of the farthest flung mentions of the story has been in the Huffington Post Hawaii. It's a remarkable testament to the power of a simple story well told.

Friday 18 December, 2015

The World Mission Council's Tabeetha school is the subject of a series of news reports on BBC Scotland by their reporter Fiona Walker, who visited the Church run school in Jaffa earlier this month. In the BBC News online article she writes "Amongst the conflict that defines the Middle East lies something of a surprise. It is described as "an oasis" in the midst of religious division. Tabeetha is the last remaining Church of Scotland school and, intriguingly, it's in Israel."

A TV report broadcast on the 'Scotland 2015' programme on BBC2 last night is now available online. A radio version can be heard on the BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland programme this morning at 1 hour 42 minutes into the broadcast.

Further TV news reports are likely to be shown on BBC Reporting Scotland bulletins on BBC1 today, and a 30 minute radio documentary will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 9.30am on Sunday morning. It's a good example of how BBC reporters create multiple content for TV, radio and online audiences when covering a story. Middle East Secretary Kenny Roger says "We are all so happy that Tabeetha is getting such good exposure."

Four Church of Scotland churches which have received major restoration grants worth more than £200,000 each from the Heritage Lottery fund and Historic Environment Scotland are featured in a BBC News Online story.

You can read more in our own website story too, with quotes from the General Trustees and some of the churches receiving the funding. David Robertson from the General Trustees says "We are delighted that these Congregations have been awarded these significant grants, which are all close to the maximum amount available. It's a recognition of the quality of the applications, and the hard work done by congregations and their professional advisors in expressing the compelling nature of their need for support. This money will all be spent on essential repairs to the roofs and stonework of these much loved buildings."

The Scotsman reports foodbanks across the country are expected to be busier than ever this Christmas. It quotes Church and Society Secretary Martin Johnstone, speaking in his capacity as chair of the Scottish Government's independent Food Poverty Working Group, saying "This should shock and shame us all… In Scotland we do not have a food shortage. More must be done to address the root causes of poverty." Print only P26

Thursday 17 December, 2015

Scottish Housing News reported on the Church's call for the government to act on fuel poverty and climate change together making both issues top priorities

The Scotsman publishes an op-ed piece by Allan Logan, director of services to Older People at CrossReach, on the role of Dementia Ambassadors in ensuring people of all ages receive good services tailored to their individual needs

The Courier reports on the £1.45 million awarded to eight places of worship for essential repairs, in its story Perth Cathedral hits the Lottery Jackpot. (print p4) Read our own story here.

Shettleston New Church is one of the eight places of worship to benefit from the award. Elizabeth Eglinton, an elder with Shettleston New Church of Scotland, told Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland that a leaky roof had allowed water to threaten damage to the Church's foundation. (00: 56:00)

The Stirling Observer reports on a nativity play at Braehead Primary School.

"Pupils from Braehead Primary School did two performances of The Little Angel at the North Parish Church.The nativity show told the story from the point of view of an angel who arrives in Bethlehem on the night Jesus is born, and discovers what makes that evening so special." (print p5)

Ekklesia covers the Church of Scotland's climate change statement saying:

"The Church of Scotland has welcomed the international agreement to tackle climate change.

"The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council, hailed the outcome of the 12 December United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris which saw 195 nations approve a pact.

"The agreement sets a new international context for nations' use of fossil fuels and action on climate change, including limiting global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

Christian Today reports on the painting of The Last Supper that portrays men from Glasgow City Mission.

The story also appears on:

Third Force News:

Scotland Now


Premier Christian News

Wednesday 16 December, 2015

The Herald writes about the appointment of Rev Dr Martin Scott as Secretary to the Council of Assembly.

Its story, 'Church of Scotland's new chief official is former professional musician and Motherwell fan,' says:

"The Church of Scotland has appointed a new lead official - effectively the chief executive - of one of the country's biggest charities.

"The Rev Dr Martin Scott will take over as secretary to the council of assembly when Pauline Weibye retires from the post at the General Assembly in May. "

The painting of The Last Supper that dominated yesterday's coverage of the Church, is reported in dozens of local papers across the country. The painting, by artist and former Mission and Discipleship Council worker Iain Campbell is part of a Go For It funded project and emerged from the close relationship between St George's Tron Church of Scotland and Glasgow City Mission.

Here is the story for example in,

The Aberdeen Evening Express

The Motherwell Times

The Kincardineshire Observer

On STV online

Listen to the story on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive Tuesday 15 December (1:52:00)

The National discusses the Scottish Reformation in a story about at James VI and his influence on the union.

The Kirkintilloch Herald reports that Springfield Cambridge Church of Scotland in Bishopbriggs has opened its arms to the local Muslim community after a firebomb attack destroyed the Al Farooq Cultural Centre on Auchinairn Road. The congregation offered the use of a room in the church so that the Muslim community could continue to hold Friday prayers. Read the Kirkintilloch Herald's story here.

The Scotsman publishes an obituary of former Moderator The Very Rev Dr Bill McDonald who has died 9 December at age 91.

"For more than 30 years the Very Rev Dr Bill McDonald was minister at one of Edinburgh's most renowned churches: Mayfield Parish. He brought a calm authority to his ministry and combined an excellent pulpit presence with his concern for his parishioners and the kirk at large." (print p34-35)

The Press and Journal reports on a CrossReach care home that has been recognised as one of the best in the country.

"Balmedie House has been recognised as one of the leading facilities of its kind after winning Care Home Service of the Year at the Scottish Care Awards 2015. The home was one of two winners at this year's ceremony, sharing the accolade with Creggan Bahn Court care home in Ayr.

"The awards have been running for 11 years as part of the Scottish Care National Care Home Conference and have been deemed a huge success in recognising individuals, teams and companies with entry numbers increasing year on year." (print p8)

The Guernsey Press and Star reports that "Faith groups keen to help form same-sex marriage law."

The story quotes Rev Graeme Beebe of the Chuch of Scotland saying it is important for faith groups to discuss the issue together.

" The minute we stop listening to each other the problems start and barriers go up, so it's important we all know where we are coming from." (print p2)

The Sun, a newspaper and website, based in Lagos discusses the role of Church of Scotland missionaries in Uburu in its article about Uburu women producing salt from water, using local technology.

If you haven't yet seen Life and Work's Christmas issue yet, don't miss:

A lovely story about the religious roots of the 12 Days of Christmas song

An important story about Loneliness at Christmas

And much more.

And here's what's coming up in January's Life and Work: