Church in the news

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

Tuesday 8 December, 2015

Third Force News reports on the Church's Safeguarding Service, which has registered more than 28,000 church volunteers and workers with the government's Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme.

"The Church of Scotland has officially become the third sector organisation with the largest number of people working with children and vulnerable adults.

"It has registered more than 28,000 workers and volunteers with the Scottish Government's Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

"Run by Disclosure Scotland the scheme is designed to ensure that everyone who works with children or vulnerable adults is safe to do so by putting them through a criminal records check.

"They learn that if they witness or even suspect that harm or abuse has occurred they must report it to their safeguarding coordinator

"The church's volunteers and staff help run children's groups, the Boys' Brigade, the Girls' Brigade, youth groups, choirs, music groups, crèches and Sunday schools."

Colette Douglas Home writes in The Herald about state-funded religious schools coming out against creating more faith based schools. The commentary notes the publication of the new report 'Living with Difference,' by the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life. The report praised the "joint initiative by the Church of Scotland and the Humanist Society Scotland to replace the requirement for religious observance with times for reflection." (print p11)

The Press and Journal reports that the historic Mannofield Church in Aberdeen has been awarded a grant:

"Efforts to transform a landmark church in Aberdeen have been given a boost of more than £100,000. Mannofield Church, which opened in 1882, has received grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland to help with its £1.4 million refurbishment.

"The £107,000 will be used to make improvements to the building by repairing the steeple and stained glass windows."

"Reverend Keith Blackwood welcomed news of the grants.

He said: 'We're delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland have given us this support.

"'The church has been part of the landscape of this part of Aberdeen before housing, commerce and the community of Mannofield in general became established and it's great to know that we are a step closer to preserving the wonderful building for another century." (print p8)

The National publishes 'A Caliphate for Calvinists' that looks at Scotland's history of religious strife.

"Religious fanaticism and terrorism were not alien to Scotland. One episode sets the scene. In

May 1679, a group of nine men caught up with a coach carrying the Archbishop of St Andrews, James Sharp, three miles outside the town.

"After shooting the postillion dead, they dragged Sharp from the coach and hacked him to death in front of his daughter.

"The killers were Covenanters, Presbyterians who opposed the imposition of bishops on the Church of Scotland by King Charles II and other measures aimed at bringing Scotland s Kirk into line with the Church of England, in particular placing himself as head of the church….

"During the late 16th century and the whole of the 17th, between 3000 and 4500 women were burnt at the stake, drowned and done to death after being tried in ad hoc courts (the figure for England was 1000 such deaths despite its much larger population).

"Gay men were burnt to death on Edinburgh s Castle Hill. Presbyterian Scotland in that time was not so far removed from the sort of Caliphate of Daesh."(print p18)

Very Rev John Chalmers is quoted in the Edinburgh Evening News talking about the impact of the Forth Rd closure on people who live in Fife and work on the south side of the Forth. (print p9)

Monday 7 December, 2015

The Press and Journal reports that Skye minister Rev John Murray has called for an independent review of an NHS decision to close a hospital in Portree:

"A north minister has urged NHS Highland bosses to show some 'care and compassion' and reconsider plans to close a community hospital on Skye.

"Rev John Murray said the argument to shut the facility in Portree 'did not stack up' because the move amounted to downgrading local health services which would disadvantage elderly and frail people.

"He added that he was surprised that NHS chiefs had stated that closing the hospital would be a marked improvement on the existing situation.

"Mr Murray, who leads the Kilmuir and Stenscholl congregation in the north of Skye, has called for an independent review of the decision to build a new hospital at Broadford, with a smaller facility in Portree.

"'NHS Highland are suggesting that all in-patient beds in Portree hospital can be axed and, amongst other 'community empowerment' be replaced by hiring out a few beds in a nursing home with access to these beds by doctors and nurses," he said.

"'That's clearly a downgrading of the excellent medical and nursing care presently delivered in the actual hospital. When you consider that people are being sent as far away as Aultbea because there are no places in island care homes, then the health board plans just do not stack up.'" (print p8)

The Courier and Advertiser has named Very Rev John Chalmers as one of the most influential people in Scotland. The paper praises Mr Chalmers for his support of the ordination of ministers in same-sex relationships. (Print p 2-3)

The Aberdeen Evening Express reports on the Boys Brigade Christmas Card delivery fundraiser based at Ellon Kirk centre. (4 Dec. print p 19)

Police Scotland's website reports on its seasonal safety campaign, which it runs in cooperation with several organisations including Glasgow Street Pastors. St Georges Tron Church of Scotland will serve as a 'safety zone'.

"The Greater Glasgow Partnership Group is launching its Festive Safety Campaign and with hundreds of thousands more people visiting the city for a season of shopping and socialising it's important to get the safety message through.

"Most people's minds will be focused on nights out, socialising with friends and finding the right gift. However it's worth reminding people that as well as revellers being out and about there are rogues too and for them it's not a season of giving but a season of taking.

"Police Scotland is working closely with a number of partners including Community Safety Glasgow, Trading Standards Officers, British Transport Police, NHS, Glasgow Taxis and Glasgow Street Pastors."

The Stornoway Gazette reports on the increase in trainee ministers after the launch of the Ministries Council's Tomorrow's Calling campaign.

"One of the latest recruits is 29 year old David Nicolson from Stornoway. The married father of one joins the Church following a career making television programmes for BBC Alba."

The Daily Mail reported on the Queen's visit to St Columba's Church in London, publishing several photos of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the church.

The St Columba's story was also covered in:

The Scotsman (print p6)

The Herald (print p8)

And on the BBC's London news broadcast.

Illustrating the power of social media, photos of HM the Queen's visit to St Columba's Church in London helped the Church of Scotland reach more than 2 million people last week. The numbers from Twitter show that 176 mentions of the Church reached 1.7 million people, while 302 retweets of Church content reached 2.71 million people.

We are also seeing increased engagement on the Church of Scotland's Facebook page. If you haven't taken a look already, please check out the Church on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday 4 December, 2015

Several national media outlets north and south of the border have published reports on a visit to St Columba's Church in London by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. They took part in a special service to mark the 60th anniversary of the re-dedication of the building in Knightsbridge. The original building was destroyed during the Second World War and work started on the new building in 1950 when the Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth, laid the foundation stone. At the service, Queen Elizabeth was introduced to retired master stonemason, Roger Claypitt, who helped to build the existing church.

The BBC broadcast a report on the story. It can be watched here.

The Herald published the story on page 8. (print only)

The Scotsman's offering is on page 6. (print only)

The Daily Mail's coverage of the story can be read here.

The National has published an article about a peaceful candlelight vigil held outside St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh to remember "tragic victims" of UK Government benefit cuts. P11. (print only)

The Church Times has published an article on the climate change talks in Paris. It reads World leaders opened the UN Climate Conference in Paris with powerful calls for collaboration as negotiators work on a deal to tackle global warming and its associated impacts.

In defiance of the recent terrorist attacks, more than 150 leaders made the visit to speak about their hopes for the summit. "What greater rejection for those who would tear down our world then marshalling our best efforts to save it," President Obama said in his address.

He went on: "Let there be no doubt. The next generation is watching what we do."

Ekklesia has published the joint statementissued by churches on military action in Syria.

Tuesday 1 December, 2015

After the Press Association distributed our release about the rise in trainee minister numbers, more than 30 local newspapers across the country featured it on their websites.

The Aberdeen Evening Express, for example, ran the story with the headline, 'Church of Scotland welcomes trainees as ministers reach retirement age.'

The Edinburgh Evening News reported the story headlined Heavenly Father, like daughter. (print p9)

The Herald reports that Glasgow has created a sixth NightZone to help partygoers find taxis and get back home safely after a night out. In addition, St Georges Tron Church of Scotland will host a new Safezone.

"A new SafeZone is being set up at St George's Tron Church of Scotland on the corner of Buchanan Street and Nelson Mandela Place. Anyone in need of help can go there during a night out and free mobile phone charging will also be available. The SafeZone will run until January 1." (print p5)

The Evening Times carries the story online here.

The Scotsman has published an article encouraging people to take part in Church and Society's Speak Out campaign.

"Through its Church and Society Council, the Church of Scotland is taking a long-term approach to tackling inequality and injustice. Over the next ten years, it aims to change some of the most critical issues facing our nation and planet. Throughout the Bible we read of God's passion for justice and love for those struggling with oppression and poverty. We want change in our country and in our world—to make it a bit more like what God intends.

"We are asking 10,000 people in local churches and in every part of Scottish society to imagine a different future. We are committed to hearing from everyone and particularly want to hear from those whose experiences are often ignored and who currently suffer most.

Imagine. It is the year 2035. We live in a fairer, more equal and more just Scotland in a fairer, more equal, more just world. Now pause and think: What is the one thing that if we started working on today that would help to make that real." (print p24)

Glasgow Cathedral featured on BBC Radio Four's Sunday Worship with the choral service marking the first Sunday in Advent. Minister Rev Dr Laurence Whitley led the service along with Rev Jane Taylor. (Available until Dec. 26) Listen to the service on Radio Four.

Celebrated artist John Lowrie Morrison OBE delivered Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 30 Nov. Listen to Thought for the Day here.

The Press and Journal reports on the Church of Scotland congregation on the island of Colonsay, which needs £20,000 to make its 200-year-old belfry safe.

"As a listed building, the belfry will be fully restored at a total cost of £55,000 but the structure has to be made safe immediately, pre-empting the possibility of grant aid during the first phase of the operation. Colonsay has only 135 inhabitants, 90 of whom are either pensioners or schoolchildren, and it is 36 miles from Oban, the nearest accessible community." (print p5)