Church in the news
The latest news on The Church of Scotland's work, events and activities from external media outlets.
BBC Radio Cumbria reported that The Border Kirk's Doves Cafe is providing free soup and bread to people who have had to leave their homes because of flooding.
Several letters to The National, took issue with its story last week comparing the Covenanters and early Protestantism with Islamic extremists today. Professor Steve Murdoch of the University of St Andrews writes:
"It is so easy for people to try to look for analogies with the past and completely miss the importance of a period or an event due to a lack of critical contextualisation of it.
"The later 17th century Presbyterians should be considered with an understanding of the era in which they operated, and certainly not all lumped together with the assassins of Sharpe or signatories of the Sanquhar Declaration. They bear no comparison to Daesh anymore than the later 18th century French revolutionaries of 1793-94 do.
"The revolutionary French severed heads, and Daesh continue to sever heads by the thousands for sure, but are the groups comparable? Nor would a comparison with the death cult atheists of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge be appropriate, or reflect the opinion of most non-believers." (print p23)
The Edinburgh Evening News reports on the vote by Presbyteries on whether to allow Churches to call ministers in same-sex marriages:
"It is understood 25 out of the 45 presbyteries have now voted in favour of the change, with a couple of results still to come.
"It is a narrower margin than the vote last year on ministers in civil partnerships, which was backed by 31 presbyteries." (12 Dec. print p13)
The Aberdeen Evening Express reports that a fish and chip shop owner whose business burned down has received support from church groups in his community:
"Rikki Pirie, 36, who owns Sea Salt and Sole in Dyce, has been astonished by the amount of kind messages he has received since the chipper was gutted in a blaze.
"Rikki said: 'I have had some great support from the Dyce Parish Church. The Rev Manson Merchant said that the church often prays for us. They have also given us angels to put on our Christmas tree, which was really nice of them.'" (print p7)
The Southern Reporter has carried an opinion piece by Scottish Secretary David Mundell which highlights a visit to the Westminster Parliament by the Moderator of the General Assembly the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison and commending the good work the Church does.
The text reads: - I had the great pleasure of welcoming the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to parliament where he delivered a service to mark St Andrew's Day.
I was particularly pleased to see him full of drive and enthusiasm after his ill health and I know that he is looking to contribute to Scottish life in the remainder of his term.
The Church of Scotland continues to play an extremely important role in Scottish life and civic society during a time of such change that not everybody finds easy. People were divided at the time of the referendum and afterwards, and I believe we all have a responsibility to work together to unite our country and deliver the best outcome we can for Scotland.
At this time of year we should remember – all of us who care about Scotland – not to let disagreements about the constitution or anything else obscure the real and substantial common bonds that unite us.
The Church of Scotland, as well as many other faith groups across the country, play a big part in the lives of many Scots on a day-to-day basis. I will continue to work with the Church of Scotland, faith groups and civic society to tackle the challenges that we face in Scotland, in the UK and around the world.
The Courier has published an article about Aberfeldy Drama Club's efforts to restore the Old Kirk in Chapel Street. The proceeds from the December production of Snow White will be used to pay for renovations of the thrift shop. (print only)
The National has published a story which conveys that relatives of sailors who served in the First World War have been invited to take part in events marking the centenary of the Battle of Jutland. The event next May will include a service at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney. (print only)
The Evening Express has published an article which informs readers that a historic public hall in the Aberdeenshire village of Banchory Devenick could be changed into a residential home. The hall was formally owned by the Kirk. (print only)
The Kincardineshire Observer has revealed that a Strictly Come dancing event at a Stonehaven care home raised nearly £1,200. The newspaper states: "Crossreach, The Bungalow, held a strictly fundraiser at the Stonehaven Town Hall Friday, November 27 that we are sure Craig Revel Horwood would describe as 'FAB-U-LOUS AND A-MAZING'.
The Means Leader has carried the same story.
The Central Fife Times publishes a story about church musician James Robertson.
"A man who has played music for generations of church congregations in Lochgelly has decided to call it a day. James Robertson, of Reid Street, in Lochgelly has retired after 78 years service of providing music to the Church of Scotland, at Macainsh, St Andrews and St Serfs in in the town."
The Daily Record reports on a Rutherglen imam who has launched a project to combat radicalisation of Muslim youth. The story includes an interview with Rev Alistair May, who discusses the Syrian conflict saying he is not convinced airstrikes are the right course to take, but has respect for people who sincerely take an opposing position. Read The Daily Record's story here.
The National writes about a report that concludes non-religious people face discrimination in Scotland.
"Religious discrimination around the world is well documented, but the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) says non-religious people still face grave prejudice in many nations and systematic disadvantage in Scotland…
"How is Scotland rated? The country is criticised for affording 'religiously privileged position' to three faith representatives required on all local education committees by law. Post-holders must include at least one Roman Catholic and one Church of Scotland representative, but nonreligious people are excluded, even though almost one in two Scots say they do not have a faith." (print p20)
The Stirling Observer reports on a new church lunch club for older people. "Allan Park South Church of Scotland is launching a weekly free drop-in Jubilee Lunch Club for older people living within central Stirling from January 14. And the organisers are appealing for memorabilia which can be used within the Lunch Club for reminiscence…The club is funded by a 'Go for It' grant from the Church of Scotland." (print p 15)
Greener Businessreports on the Scottish government's plan to invest a further £12 million in the Climate Justice Fund. The story quotes climate justice advocates including Church and Society Convener, Rev Sally Foster Fulton.
"The funding will see the Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund double in size and allow more support to projects in countries such as Malawi and Zambia. The fund aims to lessen the impacts of climate change on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people…
"She (Rev Sally Foster Fulton) said:
"'Communities are disappearing, crops are failing and people are going hungry because of our lifestyle choices. We must therefore tackle both long term causes and short term symptoms.
"'That's why we welcome both the call of the Scottish Government for an ambitious agreement to be reached at the Paris summit – one which will make life on our planet sustainable in the long term – and also its commitment to double investment in its Climate Justice Fund.'"
The Scotsman profiles Alistair Carmichael, focusing on his Church of Scotland affiliation, as part of its report on the Orkney and Shetland MPs election court victory.
"Mr Carmichael lives in Orkney with his wife, Kate, and has two sons, Sandy and Simon. He is an elder in the Church of Scotland, and he lists his interests as listening to music, theatre and cooking." (print p 4-5)
The American website Inside Higher Eddiscusses historical ideas about Christmas in its article, 'War on Christmas: The Prequel'.
"Protestant militants had other, less recondite reasons for disliking Christmas and wanting to stamp it out. Nothaft quotes the First Book of Discipline issued by the Church of Scotland's listing of Christmas as one of the holidays that, 'because in God's Scripture they neither have commandment nor assurance, we judge them utterly to be abolished from this realm.'
"Not to be too reductionist about it, but all those feast days on the calendar of the medieval church must have been quite galling to the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. The theological arguments were sincere, but so was the emerging mentality that prized hard work and self-denial."
The Sun reports on the anniversary of the bin lorry crash that killed six people last year noting that an ecumenical service will be held at Glasgow Cathedral on 22 December. (print p 9) Find out about the service through the Church's story here.
In the Scottish Daily Express Keith Aitken writes in his column:
"Times must be tougher in the Church of Scotland even than we thought. An Aberdeenshire reader's local kirk sent her an invitation to 'mulled wine and mice pies' at the Christmas service." (print p13)
Kate's Kitchen, an Annan charity that tackles poverty with food and social support was featured on Annandale TV last Friday, opening its new premises, The Beacon. Kate's Kitchen serves hot, healthy meals, offers a listening ear and helps connect people to services with the assistance of a Go For It Main Grant of £90,000. Watch the Annandale TV report here.
The Scotsman's story about the impact of the Forth Road Bridge closure quotes very Rev John Chalmers.
"John Chalmers, principal clerk to the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, lives in Dunfermline. He said his commute to the Capital took an hour longer than usual despite his decision to beat the morning rush by leaving later.
He said: "I don't think it would have been so bad if it was not so wet. I dread to think what happens if it is not open again after New Year.
"I guess it would have taken me about three hours if I had left at my normal time of 7am.
"I will get better and they will get better, but it's still going to take 40 to 50 minutes longer than otherwise."
He said his daughter, a nurse at the Western General, had to start at 7:30am. "She lives in Crombie, right on the A985, which was closed to all but buses and heavy good vehicles. The first day the bridge was closed, she left at 5:30am and didn't get home till 9pm." Read The Scotsman's story here.
The Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra reports on plans to keep festive revellers safe over the holiday season that include St George's Tron Church of Scotland and the Glasgow street pastors.
"As reported in last week's Extra, partygoers are encouraged to use Community Safety Glasgow's NiteZones — including one at Langside Hall in Shawlands — to get home quickly and safely. A new SafeZone has also been set up at St George's Tron Church of Scotland on Buchanan Street, offering free mobile phone charging and help from street pastors." Read about the holiday season safety plan here.