Church in the news

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

Wednesday 25 November, 2015

BBC's Newsnight produced an 8 minute segment on climate change and the Paris summit that shows why we can be hopeful that our actions will help. When you have 8 minutes to spare Newsnight's Climate Change report is well worth watching.

The Courier's story 'Defiant campaigner goes ahead with eco message' reports on Rachel Walker, who is heading to Paris this week with the climate baton. Rachel is one of two representatives from the Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly. Rachel and fellow youth rep Duncan Logie will travel by train with Church of Scotland climate change officer Adrian Shaw, courtesy of Virgin. (print p15)

The Courier also covered a group of 31 pupils from Perth High who narrowly missed being locked down in Brussels after visiting the day before. The paper quotes Brussels-based Church of Scotland minister rev Andrew Gardener, formerly of the High Kirk in Dundee, saying the security crisis had stopped him from holding Sunday service.

"It made no sense to gather people together for Christian worship, when public gatherings were being discouraged, public transport disrupted and those coming into city were feeling anxious.

"It was a strange Sunday." (print p15)

Jim Holland, the editor of the Carluke Gazette, writes about the Paris terror attacks and quotes the Moderator saying,

"Rev. Dr Angus Morrison, said it was 'impossible to comprehend the mindset that leads people to perpetrate such indiscriminate barbarity against their fellow human beings.'

"In a poignant tribute the moderator said: 'My heart - and I speak for us all in the Church of Scotland - goes out in deepest sympathy to all who have lost family members and friends and to those who have been injured in this atrocity.'

"Sentiments shared by the vast majority of people the length and breadth of the country and beyond." (print p20)

The editorial also appears in the Kirkintilloch Herald, and the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald.

The East Lothian News reports that a site in Aberlady owned by the Church of Scotland will bring the area's Anglo-Saxon past to life.

"The rich array of metal finds from the field, including the largest concentration of Anglo-Saxon objects yet discovered in Scotland, suggest that Aberlady was an important location in the Kingdom of Northumbria between the 7th and 10th centuries and before the kingdoms of Scotland and England had been formed."

The story quotes Ian Malcolm of Aberlady Conservation and History Society saying,

"Our sincere thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the other grant funding bodies, to the Church of Scotland General Trustees and Agricultural Management Haddington Ltd as landowner and tenant respectively and to the local community groups and schools for making this exciting project happen."

The Fife Herald publishes an editorial criticising a Falkland minister after he held a Remembrance Day service in Church not at a newly erected War Memorial.

"Understandably proud of their collective history and new war memorial, it is only right that they be allowed to lay wreaths and be part of a service at that location," the paper writes before acknowledging they had not spoken to the minister so did not have the full story. (print p26)

The Southern Reporter writes that the discovery of some WWI medals led to uncovering the story of Mary Lee Milne, who left behind photographs and journals.

"In August 1916, Mary, then aged 43, a recently widowed Church of Scotland minister's wife, left her home in Selkirk and sailed from Liverpool on board the Huntspill, bound for Southern Russia with the Scottish Women's Hospital (SWH).

"She is listed as the unit's head cook and travelled with 75 women led by the famous Dr Elsie Inglis. Through their research, museum staff discovered that for the next two years, Mary would serve as a cook and housekeeper with the SWH in Russia, Romania and France. She worked closely with the charismatic SWH founder, Dr Inglis and was one of only six women who stayed with Dr Inglis for the entirety of her final 15-month tour of duty."

The story also appears in the Hawick News.

In its story, 'Linked churches aim to give strength and support to each other', The Northern Times reports:

"The Church of Scotland charge of Kincardine, Croick and Edderton, linked with Creich linked with Rosehall, spans a huge territorial parish area.

Each attractive historical place of worship is a focal point for the villages. Worship takes place regularly at 10.30am at Creich Parish Church in Bonar Bridge, and noon at Rosehall Parish Church." (print p19)

The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald reports on events in Bearsden Cross church, including a Phoenix Circle talk: "Hollywood – a Presbyterian Perspective" from Kathleen MacPherson The story includes a plug for the Speak Out campaign.

"As you leave church do take a 'Speak Out' card and join in the Church of Scotland campaign to find out how church members of all ages would like life in Scotland to change by 2035." (print p29)

Tuesday 24 November, 2015

The challenge posed to humanity by climate change is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – issues of our times. The evidence seems compelling that the world's climate is changing rapidly, that this is a direct result of human activity, and that unless checked, the consequences are potentially catastrophic.

This will be particularly so for the world's poorest people who, ironically, have least contributed to the problem and are least able to deal with it. Scotland's Climate Change March will be held Saturday 28, November and this week during the run up we will be posting stories on climate change to our website and social media.

The Scotsman has published an article about the security lockdown in Brussels due to fears a terrorist attack could be launched by Islamic extremists. The article features some quotes from the Rev Dr Andrew Gardner of St Andrew's Church of Scotland who was advised to cancel services on Sunday. Read The Scotsman's story about Brussels here.

A more lengthy piece featuring Mr Gardner has been posted on the Church's website and social media.

The Scotsman has published a quirky article about an unusual tradition in the north-east village of St Cyrus. It reads:

" It was the sight of a couple in the snow on their wedding day that led a civil servant to establish one of Scotland's quirkiest wedding day traditions. John Orr, the accountant general of Madras, is said to have been so moved by the newlyweds struggling in cold conditions in his home village of St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire, that he offered them some money.

Shortly afterward, Mr Orr, from a wealthy local family, is said to have changed his will in a move that would keep weddings in St Cyrus unique. After his death in 1845, the annual interest from £1,000 was to be split between four brides - the tallest, the shortage, the youngest and the oldest with the same measuring stick used to find the worthy "Dowry Bride of St Cyrus"

A fifth of the interest was to be distributed amongst the poor of the village. A ledger in the church shows a list of the lucky newlyweds, which have been recorded in John Gavin's The Dowry Brides of St Cyrus. Read The Scotsman's story about measuring brides here.

The Press and Journal has published an opinion piece about the management of the Church of Scotland and Church of England by regular columnist Ron Ferguson. (print only)

Monday 23 November, 2015

The Courier reports that the Moderator preached at the 150th anniversary celebration of Hope Park and Martyrs Church in St Andrews. (Print p8)

Also in The Courier a photo of Guild members accompanies a report on Forfar East and Old Church's Guild week service, which focused on the theme Be Bold, Be Strong, along with a message of peace that included the Moderator's Prayer for Paris. (Print P8)

The Linlithgow Gazette reports that Rev Albert Bogle is stepping down from his post as minister at St Andrew's Parish Church.

"It really will be the end of an era for both the church and its popular, colourful minister who came to Bo'ness shortly after completing his training and who has spent his entire ministry in the town." Read Bo'ness flock seeks new shepherd.

A letter to The Scotsman criticises the Catholic Church for historic child sex abuse. Apparently unaware of the Church of Scotland's safeguarding policies the writer concludes by saying, "Let us hope that the Church of Scotland and other Christian sects waste no time in setting up their own independent (safeguarding) bodies." (Print p24)

The Evening News reports that Scotland's Catholic Bishops have agreed on an action plan following the independent review released in August of how the Church handled abuse allegations. The review carried out by a commission led by former Kirk Moderator the Very Rev Andrew McLellan, "called for the church to make an 'unmistakeable and unequivocal' apology and said support for survivors of abuse must be its 'absolute priority.'" (print p6)

The National's story "Black Friday does not reflect the true spirit of Christmas" looks at the Church's newly released Advent Calendar, quoting Rt Rev Angus Morrison saying:

"It's great to see the Church reaching out to the wider public who feel the festive spirit is being lost to rampant commercialism. When even the large retailers are using their Christmas adverts to highlight social isolation, and shoppers are fighting in stores over cheap TVs on Black Friday, it's easy to see why people feel something is missing." (print p6)

The Advent Calendar has already attracted more than 1,000 registrations.

News media and social channels are discussing the ban on religious advertising in cinema after a Christmas message from the Church of England featuring the Lord's Prayer was rejected.

The Evening Times story quotes spokespeople from the Church of England and the Free Kirk. Read the Evening Times story.

It's Climate Action week and we will be posting a story to the website every day leading up to the Climate March on Saturday. Today: Everything you need to know about Scotland's Climate March.

Friday 20 November, 2015

The Press and Journal has published a page lead about The Shed at Martins Memorial Church in Stornoway which was recently named Best Church Building Project in the Christian Forum Funders Awards.

Murdo MacIver, The Shed's programme manager, is quoted as saying "We are thankful for the nomination by The Joseph Rank Trust for best church building project in the annual Christian Funded Forum Awards and to the other 15 members of the forum for hosting such a great event."Being the Gold winner in our category was fantastic, humbling and great encouragement for us all in Martins Memorial Church that our work at The Shed has been recognised. What started as a vision many years ago is now a working building serving the Stornoway community. It is truly amazing that The Shed is now getting recognition nationally.

David Robertson, Secretary and Clerk to the General Trustees, commended both congregations for their work in bringing the projects to life. He said: "The General Trustees are proud and delighted, but not entirely surprised, that both The Shed and Castlemilk Parish Church have won these national awards. The Shed is an example of a building transformed from a derelict husk into a vibrant community resource and a place where faith can flourish.

The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland has published an article about Laura Dunlop QC who is receiving an honorary degree from the University of Stirling. She has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the support of vulnerable people. Ms Dunlop has held office as Procurator to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland – the first female to hold this appointment – since 2005.

The Daily Mail has published an article about Mary Lee Milne, the widow of a Church of Scotland minister who became a hero of the First World War,

The Central Fife Timeshas published an article reflecting on the 125th anniversary of the Burgh of Cowdenbeath – a milestone Moderator of the General Assembly the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison recently helped celebrate.

Church Action On Poverty has published a blog on a campaign aimed at tackling so-called funeral poverty. The Church of Scotland is a member of Funeral Poverty Alliance.