Church in the news

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

Friday 18 September, 2015

It's rollover Friday – 2 days of media reports for the price of one! The Moderator is in Argyll on a Presbytery visit and has been contributing lots of images on Facebook and Twitter – including his car receiving a parking ticket!

Don't forget Sign Up Sunday for the Up For School petition this weekend – we have released two videos, and instructions in how to take part either online, or with paper petitions for those not online and without email addresses.

Friday 18th

The Daily Mail reports on the death of Rev Dr Bill Murdoch, who suffered a fatal accident during a fishing trip on Loch Fyne. Since leaving the Church, the paper reports Bill had split his time between charity work in Malawi, and his home in Lochgoilhead. Tragedy struck when his boat capsized during a solo fishing trip earlier this month, and the paper raises questions over the rescue effort to recover his body from the water. The Church expresses its condolences to his family.

Daily Record reports on Church of Scotland minister Tina Kemp, reunited with the pen pal from Australia she's been corresponding with for 45 years

The Herald reflects the delegation led by Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood which has been visiting Bosnia with the 'Remembering Srebrenica' charity she chairs in Scotland. As well as Church and Society and Ministries representatives, the party includes former SNP minister Mike Russell and Solicitor General Lesley Thomson (note providing the full text despite The Herald paywall) You can see images and impressions from the week on the @churchscovoices twitter account, which Lorna has been curating over the last few days.

The Stornoway Gazette has its latest monthly column from the Moderator, with a prominent photo from The Guild annual meeting in Dundee. (print only)

Thursday 17th

The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser and Motherwell Times report on changes at Hamilton Presbytery. Rev Dr Gordon McCracken becomes the first full time clerk of the Presbytery, and Rev Derek Gunn takes up the position of Moderator. (print only at present)

The Dumfries and Galloway Gazette reports Dunscore church is to install a plaque commemorating the life of Jane Haining, the Church missionary who died in Auschwitz after refusing to leave the Jewish children in her care. The plaque, which is being installed by Historic Scotland, was also reported on by the BBC earlier this month.

The Glenrothes Gazette carries a picture of Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison at the 50th anniversary celebrations of St Ninian's parish church last weekend.

The website Blue & Green Tomorrow reports tickets are available for our Church and Society's Good Money Week conference in Edinburgh on Oct 3rd

Wednesday 16 September, 2015

Great news - The Church of Scotland has received high praise for its efforts to persuade people to sign the Up for School petition which calls for children in troubled countries to be given access to basic education. World at School has published an article in which The Global Faiths Coalition for Education calls for the worldwide Christian community to follow the lead given by the Church of Scotland - which has made a special video to be played in churches to promote #SignUpSunday.

The Herald has published an article about a former Church of Scotland official who left money in her will that has been used to help build a hostel for female trainee teachers in Malawi. The text reads – She was a trailblazing Church of Scotland official who spent nearly 30 years supporting missionaries in Africa and beyond and championing the value of education for girls. Betty Walls became General Secretary of the Women's Foreign Mission in 1955 – the first woman to be put in sole charge of an Assembly committee. Two years after her death in 2013 at the grand old age of 99 is still making an impact in Malawi thanks to a £20,000 gift she left in her will.

Fife Today has published a picture story article about the 50th anniversary of St Ninian's Parish Church in Glenrothes. The text reads - To help mark the 50th anniversary of St Ninian's Parish Church, the congregation was joined by the Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, moderator for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for a special service on Sunday morning. Dr Morrison planted a tree in the grounds and cut a birthday cake, while Rev. Rosemary Frew, moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery unveiled a stone plaque.

The Dunoon Observer has published an article about the moderator's up and coming visit to a Gaelic conversation club at a Church. The text reads - The Right Reverend Doctor Angus Morrison will be giving his blessing to, and officially opening, the drop-in Gaelic centre at St Columba's Church, Strone on Thursday September 17. Dr Morrison is the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland – and a pro-Gaelic campaigner.

STV Glasgow has published an article about a new café to help homeless people that has opened in a city church. The text reads - The Wild Olive Tree cafe, launched inside St George's Tron Church of Scotland, has partnered with Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust to set up training opportunities for clients of the two charities. Serving hot coffee and speciality baking, such as pear, ginger and vanilla scones, the cafe hopes to offer vulnerable people another chance at getting themselves back on their feet.

Third Force News has published an article written by Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, on asylum seekers. The text reads - As Scotland contemplates the most exciting prospect in a generation to exercise radical long-term hospitality, I have been thinking about the last time such an opportunity arose. Sadly, it exposed me as a racist, blind to my own prejudices and in constant need of transformation. It was 2001. I was fairly new in post as the Church of Church of Scotland's Priority Areas Adviser and I was meeting a colleague near the tower blocks of Glasgow's Sighthill, where some 3,500 asylum seekers had been housed since the turn of that year.

Tuesday 15 September, 2015

Today theHerald has published a letter written by the Rev Iain Cunningham, convener of the Church of Scotland's World Mission Council ,responding to another letter complaining about the Church's focus on Israel. Mr Cunningham sets out why the Church is take part in strike action at the Tabeetha school and its position on critiquing the policies of all countries when it believes they jeopardise justice or contravening international law.

The Edinburgh Evening News has published an article lamenting city council boundary changes. The text reads:- "Looking for Colinton Parish Church? Or trying to find Colinton cemetery? You might think the obvious place to start is Colinton – but not for much longer, if officials have their way. Under controversial proposals for boundary changes in the Capital, a whole series of Colinton landmarks – including the Robert Louis Stevenson statue, war memorial and the offices of the Colinton Community Conservation Trust – would no longer officially be in Colinton. Even the "Welcome to Colinton" sign would be moved into the neighbouring ward.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond's comments about faith and the Church of Scotland continue to receive press attention and the Edinburgh Evening News has published a reader letter with the headline "Secularists are not anti-faith, just fair." (print only) The letter has been published in the Scotsman 

The Arbroath Herald has published an article reflecting on the Church's view on the refugee crisis . (print only)

The Orcadian has carried an article about the eco-baton being toured around churches in Orkney and the Stirling Observer has also published a piece about the baton's recent tour of churches in the area.(print only)

Monday 14 September, 2015

It isn't often the Church makes the fashion pages, but the Duchess of Cambridge chose Crathie Church to debut her new hairstyle, which features in The Daily Mail and several other national publications. She was photographed as she arrived to attend Crathie Church near Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire with husband Prince William and other members of the Royal Family yesterday.

On a more serious note, The Paisley Daily Express has published an article about members of Erskine Parish Church which collected supplies to help clothe over 100 refugees stranded in Calais in 12 hours. Minister the Rev Jonathan Fleming is quoted as saying "We have only been accepting donations for 12 hours and already we have filled half the space we have set aside – the response from the local community has just been unreal. Like everyone else the images of the little boy and his family on the beach just crushed me. I decided I had to something and called on the parish to lend their support and that's exactly what they have done." (print only)

BBC Radio 3 carried the following story on a radio bulletin yesterday morning - The Church of Scotland has written to David Cameron urging him to intervene in a dispute taking place in religious schools in Israel. 

The Courier carried an article about Coldside Parish Church in Dundee which was recently broken into. The text reads - The thieves who raided a Dundee church this week may not have known or cared that they were stealing food from the mouths of some of the city's most deprived people. As they ransacked Coldside Church they stole high value electrical items but also, it has emerged, food and drink destined for a new community café The actions of the thieves could have crippled the project, but instead they have helped reignite the glimmering local spirit. Residents and businesses have rallied around, with Tesco staff raising £260 for the church and restocking the kitchen with provisions and appliances. The photograph features the Moderator the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison cutting a ribbon to formally open the café.

The Courier carried a page lead on Saturday featuring the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison who said powerful voices were trying to silence people of faith. This piece is available in print only but a taster was published online.

The Linlithgow Gazette has carried an article about former First Minister Alex Salmond saying he prefers people of faith to those who have none or have lost it. The reaction to these remarks from people of no faith sparked the Moderator's comments as featured in the Courier.

The Press and Journal has published a letter from the Scottish Secular Society reflecting on the moderator's remarks about powerful voices. The writer complains that the Church is far from being silenced because it has an opinion on most issues, the ear of governments and a very effective communications department. (We'll take that as a compliment. Ed) (print only)

On social media this week, former Moderator Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood is in Srebrenica this week with the 'Remembering Srebrenica' charity she chairs in Scotland. She is also the guest tweeter on the Church of Scotland Voices account this week, and will be tweeting photographs and comments from Bosnia. Follow @churchscovoices to keep in touch. It's encouraging this account, curated by Rev Peter Nimmo who selects a different Church of Scotland voice each week, now has 512 followers.