Church in the news

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

Friday 4 September, 2015

With media attention focused on the migrant crisis, many local newspapers report on the Church's call for compassion and practical help. Several outlets report on the emergency meeting called today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon which The Church of Scotland is attending.

The Moderator has a three-part column in the Press and Journal where he talks about kinship carers, the role of education in combating poverty and the migrant crisis. "We have an absolute obligation to help," he says in a section headlined, "We must help those fleeing war zones into Europe." (print)

The Brechin Advertiser

The Buteman

Press and Journal

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has ignited controversy on social media and in the press for his statements on faith. Mr Salmond made the comments on a Church of Scotland video with Rev Stuart D. MacQuarrie who had just delivered the opening Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament. He said:

"I am biased, of course, because I am a Church of Scotland adherent and I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith. All denominations have a key role to play in society and we are very fortunate in Scotland because we have a tremendous ability, among religions and denominations, to come together and support good causes."

The story immediately drew reaction from everyone from ministers to representatives from The Humanist Society. You can see Mr Salmond's comments in context on our own website:

The story was covered by most major news outlets with some picking up on his words praising former political rival, the late Donald Dewar:

BBC online

STV online

The Scotsman

Arbroath Herald

Press and Journal

The Scotsman

Glasgow Evening Times

The Herald

The BBC's Beechgrove Garden highlighted the "Brighter Bervie" gardeners, who started out by transforming a neglected Manse garden into a community jewel. The garden is the only community garden to be featured on the program.

Here's what The Church of Scotland's story said about the garden.

"The garden is the result of an idea first mooted 10 years ago, but which only came together relatively recently. Tom Campbell, a member of the Church of Scotland in Bervie, who's now the chairperson of Brighter Bervie says, "When we first suggested the garden idea people in the church were worried about the cost and who would be able to do the work, so it was shelved. But a couple of years ago God brought the right circumstances to see it go ahead. That's when I realised a community group would have much greater access to funding and the wider support of the community."

The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald reported on Rev Jonathan Fleming who was praised in the Scottish Parliament after being named Citizen of the Year by his local community council in recognition of the work he and his congregation are doing. (print)

Thursday 3 September, 2015

Sally Foster Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council, is quoted in The National's story about the human tragedy of the migrant crisis. She says: "These refugees are coming from some of the most desperate situations imaginable. By opening our minds, our hearts and our borders, by welcoming them as family, we display our true identity, members of a global community and a country who lives out radical hospitality and compassion."

The National is one of many papers who report on the discovery in Durham of the mass grave for Scots prisoners of war captured by Oliver Cromwell's troops after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. More than 1,700 prisoners from the Covenanters army, are thought to have perished from starvation, including boys as young as 13. The Church may be involved in discussions about what should now happen to the remains.

Story also covered in The Herald: (paywall)

The Mirror:

The Times: (paywall)

The Scotsman:

Third Force News publishes an opinion column by Martin Johnstone, secretary of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council pointing out that when benefits claimants lie they get sanctioned, yet the DWP got away with hoodwinking the public with fake case studies. "This shambles happened not because of a couple of rogue employees but because of the culture within the DWP, which is intent on proving that its reforms are working even though the great majority of independent evidence is pointing in exactly the opposite direction."

The Trinidad Express reports on the demolition of a historic church in Port of Spain.

"The National Trust has announced its intention to take legal action against businessman Alfred Galy over the full demolition last Saturday of the historic Greyfriars Church of Scotland on Frederick Street, Port of Spain. The Trust said yesterday that Galy was in contradiction of the rules that governed Greyfriars, which was a Gazetted part of the National Heritage."

Wednesday 2 September, 2015

The Press and Journal reports that the Woodside Music Group at Woodside Parish Church in Aberdeen has secured a grant to buy instruments.

"Woodside Parish Church runs a community music group, and has now bought a variety of instruments – ranging from an electric piano to a bass guitar and bell chimes – after securing a grant from the Scottish Government.

The £2,868 award from the Fairer Scotland Fund means the group will be able to offer free, weekly sessions to scores of budding musicians of all ages.

June Smith, who was the head of music at Dyce Academy for 18 years, heads up the Woodside Community Music Group, said she was looking forward to developing the talents of the local community."

The Guardian reports that an archaeological investigation near Durham Cathedral has unearthed skeletons of Scottish covenanters taken prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar.

"Skeletons found in two mass graves next to Durham cathedral have been revealed to be the remains of Scottish soldiers taken prisoner on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in one of the bloodiest battles of the 17th-century civil wars.

Archaeologists at Durham University on Wednesday published the results of more than 18 months' research into the mystery of the jumbled skeletons of between 17 and 28 people that had lain untouched for more than 350 years.

The research team said the only plausible explanation was that the skeletons are those of Scottish soldiers taken prisoner after the English parliamentarian army's victory at the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

The brutal battle, which was over in less than an hour, took place between Cromwell's army and the woefully unprepared Scottish Covenanters, who supported Charles II's claims to the Scottish throne."

The Inverness Courier reports on a fundraising event that will support Youth for Christ and an adult social care charity. "Pupils from Fortrose Academy will stage performances at the Make Merry Music event at Killearnan Church of Scotland, Redcastle, near Muir of Ord on Thursday." (print only)

The Courier reports on a Dundee study, Transforming Scotland, that finds more than one-third of people in that region of Scotland believe Scotland is a Christian nation and more than half believe Churches are a good influence and strengthen our communities. (print)

The Telegraph reports that the Moderator and the Archbishop of Canterbury have launched a joint blog on the EU Referendum that will feature different points of view and model respectful dialogue. The Church currently has a pro-European Union policy which was passed by the General Assembly.

The story is also covered in:

Christian Today:


Anglican News:

Tuesday 1 September, 2015

BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden is to feature, this Thursday on BBC2 at 7.30pm,  an ambitious spiritual garden which has been created in Inverbervie by a dedicated band of volunteers, brought together when members of Bervie church created the 'Brighter Bervie' community group. The story is featured in the The Mearns Leader and Kincardineshire Observer and we will have a full account with pictures showing the stunning transformation on our website tomorrow.

The threatened closure of Stirling University's Religious Studies Department has been featured on the Ekklesia news blog in recent days,, and makes the letters page of The Herald today.  The paper has published a letter from Mr Ian Thomson of Lenzie,  reflecting on the Church of Scotland's impact on society and calling on Stirling University to maintain its religious studies programme, following redundancy notices to staff and threats to courses. (print only)

The Press and Journal is carrying a story about £3million worth of building contracts won by Aberdeen-based firm Anderson Construction which is carrying out projects for the Church of Scotland. (print only)

The Edinburgh Evening News has carried a story about a new clothing bank to help vulnerable families that has been opened up by the Church of Scotland congregation at Kirk of Calder in West Lothian. (print only)

Also, take a look at the Volunteering Vocations story and video on the church website and social media channels It features the first group of young people to sign up for this volunteering project, and what they hope the experience will bring them. We hope to follow their progress through the year. Please like and share the video if you find it interesting, in the hope more people will be encouraged to take up the opportunity in the future.