Church in the news

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

Monday 21 November, 2016

Tuesday 15 - Monday 21 November

Facebook figures

We are delighted the Church of Scotland Facebook page has reached almost 600,000 people in the last 28 days, and people visiting the page have generated almost 82,000 likes, shares, comments and video views. If you don't often visit our page, please take a look.​

Jane Haining's family see the will for the first time

Relatives of Scots missionary Jane Haining have attended a special reunion to view her handwritten will. The Rt Rev Russell Barr hosted the event at the Moderator's flat.

The priceless document, along with unpublished photographs and other letters, provides a fresh insight into the life of Jane Haining who died in the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz Birkenau in 1944.

The story was picked up extensively:

Glasgow Evening News
The Herald
Press & Journal
Yorkshire Post
BBC website

The Courier
Edinburgh Evening Times
Aberdeen Evening Express

STV website

Light for Aleppo

Communities across the country were urged to support ‘A light for Aleppo, a light for all’, by lighting candles on Sunday 20 November as a gesture of support for the men, women and children trapped in the besieged Syrian city.

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly, says the initiative is all the more timely now the bombing of Aleppo has resumed following an all too brief ceasefire.

Gais Masri, 19, who came to Scotland from Syria two years ago, said the Light for Aleppo initiative gives him hope. He says:

“It’s sad to hear that people from your country are dying every day and the places where you have loads of memories are destroyed, so this means a lot to me. It means that people are thinking about us and they did not forget us and there is still hope that war will end in Syria and everything might be fine.

Masri, who is studying environmental engineering in the hope that he will one day be able to return to Syria and help rebuild the country, says the Scottish people have welcomed him and his friends here are like a new family.

“I will never forget what the Scottish people have done for me and my family,” he said. “Even if I can go back to Syria and help my country I will never forget Scotland.”

The story appeared in:

The Herald  
Christian Today

Northern Times

Richmond's Hope

Founded by a Kirk minister, Edinburgh-based charity Richmond’s Hope has already helped more than 3,000 young people come to terms with their grief. Now during Children’s Grief Awareness week the charity is launching a new service in Glasgow.

Rev Liz Henderson founded Richmond’s Hope 14 years ago after she realised that in just one year 15 funerals in her Craigmillar community had left 36 children without a parent or sibling. Discovering there was little help available for young people coming to terms with their grief, Liz set up Richmond’s Hope. Since then the independent charity, which is open to people of any faith and none, has helped more than 3,000 children through bereavement.

Glasgow evening times

Third Force News

One year since first Refugees from Syria

More than 1,200 Syrian refugees have been welcomed to Scotland since the first flight arrived in Glasgow 12 months ago.

The Church of Scotland has been at the forefront of a national response to ensure that men, women and children fleeing armed conflict and persecution are given the help and support they need to settle into communities.

David Bradwell appeared on BBC Radio Scotlandto speak about what the Church of Scotland has been doing to assist and to look at the difficulties that refugees face. 

Rev Shuna Dicks, of Aberlour Parish Church, featured in the Press & Journal and Northern Scot, discussing what she and the local community around Moray has been doing to help five refugee families to settle. You can read more about this on our website.

Funeral Poverty

The rate of so-called 'pauper funerals' has increased by 24% over the last year. Rev Dr Derek Browning explained in a piece for The Heraldwhat is like to do a funeral for someone who has no known connections.

Unfortunately The Herald initially referred to Dr Browning as the Moderator, however this was corrected to Moderator Designate in the online edition of The Herald.

Monday 7 November, 2016

Church in the News Wednesday 2  - Monday 7 November

Smacking Ban

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, has urged MSPs to acknowledge the recommendations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and remove the defence of "justifiable assault" from the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

He added that the move must be a priority and would grant youngsters under 16 the same rights as adults.

Dr Frazer addressed the Equal Protection for Children seminar at the Scottish Parliament last week and highlighted research showing that physical punishment is harmful for children’s health and that legal reform should be a priority for the Scottish Government.

The story was picked up by the following news outlets:

The Times
The Herald

Church Speaks Out on effect of Benefit Cap on children

The Church of Scotland has heavily criticised the effect that the new benefit cap will have on children. 

More information is available on theBBC website.

The Church's stance was repeated on news bulletins this morning on BBC Radio Scotland and today's BBC 1 Breakfast. Rev Dr Richard Frazer appeared on BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland (42") this morning to discuss the issue.  

Role of Religion in Schools

Rev Dr Richard Frazer contributed to aBBC 1 Sunday Politics Scotland (1"01'18) television discussion on the role of religion in schools. Dr Frazer welcomed a Scottish government consultation on the issue saying "learning about other faiths; learning about how other people live their lives is actually quite an important aspect of living in a pluralistic society where people have tolerance, respect for one another and an understanding of what drives people in their lives." 

The Herald

Kirk of St Nicholas holds service of remembrance for oil and gas workers who died offshore

On Saturday a special Service of Remembrance for all those who have died offshore was held at the Kirk of St Nicholas in Union Street, Aberdeen.

The service of commemoration is held annually on the first Saturday in November at the Kirk of St Nicholas. The Kirk is home to the Oil and Gas chapel which houses the Books of Remembrance where the names of those who have died offshore are inscribed.

A candle was lit to open the service in memory of all who have died offshore since the industry began.

Afterwards a candle was lit for the four people who have died offshore in the last year.

This year an additional candle was lit to commemorate the 45 men who died when a Chinook helicopter crashed off Sumburgh in Shetland on 6 November 1986.

The service was covered by major press outlets including

The Sunday Herald

Press and Journal

Daily Record

Pioneer Arts Minister in Post

A new minister dedicated to the visual arts community has been welcomed into his post with a ceremony that showcased a stunning installation in Renfield St Stephens Church of Scotland in Glasgow.

Rev Peter Gardner marked the start of his pioneering ministry by creating Lightlines, a kinetic installation made from 153 recycled glass jars suspended from the church ceiling on nylon cords and partially filled with water, making each one a vessel to catch the light.

Glasgow Evening Times

Rev John Murray Speaks out

Rev John Murray of Kilmuir and Stenscholl, Skye, has heavily critiscised decisions to move NHS services from Portree to Broadford.  

You can read more about the story in the The Heraldand Press and Journal

This week Church of Scotland stories appeared in national newspapers a total of sixteen times and local newspapers a total of ninety-four times.

Monday 31 October, 2016

Prayers for America

Church leaders in the USA have called on Scots to pray for the country amid growing tensions over the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), The Church of Scotland's American partner organisation, has issued a call to the faithful to pray for peace and a "non-violent transition from one president to the next".

The Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who is currently in the USA on official business, said he was "quite taken aback" by the mood in the country and has backed the call.

The Scotsmanand The Heraldboth covered this.

Youngest Current Minister Ordained

A former shop assistant has become the youngest Church of Scotland minister currently active today.

Rev Stuart Love, 25, was ordained last week at Clincarthill Parish Church on the southside of Glasgow and has become the current youngest Church of Scotland minister.

The former sales assistant at WH Smiths in Hamilton said he was "excited and nervous" about his new role in equal measure.

Mr Love said his parents Lorna and Robin told him that he declared at the age of five that he wanted to be either a Church minister or the Prime Minister when he grew up.

He added that his calling to Clincarthill Parish Church was a sign that "God is not finished" with the Church of Scotland.

The story was picked up by The Herald, The Scotsman, The Edinburgh Evening News and the Glasgow Evening Times.

Church Still Receives Annual Gift 700 Hundred Years On

A decree from King Robert the Bruce 700 years ago giving a church £5 per year as a reward for services rendered is still being enacted. The Church, which is now Cullen and Deskford church, was granted the annual sum after the congregation helped the King with the funeral arrangements of his wife, Elizabeth de Burgh in 1327.

Daily Mail, The Herald, and the Press & Journalwrote articles about the annual gift.

Monday 24 October, 2016

Church in the News Tuesday 18 October - Monday 24 October 

Fairway to Heaven

Rev Susan Brown has written thought provoking reflections for each of the 18 Championship Course holes at Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the Highlands to help inspire players and “exercise the body, mind and spirit”.

Mrs Brown, minister of 13th century Dornoch Cathedral, said the “thoughts”, which are part advice on how to best tackle the links course, were designed to help quieten the minds of golfers and give them a sense of perspective on life.

“Royal Dornoch is a stunning course and golf, for many people, is a spiritual experience,” said the Chapel Royal in Scotland member.

“As the local minister I wondered how the Church could participate positively in the 400 year anniversary celebrations so I came up with the idea of creating a Holy Round.

“I went out at different times of the day and walked the course to get a sense of the uniqueness of each hole and then from what I saw, created a simple ‘thought’ for all 18 holes – plus another for the obligatory 19th which is the club house.

“The thoughts are not designed to provide people with the perfect excuse to go golfing instead of to worship, but offer an opportunity to help the game be a more complete experience that exercises body, mind and spirit.”

The story was picked up extensively by the press including The Times, The Scotsman, The Glasgow Evening Times, The Herald, STV news, The Daily Record and The Press & Journal

Ethical Finance

A world leading interfaith initiative aimed at creating a practical ethical financial solution met today at a private round table to be held in the House of Lords in London.

Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison and Rev Sally Foster Fulton represented the Church of Scotland at a launch event for the initiative last March. The Church of Scotland and Islamic Finance Council UK are convening the unique gathering of faith leaders, parliamentarians, and finance practitioners to agree a shared values framework upon which a financial solution, open to all in society, will be developed.

The joint venture, the culmination of many years of dialogue, was launched earlier this year in response to the systemic failure and non-sustainability of the current financial model that has struggled to recover from the economic, operational and reputational damage caused by the global crisis in 2008/09.

The Scotsmancovered the story, and Omar Shaikh from the Islamic Finance Council UK spoke on BBC radio Scotlandtoday about the project (1'40"30). 

Read the Church of Scotland web article.

Kirk condemns situation in Syria

The Church of Scotland has urged the Syrian and Russian governments and other forces to stop their bombardment of Aleppo.

Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly, said he was “appalled” by attacks on ordinary civilians which can never be passed off as a consequence of war.

He added that life was a gift from God and the “slaughter must end now”.

Dr Barr has signed a joint statement along with the leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, who collectively represent more than one million people across the UK.

Christian Todayand Anglican Communion News picked up the story.