Church in the news

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

Thursday 4 June, 2015

Two Church of Scotland projects have won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service: the Havilah Project, created by St Andrew's Church in Arbroath, which operates a drop-in centre that serves people struggling with addiction; and

The Courier quotes Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Committee chairman, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis, saying, "The judging panel for this year's awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action."

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that Duddingston Kirk has also been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service writing:

"Rev Dr James Jack, minister at Duddingston Kirk – which hosts a weekly lunch club for the elderly – said the award had created a "wonderful excitement" among the project's volunteers. He said: "I think they are just excited about the fact they have been recognised. They have been doing this without complaint all these years. Some of them have been doing it since the very first one 20 years ago. It's not just about the food – that's a big part of it, but it's also about getting people together."

The Herald's Iain Macwhirter writes a column on the Orange Order's plan to hold a festival in Glasgow on Saturday. Calling for tolerance of the event the column recalls the Church of Scotland's sectarianism during the 1920s.

The Stornoway Gazette devotes an entire page in its print edition to the Moderator's reflections on the General Assembly.

Also in The Herald, Rev Andrew Frater of Cairns Church in Milngavie responds in a letter to criticisms of retired Epsicopalian Bishop Jack Spong who has been invited to speak at the church. "Christians in the 21st century no longer feel compelled to take the Bible literally," he writes. "The factual veracity of biblical doctrines, such as the Virgin Birth and bodily resurrection, are no longer dependent on the literalists' assumptions. Metaphors matters more in relation to meaning, rather than the overly persistent question that all too often dominates our take on Biblical reflection: "How much of this actually happened?"

The Northern Times reports that the Royal Dornoch Golf Club has donated £8,000 to buy a diesel generator for Oversteps Care Home in Dornoch, which lost power during bad weather last winter: "The club has previously donated £3,000 to the home to buy wheelchairs and table and chair sets to enhance the comfort of residents," the story says and quotes Allan Logan, Director of Services to Older People at CrossReach:

"CrossReach are hugely grateful for the gift of this generator from Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Oversteps are particularly well supported within the local community and have established excellent links with the golf club. This is something which is hugely appreciated by staff in the care home and by CrossReach as an organisation."

Wednesday 3 June, 2015

The Tablet reports that "Scottish Churches pays tribute to 'wise and courteous' Charles Kennedy" in an article that includes comments from the Moderator. "He will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most talented politicians of his generation. But he was much more than that. With his impish smile, distinct Highland voice and quick sense of humour, he was able to communicate effectively with people far beyond the circle of politics. His down-to-earth humanity ensured that he was held in affection by people of all political persuasions, and none."

The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald reports on the visit of retired US Episcopalian Bishop Jack Spong to Cairns Church on June 11. "His liberal views evoke support and condemnation simultaneously from differing segments of the Christian church throughout the world."

BBC online news considers the history of Christian ideas about the gender of God. "St Anselm, the 11th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, prayed to "Christ, my mother" and called God "the great mother". St John Chrysostom called Christ our 'friend, and member, and head, and brother, and sister, and mother.'";

Tuesday 2 June, 2015

The Herald reports that 'A controversial American preacher who caused division within the Church of Scotland is to make a second trip to Scotland. Bishop Jack Spong, who rejects the idea of a supernatural God and does not believe Christ died for man's sins, will deliver a lecture in Milngavie later this month.'

The Scotsman publishes a letter from Dr. Scott Arthur on the controversy over Alistair Carmichael MPs statements to the press on the First Minister's election hopes. "Attempts have also been made by SNP members outside the Orkney and Shetland constituency to have Mr Carmichael removed as a Church of Scotland elder. They should have looked in the mirror and read Luke 6:37 first: 'Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.'"

The Shetland News reports that, "The Rev Tom Macintyre has been appointed to the Shetland Charitable Trust following the resignation of trustee Stephen Morgan…Rev Macintyre is a retired Church of Scotland minister, who is currently chaplain to the SIC and Shetland College."

In Christian Today Gillian Scott writes about a new report from the Evangelical Alliance and "Five things the Church should be lobbying government about." Point 5 in her list: Faith groups have earned the right to be heard.

The Moderator has issued a statement on the sad occasion of the death of Charles Kennedy.

A story in The Press and Journal covers a minister apologising to residents of Aberdeen's Woodside area for describing it as poor. Woodside includes owner occupied housing as well as sections marked for regeneration.

"Markus Aufferman, the minister of Woodside Parish Church, last month made an emotional appeal to P&J readers for funds to pay or a wheelchair lift in the church hall. Rev Aufferman described the Woodside area as "one of the poorer parts" of the city when making the plea.But he has since been criticised by the local community and asked to 'set the record straight'.

Monday 1 June, 2015

A protest Saturday against unlimited terms of detention at Dungavel immigration removal centre gained widespread attention this weekend.

The Berwickshire News reports: "Organisers said around 400 people gathered for the demonstration with many carrying banners and some leaving flowers at the gates to the centre. Police said the event passed off peacefully with no arrests.Speakers including Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) president Lawrence Wason, Rev Sally Foster Fulton from the Church of Scotland and human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar addressing the crowd outside the centre."

Also reporting on the protests were:

BBC News:

STV news:

The Herald: (has a paywall )

The Daily Record:

The Forfar Dispatch:

The Donside Piper:

The Deeside Piper and Herald:

The Linlithgow Gazette:

The Scotsman reports on plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, writing "This year marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide, with plans for a high-profile service in St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on 10 July attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"UK charity Remembering Srebrenica established its Scottish board this year, chaired by former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood and including Ruth Davidson, MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives."

The Scotsman also publishes an obituary for the late Rev Lawson Brown: "In a life devoted to the Kirk, the Rev Lawson Brown served three parishes with great loyalty and commitment. He was the first minister to hold the appointment at Freeport in the Bahamas, where he established a bustling community and nurtured the church with a special imagination and care. Later appointments included parishes at Partick in Glasgow and St Leonard's in St Andrews."

Some community groups are still coming to terms with the closure of the Shettleston Old Parish Church building, The Herald, (paywall ) and The Evening Times ." report that a Boys' Brigade company is one of several groups seeking a new place to meet.

"A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "During the appeal hearing regarding the closure of Shettleston Old Parish Church, the committee discussed the availability of space in other church properties nearby. The Kirk Session will be looking at maximising the use of these properties, and will be working over the summer months to ensure an appropriate plan is put in place.

"Priority will be given to groups affiliated to the church, such as the Boys' Brigade, in making sure there is adequate provision for them to continue. We believe any fears over their future are misplaced, and time and care will be taken over the transfer process as these two congregations join together."

A column in The Herald by its personal finance editor SimonBain asks, "Who can replace the banks in the critical area of affordable credit?" Bain says his interest in the issue grew while serving on a Church of Scotland Commission on economic activity. (paywall )

BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Morning with Sally features Dr Morven Shearer, from the University of St Andrews School of Medicine and Church of Scotland minister the Rev Gillean Maclean discussing genetic testing. (about 50 minutes into program).

Don't miss Secretary of the Council of Assembly Pauline Weibye on Twitter where she is this week's guest tweeter for the @churchscovoices (Church of Scotland voices account.