Church in the news

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

Friday 29 May, 2015

Several papers are reporting on an alleged grassroots SNP campaign on social media which has been attempting to confirm Alistair Carmichael MP's status as a Church Elder in order to make a formal complaint about his conduct during his time as Scottish Secretary. It appears the SNP administration is distancing itself from the campaign and the Twitter account it originated from has already been shut down.

The Scotsman's story, headlined 'SNP tweet in Carmichael Kirk elder quit call,' says:

"The SNP last night moved to close down suggestions grassroots Nationalists were attempting to get Alistair Carmichael to quit as a Kirk elder over the controversial leaking of a memo. A series of tweets, apparently sent from the SNP Lossiemouth branch, suggested that a complaint should be made to the former Scottish secretary's local Presbytery in a bid to oust him as an elder" story is also covered in:

The Herald 'SNP distances itself from party activist's bid to have Alistair Carmichael ousted as church elder.

The Press and Journal 'SNP distance itself from plot to strip Alistair Carmichael of church elder status.'

The Courier reports that 'Congregation praying new Monifieth eco-church plan will be approved.'

The Courier also has an obituary for 'Thoughtful, caring, compassionate minister the Rev Dr Harry Gibson.'

An opinion piece in Church Times headlined 'The UK must recognise Palestine as a state' notes that:

"Last week, the Church of Scotland General Assembly also urged the British Government and the EU to recognise Palestine 'as a contribution to securing lasting peace and justice for all'. The Quakers agree, as do the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Revd Declan Lang, who speak on foreign relations in their respective Churches."

The Scotsman's obituary for theologian Elizabeth Templeton mentions her contributions to the Church of Scotland writing,

"In the 1960s she was the secretary of the General Assembly's so-called Committee of Forty, set up to make recommendations for the reshaping of the Church for the last quarter of the 20th century. Along with the Committee's convener, Professor Robin Barbour, the two made a formidable combination. They had the satisfaction of seeing their radical proposals for the reform of the Church approved, and the disappointment of later watching the Church's establishment gradually repeal or nullify them.

In 1994 Elizabeth Templeton chaired a working party of the Kirk's Panel on Doctrine on the theology of marriage, which took a very sympathetic view of homosexuals. She persuaded the General Assembly to accept it."

Thursday 28 May, 2015

Rev Derek Brown, who is a hospital chaplain, appeared on BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie show to talk about on improving end of life care. (1'10'00)

The Guardian reports that the Scottish Parliament voted to reject an assisted dying bill 27 May. "The Law Society of Scotland had also expressed concern that the law lacked clarity, while the Church of Scotland urged MSPs to do more to improve end-of-life care instead of backing the bill."

The Scotsman reports on the assisted suicide debate noting that while support for the policy among MSPs has increased, "Religious groups and palliative care bodies had been among those opposing the measure. The Care Not Killing umbrella body handed in a 15,000-strong petition opposing the bill last week."

The Edinburgh Evening News focused on those protesting outside parliament during the vote. "Supporters of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill are urging Holyrood politicians to listen to their constituents, after polls showed nearly three-quarters of Scots back the principle that people with terminal illness or degenerative conditions should be able to seek help to end their lives. However, the Church of Scotland has written to MSPs, calling on them to do more to improve palliative care rather than passing the assisted suicide legislation."

Rev Michael Mair appeared on STV's Fountainbridge show talking about the Tomorrow's Calling campaign:

The Falkirk Herald covers the Church's minister recruitment effort in its story, 'Church recruitment crisis to be tackled.'

Fife Today reports on a visit from Lord Hope, the Queen's representative to the General Assembly. "The Queen's personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (the Kirk), the Rt Honourable Lord Hope of Craighead, was welcomed by the new Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Robert Balfour, with Minister, Alistair McLeod, and other dignitaries, as part of an event to promote Markinch Church's involvement in the proposed Pilgrim's Way project."

Wednesday 27 May, 2015

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood spoke to BBC Radio Scotland about the Remembering Srebrenica events this July. A service is planned in St Giles cathedral July 10. BBC iPlayer (starts: 2:36:17)

The Press and Journal reports on the assisted suicide debate in an article that quotes Rev Sally Foster Fulton and Rev Dr Derek Brown.

STV online reports, 'Assisted suicide protesters to rally at Holyrood ahead of vote'

BBC news online carried the story with the headline, 'MSPs to vote on Assisted Suicide Scotland bill'

Also reporting on the assisted suicide debate under the headline 'Groups in assisted suicide rallies' are:

The Courier's story 'Critics blast assisted suicide bill' quotes Rev Sally Foster-Fulton convener of the Church and Society Council:
"We believe that rather than seeking to legislate for assisted dying, the Parliament must instead increase its efforts to ensure that there is high-quality palliative care available to people in every part of Scotland. We believe that this Bill represents much more than simply a tinkering with the law, breaching as it does the societal prohibition on the taking of human life."

CrossReach held its annual Service of Celebration and staff awards 26 May. Check out our own story about the event and view our video featuring CrossReach Employee of the Year Margaret Cassidy.

Tuesday 26 May, 2015

BBC online reports that "Catholic broadcaster Adrian Chiles recently set himself a challenge - to go to church every day for more than a month, and never the same one twice." Here's what he learned.

The Herald covers a letter from Muslim spiritual leaders opposing legalising assisted suicide and noting the Church of Scotland takes the same position. (paywall)

The Press and Journal reports in its print edition that former Church of Scotland minister Rev David Randall has criticised the Church's decisions to allow congregations to call people in same-sex partnerships to the ministry. The Kirk, he tells the P&J, is "hellbent on its own destruction."

But in the same paper, respected church commentator Ron Ferguson responds in his column reflecting that the church's job "isn't to mirror contemporary society, but to live out its distinctive gospel in the world even though to do so won't make it popular." He argues for two positions, he says, which may look contradictory but are not.

He says: "I believe in same-sex marriage; I also believe that the Kirk is right to take its time onthis matter. Respect and listening are required. The Kirk's approach to such issues may look tortuous and painfully slow from the outside, but conversation rather than denunciation is what is needed. The truth is that the Christian church has had to deal with internal divisions since its beginning. Anyone who thinks that the present era is the most contentious one of all time hasn't read church history."

The paper also reports on the Shetland minister who has created a phone app to reach out to people who are interested in Christianity but are not connected to a church.

The new Twitter account Church of Scotland Voices –@Churchscovoices– will feature a different person every week. This week Rev Shuna Dicks of Aberlour will be tweeting about her week.

Read the latest news stories from parishes around the country in Life and Work magazine: