Church in the news

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

Monday 20 April, 2015

In today's Church in the News, Fife Today carries an inspiring article from Reverend Elisabeth Cranfield, Denbeath and Methilhill Parish Churches, about celebrating the seventh anniversary of their twinning relationship with a congregation in Trinidad.

The General Assembly 2015 section is now live on the website, including the Blue Books and Council reports, which can all be found at this link:

The Press & Journal reports on the Church and Society Council's paper calling for a wide review of mental health legislation, which will be presented to the General Assembly. The P&J says the report is being welcomed by a north east campaigner trying to secure stronger support for patients against the use of forced treatments.

You can read the full Church and Society Council report here:

Rev Eileen M Ross from Linwood Parish Church has a letter published in the Scotsman responding to their obituary of Rev Louise Duncan, who passed away earlier this year. Eileen welcomes the tribute (which can be found in Friday's Church in the News) but questions why the paper refers to Mrs Duncan by her last name only throughout the article.

The Daily Express and the Press and Journal report in their print editions that the Church of Scotland is "literally dying" as congregations lose older members. Both papers quote the next Free Church Moderator Rev David Robertson's claim that the church is "in theological and moral decline." The articles cite General Assembly reports that say the church has lost members in the last decade. Very Rev. David Arnott, principal coordinator for the clerk's office in the Church of Scotland is also quoted saying that the claims "bear little relation to reality."

Very Rev Arnott points out that not everyone who attends church is a member and that with membership in the region of 400,000 the Church of Scotland remains one of Scotland's "most robust organisations."

Friday 17 April, 2015

The Scotsman website has published a moving tribute to the former minister in Balerno, Rev Louise Duncan, who suffered an early death through cancer in February this year. The obituary tells of the tremendous impact Louise had on the community in Balerno, and also the bravery and fortitude she showed in the face of an aggressive form of the disease.

BBC Radio Scotland carried an interview with World Mission Council's Carol Finlay and Nigerian visitor Ngozi Onwuka, who's President of the Women's Guild of Synod of North for the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. They were interviewed about the anniversary of the kidnapping of schoolgirls by Boko Haram, current conditions in the north of Nigeria, and Ngozi's visit to Scotland as part of a large Nigerian party to celebrate the life of missionary Mary Slessor, and her continuing legacy in Nigeria. The interview is on this link at 19 mins 20 secs, available until May 15th. You can read an account of the visit and see an extensive picture gallery on the Church of Scotland website.

In the Daily Record, columnist Bill Heaney reflects on changing times in West Dunbartonshire, and the growing ecumenical spirit which is replacing former enmities.

On a lighter note, The Scotsman reports a Kelso nightclub owner's claims his business is responsible for 40% of the marriages in the town. Ian Hastings is requesting a licence extension to 'The Vibe' on the basis of the community benefit it provides. Asked for his opinion, Rev Tom McDonald, minister at Kelso North church, maintained in his 20 years in the parish he'd only set foot in the nightclub once, and had no idea whether the claim was accurate as he doesn't question couples on where they met.

Thursday 16 April, 2015

World Mission's Middle East Secretary Kenny Roger featured on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday, in a discussion about the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East. You can hear the interview here (available until 14th May) at 52 mins 53 secs

The item was inspired by a BBC documentary broadcast last night asking if Christians are in danger of being driven out of the Middle East. An article about the programme and link to watch it on iplayer is here

The Spectator carries a provocative feature by its Scottish Editor Alex Massie, in which he asserts the SNP has replaced the Church of Scotland as the 'dominant force' in Scottish life. Mr Massie argues where the Kirk was, for centuries, the guarantor and defender of a distinct Scottish sensibility that this role has today been taken by the SNP.

Elsewhere, Rev Bryan Kerr at Lanark Greyfriars appears to have a hotline to the Carluke and Lanark Gazette. Not only did he secure a fantastic double page photo spread on the Church's successful holiday club activities attended by 110 children (which unfortunately is not on their website to share) he does feature prominently at this link in the paper's digital version, promoting an election hustings the church is holding on April 30th.Well done Bryan! These stories are often not picked up by our media monitoring service, so it's good to hear about them.

A great source of congregational stories is Life & Work's weekly Parish News Round-up, which carries items submitted to the magazine by local churches. Stories this week include 95 year old Stella Shepherd in Shetland, who has produced a volume of poetry in aid of her congregation at Walls and Sandness church. You can read more here

Tuesday 14 April, 2015

Over 2600 children and young people from across Scotland have taken part in the Church of Scotland's postcard competition in honour of Scots missionary Mary Slessor.

At first glance, the golf course and the summit of a Munro would appear to have little in common.But on April 17 and May 2 both will be embraced by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Chalmers in fundraising drives to raise money for CrossReach and Christian Aid. Get involved here: