Church in the news

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

Monday 1 August, 2016

Church in the news highlights 26/7 - 1/8/16

Churches step up to feed kids and prevent "summer hunger"

St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Ayr is feeding 153 children this summer after a local head teacher expressed fears that pupils would go hungry during the school holidays.

The story was picked up by The Herald, The Glasgow Evening Times and Third Force News.

The scheme was also mentioned on BBC 1 Scotland's Breakfast Show.

Dylan Harper of St Columba's, Ayr, spoke on BBC Radio Scotland about the project (56"20').

A similar scheme is being run in Penicuik North Kirk where 49 children, referred by the council’s Children and Families Unit, are being fed five times a week. The story was published in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Priest Murder in France

The National Police Chiefs' Councils says UK churches should be "alert but not alarmed" (1"35') following the brutal attack on a priest in France. The Rev Dr Martin Scott spoke on Radio 5 Live stating "we welcome strangers and friends alike - we don't want to alter this" but added that the Kirk had been in close contact with the police and a detailed guidance document had  been sent out to ministers.  

Rev Dr Martin Scott also spoke on BBC Radio Scotland (1"02'30)

The statement was also published in The Herald.

'Kirk Probes Government's climate change priorities'

The Press and Journal featured a large article voicing concerns raised by Vice-Convener of the Church & Society Council Pauline Edmiston, who fears a low carbon economy may be at risk due to changes to the Government's renewable energy policy.

Read the Church of Scotland article.

Obituary for Deaconess who gave more than 50 years of service to the Church of Scotland

The Aberdeen Evening Express Paid tribute to Moyra McCallum, who was described as a 'stalwart member of Woodside Parish Church'. An expert in the Old Testament, she taught at  St Colm's College, Edinburgh and Aberdeen University.

Church Organist

A Church organist has achieved his dream of playing all 94 cathedral organs in the UK by completing his challenge at St Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness.

Monday 25 July, 2016

Church in the News

Highlights Friday 15 July - Monday 25 July


Following the vote on the renewal of Trident, an article containing a warning from the SNP that the vote in favour of renewal is another step closer to another Scottish referendum has been used across a large range of Scottish regional titles. The Rev Dr Richard Frazer reiterates the Church of Scotland's anti-Trident stance in the article.

An article on the BBC website also quoted the Rev Dr Richard Frazer.

Former Church of Scotland Moderator the Very Rev Dr Alan McDonald is reported to have attended an anti Trident demonstration in The Scotsman.

The Church of Scotland's stance was mentioned in The Herald, as part of an article arguing why the vote should be postponed to a less tumultuous time.

The Church of Scotland's view of Trident is also mentioned in the of Church of England Newspaper.

BBC regional radio stations across England and Northern Ireland featured Steve Huckleby of the Methodist church on the Paul Coia show, who spoke of how the Church of Scotland, Quaker, United Formed Church, Methodist and the Baptist churches (representing around 1,000,000 people) have formed a group to formally object to the renewal of Trident. The group is calling for the UK to join international disarmament talks instead (at 2 hrs 50 mins).

WEvolution Praised

The UK parliament passed a motion congraulating the work of WEvolution, praising the charity, which promotes self-reliant groups, as "a way of working alongside communities that is based on trust, self-governance and collective endeavour towards entrepreneurship; commends it as a movement of people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their aspirations for a better life for themselves, their families and communities; and recommends that its model is adopted elsewhere throughout the UK to address inequality and empower communities."

Munro Bagging Minister

Rev Dr Valerie Allen, convener of the Church of Scotland's Violence Against Women Task Group, has recently completed all 282 Munros. It is thought that she is the first female minister to achieve this. Dr Allen used the challenge to raise money for four organisations who have projects campaigning for gender justice - Christian Aid, The Iona Community and WEvolution in Scotland, and Capacitar in the United States.

"At the heart of the Gospel is Jesus' promise of fullness of life," she said. "Violence against women prevents women from flourishing - it robs them of fullness of life."

The story was featured in the Courier, The Daily Mail and The Scotsman, The Stirling Observer. If you would like to read about Valerie's achievement go to the Church of Scotland website.

Children of the Manse Part II

A Guardian article features people describing what it was like growing up with parents who were in the clergy. One contributor is a 'son of the manse'.


The National quotes words from the Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr to the French Consul General expressing his condolences over the brutal attack in Nice. World Mission Secretary Ian Alexander was also quoted as passing on his condolences to the United Protestant Church of France. The Rev Jonathan Fleming, from Erskine, who last year campaigned on social media for peace following the attacks in Paris also offered his thoughts and prayers.

The Glasgow Evening Times also quotes words from the Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr to the French Consul General expressing his condolences over the brutal attack in Nice.

Local Church news

A church is appealing for a new minister by placing an 'SOS sign'outside their church by the M8 motorway. Kirk O'Shotts, which is linked with Chapelhall, has spent the last six years without a minister. The story appears in the Daily Record.

Lightning struck Denny Old Parish Church on Wednesday severely damaging its spire.
Several news outlets covered the story:
Daily Mail
The Express
The Sun
Daily Star

The Daily Mail reported on an unusual Church of Scotland vacancy based in Geneva. The role is based at the Auditoire de Calvin, where John Knox was based from 1556-59.

Two bibles which are around 200 years old have been stolen from Abercorn Church in West Lothian. The bibles are over 2ft in length. The story has been reported in the Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Record, The Scotsman, The National.

Helensburgh Parish Church is receiving a £300000 makeover, partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.Part of the restoration work will be done to two stained glass windows commemoration. The article appears in the Herald.

Facebook Stories of the week

Rev Dr Richard Frazer's statement following last week's Trident vote has reached nearly 27,000 people and sparked an extensive debate on the Church of Scotland facebook.

On a lighter note, Labour and SNP MSPs have signed a motion of congratulations to the Rev Ian Miller who has published his autobiography, titled 'Habbie to Jeely-Eater'. The motion, lodged by Jackie Baillie, MSP for West Dunbartonshire, notes that Mr Miller is a well-known and popular figure who has campaigned tirelessly on issues affecting his local community, notably during his service as a member of the Argyll and Clyde health board where he fought to retain services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

Profits from his autobiography are being shared equally between Bonhill Parish Church and the Oncology Unit at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. The post announcing the news on facebook has so far reached 26,000 people.


This week's Songs of Praise on BBC 1 focused on the Iona Community, which was begun by a Church of Scotland minister George MacLeod in 1938.The Rev Peter Macdonald, who is the leader of the community was interviewed on the programme.

Friday 15 July, 2016

Church in the News Highlights 9-15th July


Many news outlets covered the Church of Scotland's concern over the govenment's decision to vote on the renewal of Trident next week.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, the Church and Society convener, condemned the move in the Edinburgh Evening News stating "we are concerned the House of Commons is being rushed into this decision in undue haste with little opportunity for reflection or wider discussion".

The Herald also supports the church's stance. The topic is also covered in another article by the same paper.

In an editorial The Scotsman looks at the morality of the cost of renewal and endorses the view expressed by religious leaders in Scotland that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

A joint statement made by various churches across the UK including the Church of Scotland about Trident has been picked up by a range of websites:

Big News Network
Independent Catholic News

Christians Against Poverty working with St George's Tron, Glasgow

Yesterdays Glasgow Evening Times praises a partnership between Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and St George's Tron, which will see a new CAP Job Club set up in the Glasgow church. The new service will help people who are long-term unemployed to give users "practical and emotional support" over an eight-week course.

Children of the Manse

The appointment of Theresa May, one of many politicians to rise to power with a parent who is either a minister or a vicar, has sparked a debate in the Guardian about whether it's a coincidence or provides a good background to politics. Famously Gordon Brown was the son of a Church of Scotland minister.

The London Review of Books also runs a similar article.

WEvolution: The best New Radicals of 2016

A charity which started as a Church of Scotland project has been named as one of the up and coming organisations to look out for by the Guardian. WEvolution is based on a model which encourages the formation of self-reliant groups in disadvantaged communities. For more information go to the WEvolution website.

Prayers in Argyll

The Sunday Post reported on prayers that Argyll churches where saying for the families of two toddlers who tragically died after a car crashed into a loch. Ms Marilyn Shedden, who is the Moderator for the Presbytery of Argyll, said,“We have a presbytery prayer that goes out every week and all the churches in Argyll will be praying for the family. Our thoughts go out to the family, to the communities, the school and the local minister – it’s an awful situation, our hearts just go out to them all.” Ms Shedden will be reflecting on the tragedy in today's weekly 'Thought for the Week' column in the Campbeltown Courier.

Friday 1 July, 2016

An article in The National looks at the impact of Brexit on Central Europeans. One of those featured is the Rev Tomas Bisek, who after his license to preach as a Presbyterian minister was revoked by the Czechoslovak government, was invited to work for the Church of Scotland in 1984. In the article his wife Daniela recalls how welcome they felt on coming to Scotland. Although the Biseks eventually returned to the Czech Republic, four children remain in the UK and the family are saddened at the prospect of what they see as more divides across europe.

Yesterday's Fraserburgh Herald featured an extensive article on the Moderator's prayer written in response to the European Union Referendum vote. The Rt Rev Rev Dr Barr commented on the prayer saying that he hoped people could find comfort in their words at during this time of instability. He also called for unity at this difficult time. You can read the prayer on the Church of Scotland website.

The Times profiles Michael Gove and notes his "staunchly Church of Scotland" background, which to this day he has maintained.

The Church Times calls on Church leaders to promote unity across the UK in this time of division. The Rev Richard Frazer's statement following the vote was quoted at length.

The Highland News quotes the Moderator who has expressed his dismay at the issue of rural fuel poverty. He goes on to urge both the Westminster and Holyrood governments to more to help alleviate the situation.