Global and national concerns
Scotland's national Church has a role in speaking to and for the nation, especially at times of adversity and crisis. As a member of God's worldwide family we stand with our partner churches around the world.
The Church of Scotland joined with more than 190 other civil society organisations around the world in support of a #GlobalCeasefire for Coronavirus – urging an end to conflict situations to allow humanity to concentrate efforts on halting infection and treating the sick.
The United Kingdom has seen some of the worse infection and mortality rates of coronavirus of any country in the world. The Church of Scotland has been offered practical support from our partners, including the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia in Germany.
We hope to support other partners overseas through the distribution of funds restricted for international work. We'll post more information about this on this page.
In Scotland, our partners in Faith in Community Scotland have established a COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund with £100,000 from the William Grant Foundation, Faith in Community Scotland and the National Lottery Community Fund. It is intended to help Scotland's network of local faith groups and related community organisations to provide immediate support for individuals and families during the early stages of COVID-19.
We joined with other Scottish and UK organisations concerned with international development to highlight to the UK Government the impending funding crisis caused by the impact of coronavirus restrictions and asking for support so UK charities can continue to be at the forefront of helping people struggling against poverty and disease all over the world.
The Convener of the Church of Scotland Faith Impact Forum, the Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, has co-signed a public letter calling on the UK Government to scrap the two-child limit for welfare payments under Universal Credit and to abandon the benefit cap. The benefit cap and two-child limit penalise larger families or those with complex needs, which could be devastating when compounded with the coronavirus restrictions and the anticipated economic impact.
In a separate move, Susan Brown supported a letter organised by the Child Poverty Action Group to the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, urging him to immediately authorise an increase of £10 per week in child benefit for the duration of the lockdown.
Christian Aid are urging people to support a Jubilee Debt petition calling for UK leadership at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to broker a debt relief deal for the world's poorest countries, so that they can use their funds to deal with the emerging health crisis. The campaign calls for a cancellation of all debt repayments due this year in the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries.
Read The Coronavirus Diaries from our colleagues around the world, published by Life and Work:
The Rev Peter Kaniah, Secretary General of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, has sent us this message:
Dear Partners, receive Christian greetings from Nairobi, Kenya. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the entire world, and we are all gripped by its impact. Our church is responding to both the needs of their members spiritually and physically and seeking to cooperate with the strong measures taken to slow the spread of the virus.
We have closed down all churches on Sunday, most them were able to stream online services while the Church TV was able to air five services on Sunday - Children's, English, Kiswahili, Kikuyu and Youth services. We are continually encouraging our members to "shelter in place" as we put our trust in God that the pandemic will finally slow down.
I would like to encourage you all as our partners during this time and reassure you of our prayers during this difficulty time. As people we are confident in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we proclaim that hope is the antidote to fear. Our prayer for the people of Kenya and the global community comes from Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Hope is not dependent on our circumstances; it is based on the faithfulness of God. God bless you all.
The Church of Scotland was part of the development of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) document on Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of Covid-19. The document and risk-assessment tool provide practical guidance and recommendations to support the special role of religious leaders, faith-based organisations (FBOs), and faith communities in COVID-19 education, preparedness, and response. The document was developed by WHO in consultation with FBOs and faith leaders from different faith traditions.
A minister in Perthshire is offering online memorial services in place of public funerals due to the pandemic restrictions, allowing families and friends the space and time to grieve and remember.
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