Category : Scotland

More for Eric Liddell’s Feast Day–The Second Life of the Man Who Wouldn’t Run on Sunday

Liddell lived life to the hilt, but not in the modern “I am tenaciously dedicated to my own hedonic brand” kind of way. Liddell’s vision of an all-out life was to assess his options, count the cost, and then take the most risky step in the name of Jesus Christ. The calculation was a simple one: “Each one comes to the cross-roads at some period of his life,” Hamilton quotes Liddell as preaching, “and must make his decision for or against his Master.” This Christocentric logic made great sense to Liddell, even if it made little sense to the world. Liddell faced fierce skepticism for his attempts to live out his faith, whether in his famous decision not to run on Sundays or his withdrawal from competition in order to answer the missionary call.

This example can help inform contemporary engagement for believers. Much effort is made today by younger evangelicals to get the cultural backflip just right, to strenuously befriend unbelievers while never offending them with over-stressed Christianity. Liddell’s was a more straightforward approach. Drafting off of the Sermon on the Mount, his favorite section of Scripture, he stood for his convictions without flinching while loving his neighbor without hesitating. The resulting model of Christian witness is as simple as it is inspiring.

Liddell was not a perfect man, of course. Hamilton covers his lengthy separation from his family with a clear eye. Married in 1934 to the untiring Florence, Liddell fathered three children. He loved his wife and kids, but as Hamilton notes, his first priority was the work of missions. This meant lengthy periods of separation as Liddell worked in Siaochang and later Tientsin. The work was always grueling, and China in the 1930s and 1940s was a very fearsome place indeed. Liddell was often robbed, frequently hungry and dirty, and regularly accosted by officials seeking to impede his work.

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Church History, England / UK, Missions, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Eric Liddell

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Church History, England / UK, Missions, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

Sunday Morning Food for Thought–Who are We anyway

What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more

–Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

Peter Ould–Why The Cathedral Quran Reading Deserved Its Rebuke

And so we come to the final apologia for Kelvin Holdsworth’s mistake, again from his sermon yesterday: “Nobody at that service that night could be in any doubt that we proclaimed the divinity of Christ and preached the Gospel of God’s love.”

Well yes, you possibly did recite the Nicene Creed at some point after its key verses were repudiated, but saying that makes the heresy before it OK is like saying that if you deliver a devastating uppercut to a stranger walking down the street, handing him a plaster afterwards makes it OK.

This story hasn’t gone away despite the best efforts of the Provost to say nothing, to say he’ll say something and then say nothing, to ignore his boss, to ignore the sensible, cogent, important theological questions that even the head of the Episcopal Church of Scotland accepts are perfectly valid.

In ministry, or indeed any position of responsibility, the sooner you learn the lesson that it’s better when you’re caught red-handed to admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness than to try and defend an indefensible corner, the better.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Books, Christology, England / UK, Islam, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

Gavin Ashenden's ltr in the [London] Times about the Koran Reading in the Scottish Cathedral

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Church 'deeply distressed' by Koran offence, says Scottish primus

The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church says the Church is “deeply distressed” at the offence caused by the reading of a passage from the Koran in a Glasgow cathedral.
The comments of the Church Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, follow criticism that Islamic verses were read during an Epiphany service.
In his blog, he also condemned the abuse received by St Mary’s Cathedral.
Police are investigating offensive online messages aimed at the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast of the holy Name from the Scottish Prayer Book

O almighty God, who hast given unto thy Son Jesus Christ the name which is above every name, and hast taught us that there is none other whereby we may be saved: Mercifully grant that as thy faithful people have comfort and peace in his name, so they may ever labour to publish it unto all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

(PA) Top lawyer calls on Scottish Government to tackle homophobic bullying in schools

A leading human rights lawyer is backing a campaign for inclusive education in a bid to stamp out discrimination in Scotland’s schools. Aamer Anwar is urging the Scottish Government to take steps to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, in order to “save the lives” of young people.

It comes as part of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign for a government commitment for mandatory teaching of LGBTI issues to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Margaret of Scotland

O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

A 24/7 Webchat For the Spiritually Searching: Church Of Scotland Looks To Reverse Decline

The Church of Scotland is to launch a webchat service to help those looking for spiritual guidance but unwilling to come to church on a Sunday.

The initiative will go live in the new year and is the Kirk’s latest effort to reach beyond its traditional audience as figures show a continued trend away from organised religion.

The digital congregation will be able to book an online chat with a minister but may have to wait up to three hours for a reply. A separate 24-hour chatline to discuss religious questions has also been set up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Scotland

(Scotsman) Chaplain creates blessing for each hole at Royal Dornoch

Golfers at one of the world’s most prestigious courses are being given spiritual advice by a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen.

[The] Rev Susan Brown, who also wed Madonna and Guy Ritchie, has written thought provoking reflections for each of the 18 Championship Course holes at Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the Highlands to help inspire players and “exercise the body, mind and spirit”. The 57-year-old walked the course at different times of the day to capture the unique feel of the stunning landscape to create the so-called “Holy Round” as part of celebrations to mark 400 years of golf in the area.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sports

Former Bishop of Durham Tom Wright says Christianity should be taught as history

Professor Wright said: “If a pupil wanted to study Jesus in his historical context, this would not be seen as part of the general history syllabus, but would be something that was the preserve of religious studies.

“Religious studies staff would then say they had Judaism, Buddhism and Confucius, as well as Christianity, and maybe there would be something on the Gospels in the corner.

“It seems to me, in terms of the history of the western world, the narrative of how Christianity got going and who Jesus was are huge questions that ought to be in a more general syllabus.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ninian of Galloway

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT) The Story After ”˜Chariots of Fire’

In the following years, the director said, his initial idea of telling Liddell’s story in a film expanded into a more personal project devoted to understanding Liddell’s life in China. He and his collaborators consulted with Liddell’s daughters, who live in Canada, as well as the Eric Liddell Center in Edinburgh. They tracked down survivors of the camp ”” most were children at the time ”” and interviewed Chinese people who had lived nearby.

Eventually, in addition to making “The Last Race,” they also produced a documentary and compiled a book using the material they had gathered.

The film first shows Liddell, played by Joseph Fiennes, trudging into an internment camp in 1943, then flashes back to the eastern port of Tianjin and his years in the city as a teacher and missionary after his Olympic victory. After the Japanese invade, he sends his pregnant wife (Elizabeth Arends) and their two daughters to Canada.

At the camp with hundreds of other civilians from Allied countries, including Americans, British, Canadians and Australians, he becomes a quiet but steadfast leader, helping to obtain food and supplies for other prisoners with the assistance of some sympathetic Chinese.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, England / UK, Missions, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sports, Theology

(Vancouver Courier) On Christian approaches to the Old Testament+Iain Provan

Over his life as a scholar and an ordained minister, [Iain] Provan says he has had cause to nuance many things he was taught as a child, and to reject some entirely. But viewing the Old and New Testaments as a cohesive whole is not one of these. Provan believes you can’t understand the latter without the former.

“I think the New Testament everywhere presupposes that people know the old and that what the New Testament offers is fresh exegeses of the Old Testament in the light of Jesus and his life and teaching, his death and resurrection,” he says.

What about contradictions between the two? Provan doesn’t see any.

“I think what we have is a developing story that is not the same at different points because stories develop in time,” he says. “In the Old Testament, you largely have the story of God working in the world through one people group and then in the New Testament, of course, it’s a rather different situation. A lot of what people think of as contradictions are simply the story having different phases and moving on.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) EU referendum: Statement by the Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland

In a hard-fought and at times bruising campaign, it has been clear that debate about Europe has allowed a number of difficult issues to come to the surface. The debate and the patterns of voting suggest that our politicians in recent years may not have paid sufficient attention to some of the deeper issues which are present in our life. The inevitable and necessary period of reflection which must now follow will allow space for questions of poverty and immigration to be explored.

Those of us who live in Scotland are aware that the outcome of the Referendum is potentially of great significance. We hope that our politicians on all sides will take time for careful reflection and consultation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

The Church of Scotland reacts to decision to leave the European Union

The natural inclination of the Church has been internationalist, because our Christian faith does not recognise borders but sees the world and all its people as one. We are part of a world-wide community with a responsibility to one another and the whole of creation. Over recent years, the urgency of taking that international responsibility seriously has become more clear as global poverty, environmental degradation, and the refugee catastrophe call us to find co-operative and international responses.

It feels as though this vote is a vote against that spirit of international co-operation and those who have campaigned to leave have rarely addressed some of the issues that we in the Church of Scotland feel are crucial. Least of all,this vote hardly seems to be an act of solidarity even with our friends in places like Greece, which is going through so much turmoil at the moment both economically and in bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis.

Today, it is important to recognise that those who were our neighbours yesterday are still our neighbours today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

(FT) Brexit: the world’s most complex divorce begins

The goal is to unwind Britain’s 43-year membership of the bloc, disentangle and sever the legacy of shared sovereignty, and then reshape the biggest single market on earth.
Three fundamental issues arise.
On substance, what political and commercial arrangements will Brexit Britain demand and will the EU accept them?
In execution, will the exit deal ”” the divorce and breaking of old obligations ”” be struck at the same time as a trade agreement covering post-Brexit trade? And if no, is a transition possible to ensure a soft landing?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, History, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Scotland, Stock Market, Theology, Wales

BRITAIN STUNS THE WORLD WITH BREXIT VOTE

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Ireland, Politics in General, Scotland, Theology, Wales

(BBC) Scottish Episcopal Church takes step toward same-sex marriage approval

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod has made the first steps of any Anglican Church in the UK towards allowing gay marriage in church.
The synod voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church’s seven dioceses.
A further vote will happen at next year’s synod.
The proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Rural/Town Life, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kelvin Holdsworth on the Scottish Episcopal Church: On Being Threatened by Archbp Justin Welby

What we heard today is that the question has been asked of the Archbishop of Canterbury as to what, if any, the consequences of making this change might be. It would appear that the only consequence is very personal to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

He met Justin Welby two weeks ago and was told directly by him that if the Scottish Episcopal Church goes ahead and makes this change then the Primus will himself be personally removed by the Archbishop from leading the World Anglican-Reformed Dialogue ”“ an ecumenical series of international meetings.

It seems to me that we have come to a new place if the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to personally threaten the Primus of a province of the Anglican Communion if that province makes a decision.

There were a number of people at this afternoon’s synod meeting proudly wearing badges that said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction in this realm of Scotland”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Scottish General Synod 2016 Agenda and Papers

Of special interest is the “Faith and Order Board Doctrine Committee Paper on the Theology of Marriage” which starts on numbered page 20–take a look.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Martin Davie responds to Oliver O'Donovan's recent piece on the Scottish Episcopal Marriage debate

(For the original piece to which this is responding please see here–KSH).

There are likely to be many Anglicans, not least in the Church of England, who will welcome the idea that there might be a viable ”˜third way’ between supporting same-sex marriages and simply maintaining the Church’s traditional position. However, I would want to argue that there is in fact no viable ”˜third way’ on this issue. This is for three reasons.

First, the position of those advocating for LGBT equality has moved on since the days when a blessing of same-sex partnerships might have been seen as acceptable.

Now that same-sex ”˜marriage’ is legal in an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world, including England, Scotland and Wales, LGBT advocates will not be content with anything less than the Church coming into line with society and practicing ”˜equal marriage’ as well. For example, those Gay and Lesbian Christians such as Canon Jeremy Pemberton who are already ”˜married’ are not going to be content with anything less than the Church’s full recognition of their marital status.

Furthermore, even the recognition of same-sex ”˜marriages’ is now a relatively conservative position. The new focus of LGBT activism is now the call to move beyond the ”˜heteronormative gender binary’ (the idea that humanity is divided into men and women) and recognise a whole multiplicity of different gender identities (Facebook UK now gives you seventy one gender options to choose from) and a whole range of forms of personal relationship to suit these different identities….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Oliver O’Donovan-The Wreck of Catholic Identity: Marriage Canon Revision in the Sc. Episcopal Ch

In June the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will return to the proposal to change its Canon 31 on Marriage, removing the reference to “one man and one woman”, a step it prepared for in the equivalent meeting last year. At that time the Synod was presented with a paper from its Doctrine Committee, considering change to the doctrine of marriage “in the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason”. That remains the only formal presentation of the questions at issue the church has published to date, so that when the question is asked, in Scotland and beyond, what considerations have led to this moment of decision, it is the sole source for an answer. It is important, then, to be clear what the nature of the guidance has been.

In a series of articles on the Fulcrum site published just ten years ago I discussed the broader question of how the Anglican churches could think together about the gay issue. 2 Between then and now I have written no more on the matter, and return to it now, prompted by the reflections offered to the Scottish Synod, with considerable reluctance. The paper in question devotes two whole pages to a partly critical response to what I wrote then, and I have no wish at all to pursue an argument, direct or indirect, with what they write about me, which was intended, and is taken, in candour and respect. But the issues now at stake, which were large enough ten years ago, are now infinitely greater: disagreements, which have been extended by the arrival of the so-called “equal marriage” on the secular statute-books, now spread out, like a Canadian wildfire, from the sphere of ethics into the sphere of doctrine, and threaten the catholic identity of the church. But in the vacuum of Anglican theological discussion that prevails in Scotland, these fateful deliberations are able to slip by without much notice. As a theologian holding a license from a Scottish bishop, though with no part in any of the Scottish deliberations, I am not quite at liberty to shrug my shoulders when all around me are shrugging theirs.

Read it all from Fulcrum.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Scotsman) Calls for action as Scotland records highest rate of alcohol deaths in UK

Scotland had the worst rate for alcohol-related deaths in any part of the UK, according to figures recorded over the past 20 years.

Alcohol death rates for men in Scotland have risen dramatically, according to the figures published by the Office for National Statistics. In Scotland they stood at 31.2 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 18.1 per 100,000 in England, 20.3 in Northern Ireland and 19.9 for Wales.

The latest findings from 2014 led to renewed calls for the introduction of the Scottish Government’s plan for a minimum alcohol price, aimed at tackling alcohol abuse.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Scotland, Theology

(Telegraph) Church of England and Church of Scotland forge pact

The Church of England and Church of Scotland are preparing a landmark pact committing the UK’s two official “national” churches to work closely together for the first time.

Leading clerics hope the move could help forge new ties between the people of England and Scotland in the wake of last year’s independence referendum and the 2015 General Election.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that a formal agreement between the two churches ”“ which emerged separately from the Reformation in the 16th Century ”“ is set be put before their two governing bodies, the General Synod and General Assembly, early next year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland

(BBC) The Church of Scotland welcomes largest number of trainee ministers in five years

The Church of Scotland is welcoming its largest number of trainee ministers in five years, with 27 new candidates accepted for training so far this year.
With further applicants due for assessment next month, it could be the largest intake for 10 years.
The Kirk expects hundreds of ministers to retire in the next 10 years.
“We’re no different to other professions facing up to retirement challenges, like GPs and teachers” said Rev Neil Glover.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Young Adults

(AI) U of St Andrews opens international institute for analytic and exegetical theology

Some of the biggest issues facing humanity will form the basis of study at a new international institute to be based at the University of St Andrews.

The Logos Institute, which takes its name from the Greek meaning ”˜word’ or ”˜study’ but which is also used in John’s Gospel with reference to the incarnation, will be a centre for excellence in the study of analytic and exegetical theology.

The range of questions it will consider concern the existence and nature of God, God’s relationship to time, the nature of the person and the conceptual and social challenges confronting religious belief. The latter will include interdisciplinary analysis of the challenges of religious hostility, sectarianism and, indeed, terrorism.

The institute is being launched by a £1.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation which supports research relating to the major questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Scotland, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Margaret of Scotland

O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

(Barna) Scotland: Lessons for Effective Ministry in a Post-Christian Context

Can the Christian community flourish in a post-Christian context? This is the main question behind a landmark study of the state of faith and effective ministry in Scotland””the first of its kind for Barna Group outside of North America.

Despite levels of secularization that are much higher than in the U.S., the research findings from Scotland will likely strike American readers as familiar: increasing numbers of non-religious adults, declining church attendance numbers and fewer people engaged with the Bible. What is happening? And how can the trends revealed by the research help church leaders in America and beyond do more effective ministry in their own post-Christian context?

The yearlong research effort, commissioned by the Maclellan Foundation, examines the current state of the Christian faith in Scotland and identifies ministry approaches that seem to be working in this particular post-Christian context. While some of the trends revealed in the new report, Transforming Scotland, may paint an uncomfortable picture for church leaders, the research also shows surprising “countertrends” that refute traditional expectations of secularization, including best practices among growing churches.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sociology