Category : –Scotland

The Church of Scotland has moved a step closer to allowing some Ministers and Deacons to conduct same-sex marriages

The General Assembly voted 345 by 170 to instruct the Legal Questions Committee to prepare legislation with safeguards in accordance with Section 9 (1A) of the Marriage Scotland Act.

But commissioners agreed that the committee should only act if, in its opinion, said safeguards “sufficiently protect against the risks they identify”.

The committee will report its findings to the General Assembly of 2020.

The motion calling for legislation to be prepared was put forward by Rev Bryan Kerr, minister of Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark.

It was amended to ensure the committee had the power to recommend withdrawal following a call from Rev Peter White of Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CEN) Peter Brierley–Older churchgoers today

The number of older people, 65 and over, attending church on a Sunday in England is increasing. There were 810,000 going to church in 1980, and 980,000 in 2017 (a 21 per cent increase). In Scotland, however, the numbers are respectively 190,000 and 170,000 (an 11 per cent decrease).

The proportion of older people in church in England is also increasing. It was 18 per cent in 1980 and 34 per cent in 2017; in Scotland the percentages were 21 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, also increasing significantly. In the population, numbers of those 65 and over are also increasing.

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Posted in --Scotland, Aging / the Elderly, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(The Herald) Karin Goodwin–Secular Scotland: Losing our religion?

Once the church was an anchor. It was not just about the Sunday sermon, it was central to political life and in the forming of young minds, educating children across Scotland. It provided alms for the needy and laid down a strict moral code that informed – or controlled, depending on your point of view – how Scots lived their lives from birth to death, taking in marriage along the way. But as the remaining church bells ring out to celebrate Easter [the first] Sunday [in April 2018] many question the church’s role today.

The last census in 2011 showed that just over half of the population considered themselves religious, with 24 per cent identifying as Church of Scotland Christians and 14 per cent as Roman Catholics. The Scottish household survey in 2016 suggested those numbers were falling, with those who identify as religious now in the minority at 48.5 percent.

Attendance at Sunday services is also at an all-time low – just seven per cent go to church, according to the 2016 Scottish Church Census. The figure is expected to fall to around five per cent by 2025, about the number that attend a book group.

The hold of religion has been stripped back in all sorts of ways.

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Posted in --Scotland, Religion & Culture

(Theology and Ethics) A fabulous teaching and preaching resource from Scotland

I was blessed to grow up in St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow under the teaching ministry of people like Eric Alexander, Sinclair Ferguson, David Ellis, Richard Buckley and others. Some time ago I found the great Tapes from Scotland website which has literally thousands of expository sermons and talks by them and other great (mainly Scottish, all male, broadly Reformed) preachers such as James and George Philip and William Still.

I’ve adapted their spreadsheet of the recordings so as to include links to each recording on their site and you can access and search through them below.

You can scroll through the whole dataset 15 recordings at a time using the arrows at the top and bottom or you can order any column alphabetically by clicking on its title but it is obviously better to use the quite elaborate search and filter process on the left hand side.

Check out the whole thing (Hat tip:AG).

Posted in --Scotland, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Presbyterian

(Herald) After Change in Theology of Marriage, Two Scottish Episcopal Priests Become Roman Catholics Under Ordinariate

Two former Anglican ministers are to be ordained as priests after joining the Catholic Church when Scottish Anglicans voted to embrace gay marriage.

The Rev Simon Beveridge, who lives in Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway and Rev Cameron Macdonald, who lives in Nairn, were made deacons in June just days after the Scottish Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow same sex couples to marry in church.

They joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to provide a home for disaffected former members of the…[Episcopal] and Anglican clergy within the Catholic Church.

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Posted in --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tel) Former Moderator of Church of Scotland says it ‘must switch from hymns to smartphones or face obscurity’

The Church of Scotland faces a “drift into irrelevance and obscurity” unless its focus moves from traditional church services with hymns to smartphones, an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen has warned.

Dr John Chalmers, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, argued the Kirk is failing to connect with younger generations and “the traditional patterns of church life (with which I have been so comfortable) are not going to change that.”

He said the one-size-fits-all model of focusing the Kirk’s activities around church buildings is not suited to attracting modern worshippers and called for a radical transformation “so far reaching that the church of tomorrow may bear little resemblance to the church of recent generations.”

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Posted in --Scotland, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

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 --Scotland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

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 --Scotland, Church History

Let Christian chastity be our guide, not the world, Scottish R Catholic Bishop says

A chaste life and closeness to Christ is the vocation of every Christian, Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell has said in response to questions about ministry to people with same-sex attraction.

“Our saints are our models in this journey of faith and life, and it is good to be led by the example of their commitment to fulfilling God’s will rather than our own particular desires,” Bishop Toal said July 26. “As Catholics we pray always for the wisdom to make wise choices and to be guided by Christ rather than the world around us.”

He cited recent questions about possible approaches to pastoral care to people who experience same-sex attraction, noting that the apostolate of Courage has been recommended to him. This ministry “encourages those who live with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life – which is also expected of all heterosexual Catholics who are not married – supported by the sacramental and prayer life of the Church.”

“Many scoff at this option as unrealistic in today’s societies in which intimate same-sex relationships are condoned and have been afforded the status of marriage in some countries, but that is the way of life proposed in the Church’s tradition and the Church invites her children to abide by it,” he continued.

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Posted in --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) First same-sex wedding deepens Anglican divide

Mark and Rick’s marriage is the first in the Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal church announced in June that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend canon law on marriage. It agreed that the doctrine stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.

The vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists, with the conservative Anglican group Gafcon announcing that it was appointing a missionary bishop, committed to keeping marriage heterosexual, to work in Scotland.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has struggled to keep the worldwide Anglican Communion together over the issue of same-sex relationships, with many African bishops voicing opposition to gay weddings and to clergy being involved in gay relationships themselves.

Welby visited Africa to highlight the plight of refugees but his trip highlighted divisions over same-sex marriage. During the trip, he spent time with the archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, a leading conservative evangelical, who walked out of a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year, angered by the west’s liberal attitudes to homosexuality. Ntagali said that he would not return until “godly order” was restored.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, --Scotland, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology

(Glasgow Evening Times) St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow becomes first in UK to offer same-sex weddings

“People at St Mary’s were part of the campaign to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in Scotland so it is not surprising that we would want to be able to offer such weddings in the cathedral itself.

“St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow is one of the most stunning places that anyone can get married. It is wonderful that more people now have the chance of coming here for their special day.

“I want to live in a world where same-sex couples can feel safe walking down the street hand in hand and in which they can feel joy walking hand in hand down the aisle of a church too.”

The Provost added: “We already have one booking from a couple coming up from England who can’t get married in their local Church of England parish. We are glad to be able to welcome them and expect there will be many others who will follow them”.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) English same-sex couple among those to wed in Glasgow cathedral first

St Mar’s Cathedral, in Glasgow, has become the first Anglican cathedral in Britain to offer same-sex couples the opportunity to marry.

The cathedral is already taking bookings from such couples on its website, including one from an English pair who cannot get married in their Church of England parish.

In June, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod passed a motion to permit clergy to conduct gay weddings…. The legislation came into effect on Tuesday.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality

(Phil Ashey) The Gafcon missionary bishop for Scotland and Europe

On Friday June 30, 2017, the Rev. Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated in Wheaton Illinois (USA) at the Third Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach Presiding. The consecrating Bishops will be acting on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), and Canon Lines will become its first Missionary Bishop to Europe.

Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.  His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. Faithful bishops like Athanasius disregarded the boundaries and autonomy of Arian dioceses in order to consecrate Biblically faithful bishops for Biblically faithful Christians. The consecration of a missionary bishop by GAFCON for Europe is as much an emergency as the consecrations that Athanasius and other faithful bishops performed, and just as necessary to guard the faith and order of the Church and prevent spiritual harm to biblically faithful Christians.

We call these emergencies “exigent circumstances.” Although this is a legal term used in criminal courts for circumstances in which the potential death of a victim, flight of a felon or destruction of evidence justifies an emergency search or seizure that overrides the freedom, autonomy and constitutional rights of a suspect, “exigent circumstances” have also been the grounds for faithful Bishops, clergy and laity to take emergency action to guard the faith and order of the Church. I recently wrote about Exigent Circumstances in the Anglican Communion, citing the works of Paul Avis, Francis Oakley and Brian Tierney for the precedent of such “emergency action” which we see in the development of  the great reforming Councils of the Roman Catholic Church during the Great Schism (1378-1417).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Scotland, Church History, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Columba

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness to thee 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 --Scotland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Andrew Lightbrown–Scottish lessons for the English church (or at least the C of E)

Both the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church appear to be on the march towards marriage equality. Compared to the Church of England our Scottish neighbours seem to be more progressive and, enlightened. There again Scotland has a long and proud history of enlightenment! Of course I write this as a progressive on matters relating to sexuality and, gender. Some conservatives in the Church of England are no doubt somewhat less sanguine.

Such conservatives will no doubt argue that the Scottish churches have ceased to be orthodox churches. But, surely the counter view is that orthodoxy and progression can be perfectly natural bed fellows? My orthodoxy is rooted in belief in the creed as a communal declaration of faith. The creeds are the kite mark of orthodoxy. The Scottish churches have recognised this. This doesn’t mean that progressives within the Scottish churches have won; unless that is a determination exists to regard issues of human sexuality, particularly as they relate to marriage, in win-lose terms.

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Posted in --Scotland, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology, Theology: Scripture