Displaying items by tag: Scotland
New ways of engaging people with faith are being pioneered by the Church of Scotland in Ayrshire. It is sending teams of missioners out into the community to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to build new worshipping communities. Team leader Revd Maggie McTernan said the aim is to connect with people who do not want to worship in traditional ways. ‘There's a challenge of declining attendance at our traditional churches on Sunday mornings. But that doesn't necessarily match with a decline in interest in matters of faith. There are people who have an interest and a concern about faith, but for a whole host of reasons they won't go to church on a Sunday morning. Maybe it's not what they're used to or maybe they have other commitments.’ The vision is an intergenerational church sharing activities, experiences and worship in new ways: Messy Church, prayer walks, sports-based wellbeing projects, online, digital parish and a disability project so that the church is fully inclusive.
At the end of 2020, national records reported that over 1,200 people had died of a drug-related death, putting Scotland at the top of the chart for drug-related deaths in Europe. The report painted a heart-breaking picture of loss and pain in so many families and communities across Scotland. Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Bethany Christian Trust, and Cross Reach carry out amazing work caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, but they want to find out how they can further support the work of churches and agencies that focus on drug addiction. Therefore they are currently carrying out a survey with key questions around how drug addiction affects people's churches and how they can together provide sustainable solutions.
Many more arrests will follow after Rangers supporters shouted anti-Catholic slogans and songs and damaged property in Glasgow. Violent clashes led to five police officers being injured and thirty rioters arrested. Thousands of fans defied Covid-19 warnings against large gatherings and massed in George Square to celebrate Rangers winning their first Scottish Premiership championship since 2011. Images later showed George Square strewn with hundreds of broken bottles, plastic bags, and spent flares after flag-draped fans attacked each other and threw dangerous missiles at lines of riot gear-clad police officers. Nicola Sturgeon described the scenes as disgraceful: she was ‘angry on behalf of every law-abiding citizen. In normal times, violence, vandalism, and the vile anti-Catholic prejudice on display would be utterly unacceptable. But mid-pandemic, in a city with cases on the rise, it is also selfish beyond belief.’
1 Cor 3:11 tells us, ‘No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ’. Years ago, Scotland was the ‘Land of The Book’. A Bible would be open on many kitchen tables, but today the word of God lies mainly forgotten and unused on shelves (as in the rest of the UK). When Holyrood opened, everyone believed MSPs would act and pass laws according to the words on the ceremonial mace: ‘Wisdom, Justice, Compassion, Integrity’. However, departing from God’s word has resulted in declining personal and national morals, with lawlessness increased, as predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2. The media regularly expose lack of righteousness in many areas of society today, including politicians. A recent newspaper article stated, ‘We deserve the politicians we get’. We can ask God to lead Scotland to select MSPs who hold dear to Christian values and place serving others above their own interests.
For many years groups have gathered at locations along the Scotland/England border in a spirit of unity and reconciliation, confessing and repenting of the sins of one nation towards the other. There is a sense that much has been achieved, but there is still work to be done. In that spirit a small group from both sides of the border met to pray and discuss over recent weeks; the result is ‘Cross Border Blessing’ on 28 April. Sixteen individuals/couples will pray a blessing from one nation to the other, in 15-minute sections, criss-crossing the border from east to west. You can join them from where you are by using the blessing prayers In the evening there will be an online gathering of people from both nations to worship and pray under the banner of unity, celebrating what God is doing to build His church.
Rev Brian Casey is making a fresh appeal to the Home Office not to deport 13 year old Giorgi Kakava, who has lived in Scotland since he was three. He faces being sent to Georgia, where he was born. He came to the UK with his asylum-seeker mother, who feared the gangsters her husband owed money to would either kill Giorgi or sell him to sex traffickers. She died in 2018 while awaiting the outcome of her asylum appeal, leaving Giorgi in the care of his grandmother and legal guardian Ketino Baikhadze. His residence permit expired in December. 90,000+ people signed a petition asking that he be allowed to stay in Glasgow. Rev Casey said it was a ‘scandal and a moral outrage’ that he was still living under a cloud of uncertainty. His plea for ‘decency and compassion’ comes as the Scottish parliament prepares to vote on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 23 March.
A former Labour first minister of Scotland, Henry McLeish, has criticised the Scottish Government for a failure of responsibility over its unlawful handling of sexual harassment complaints against Alex Salmond, and branded it ‘bizarre’ there had been no resignations. Conservatives had already declared Nicola Sturgeon guilty and wanted her to resign before she gave evidence on 3 March. There are still significant issues to be resolved and concerns about the ability of the committee investigating the government’s actions to complete its work before parliament breaks for the election campaign on 25 March.
On 3 September Nicola Sturgeon said there were 101 new positive cases, 53 in the Greater Glasgow area. Also the R number is probably now above one, and could be as high as 1.4. Health officials have found evidence of coronavirus spreading in Glasgow schools, but it is not affecting very young children. Most affected are families and young adults, generally mixed households by gender and mixed age groups. Meanwhile Home Farm care home on Skye had 10 residents die from Covid-19 and it will now be taken into NHS ownership. A reporter asked for more detail on the targeted restrictions brought in for the Glasgow area. The first minister said the outbreak is still ongoing and the Test and Protect work continues. The government will try to give people a fuller picture as it develops; the outbreak is more desperate than they have seen, which requires targeted measures.
Severe flash floods closed schools, caused rivers to burst their banks, flooded homes, blocked roads, disrupted train services, and caused a train crash. Lightning, heavy rain showers and large hailstorms are forecast for Scotland, with a ‘danger to life’ warning over the entire country for the next two days. Pray for strength and resolve to be poured out on those experiencing flooded properties, for the safety of vulnerable and elderly in dangerous situations, and for the various rescue services. A passenger train was derailed by a landslide in Aberdeenshire, in what was described as a ‘major incident’. The train driver, conductor and a passenger were killed when the front carriage plunged down an embankment bursting into flames, then the other carriages piled on top of each other. The train had avoided a similar incident minutes earlier when a landslip was reported to be blocking the line. See
Scotland's schools have been given the go-ahead to reopen from 11 August. The Child Poverty Action Group, which supports low-income families, has called for more financial help for parents and carers in Scotland struggling to pay for school uniforms. Eligible pupils currently receive a £100 school clothing grant, with some primary school starters eligible for a further £250. The group said some parents faced ‘extraordinary financial pressure’, and the grants were a good way of getting additional support directly to families. It is urging local authorities and the government to work together to increase the value of the school clothing grants or provide additional grants this year, in recognition of the unexpected extra financial pressures that families face.