Displaying items by tag: Scotland
A couple have been recognised for giving more than a hundred years of service to the Church of Scotland between them. Don and Alice Barrie have played key roles at a church in South Lanarkshire for 51 and 60 years respectively. On 4 November their church presented them with long service awards from the moderator of the CoS general assembly, at a special surprise party. Alice’s father had insisted that she take music lessons from an early age; she took over as church organist at the age of 13 and has never looked back! Don became a church elder in 1967, and served as treasurer. As well as their church duties, the couple successfully ran a farm and raised five children.Their minister, Mike Fucella, said: ‘Church in a rural situation like ours can at times be frustrating, with very few people to do a great deal of work. Don and Alice deserve a big thank you. They have served with cheerfulness, often willing to try new things - open to the future God has in store for us. Without their partnership in the Gospel, I would find things very difficult indeed.’
These are crucial days, and God is stirring His church. As previously reported (see ), the Pray for Scotland network has introduced a 24-hour prayer rota for churches to sign up and commit to pray for unity on 30 November (St Andrew’s Day). Across the nation, spontaneous days of prayer have been happening recently. No one knows what the Brexit outcome will be - but we know the One who has the answer! This is not a time to wait until the storm blows over. It is a time to battle for our nation - on our knees,crying out for His forgiveness and mercy and calling forth a fresh move of His Spirit to revive His Church and transform our communities.
St Andrew’s Day is 30 November and it will also be a day of prayer for Scotland, with many churches in different parts of the country hosting a variety of prayer events. May God bless Scotland and help every individual to show gratitude for what has been good in the past, goodwill in the present, and hope with determination for the days ahead. May Scotland follow Andrew’s footsteps, just as he followed his Lord, Jesus Christ.
Child mental health has been a key priority for the Scottish government. But specialist services are struggling to cope with increasing demand, and mental health minister Clare Haughey said the situation was ‘unacceptable’. The target of 90% of children and young people starting treatment or having referral to specialist services within 18 weeks has never been met. Instead, waiting times have increased since the target was set. About one in ten Scottish children aged between 5 and 16 have a clinically diagnosable mental illness, and there has been a 22% increase in the number being referred for specialist treatment in recent years. Children may receive little or no support or advice while waiting for treatment, causing conditions to deteriorate or make it more likely they will drop out of the system during the process. Early intervention services are patchy across Scotland.
‘Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.’ (Isaiah 45:22) ‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19) On 23 August hundreds of Christians from a wide variety of churches gathered in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first of the ‘Encounter’ meetings to launch The Turning - Scotland. For ten days (23 August to 3 September), in Edinburgh and Glasgow teams will spread out to share the Gospel in one-to-one conversations. At the time of writing over 250 had signed up to take part in Edinburgh, over 100 in Glasgow, and around 65 in Aberdeen; these numbers may increase as the week goes on and word spreads.
300+ Glasgow asylum-seekers are threatened with eviction by Serco, a public service provider. Rev Dr Richard Frazer said it was unacceptable that people fleeing war are treated this way. ‘Authorities have clear moral responsibilities to provide housing for people in need. Serco intends to evict people whose UK asylum has been rejected, and has ordered six families to move out within a week, before the locks on their doors are changed. Dr Frazer said that although individuals and families have had their right to remain turned down, past evidence shows that half will win their appeal against that decision. The Church of Scotland is backing a new campaign to challenge the UK Government’s approach to illegal immigration, which is leading to destitution, discrimination and distrust. See
Drug deaths have reached their worst level in Scotland since records began, (934 in 2017). Statistics show Scotland's drug death-rate is roughly two and half times the UK rate and ‘massively worse’ than anywhere in Europe. The official ‘Drug-related deaths’ paper shows methadone, the heroin substitute, was present in nearly half of all deaths. Methadone is prescribed by the NHS to keep people off drugs! Annie Wells, the Scottish public health spokesperson, said, ‘ We need a radical and urgent drugs strategy, not one that waves the white flag in the face of drug-dealers and those who profit from this despicable industry, but one that gets tough on the issue. We need to help vulnerable people beat the habit once and for all, not park them on methadone just to watch them die from that very substance years later.’ Pray for God to inspire ministers to implement a successful, revitalised substance use strategy.
The Salvation Army has been praised for its support for members of the emergency services who responded to a fire at the Glasgow School of Art, in a building which had been undergoing a multi-million-pound restoration project. Volunteers prepared hot rolls and Irn Bru drinks for police officers and firefighters who were called to the landmark Mackintosh Building on the night of 15 June. The fire service’s chief officer, Alasdair Hay, praised the ‘warm-hearted’ response of both the Salvation Army and emergency crews. The Salvation Army rarely receives the recognition it deserves as it works with children and families, the homeless, the elderly, and those in poverty. It influences social policy and is involved in removing modern slavery and domestic abuse.
The vision for The Turning is to equip every church member to be confident in sharing their faith - to start that simple conversation that could lead to someone encountering the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ. At the February envisioning meetings in Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, 320 leaders and team members heard Pastor Yinka share the vision and history of The Turning. He returned with a small team to Scotland from 17 to 19 April for a second round of meetings for leaders who learnt more about what is involved in preparing for, holding, and, very importantly, following up a Turning mission. They also discussed what should happen in the months that follow, so that they can sustain an ongoing outreach in each community.
In June, Falkirk hosts the Celebration of Hope. Thousands will gather in football stadia or be out on the streets talking about Jesus. Some will not be directly involved, but everyone can intercede and ask for God’s blessings for abundant harvest. Scotland desperately needs a fresh move of God, a breakthrough, a turning of direction, another Pentecost. What would have happened to past revivals if Christians had not prayed? Would they have happened? How many potential harvests have been lost because the church did not appreciate and use the power of prayer? Also the Church of Scotland may start training people over 55 to be ministers for the first time to shore up dwindling cleric numbers. They are considering overhauling the rules that prevent men or women being ordained unless all aspects of their training are completed by the time they reach 55. see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/older-clerics-are-answer-to-kirk-s-prayer-57tqnr336