Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Monday, November 27, 2006


On 7th December the Scottish Parliament will debate the final stage of the Adoption and Fostering ( Scotland ) Bill. The Bill allows same-sex and unmarried couples to jointly adopt children.

There is seriously concern about the implications of this proposal which may not be in the best interests of children.

Those who share this concern are being encouraged to to contact their MSPs about this and ask them to oppose attempts to introduce same-sex and unmarried adoption.

Sadly there is a likelihood that the proposal will be accepted by the Parliament. This means that Christian adoption agencies may be forced to place a child with a same-sex or unmarried couple.

In the view of CARE, this would be a serious breach of religious liberty and are encouraging people to write to their MSPs, if they are minded to allow same-sex and unmarried adoption, that a clause is inserted in the Bill to allow faith-based adoption agencies to make, or refuse to make, placements according to their religious ethos and conscience.

You have 8 MSPs - 1 representing your constituency and 7 representing your region. You can find a list of your MSPs by following this link:

Web Link

Friday, November 17, 2006

Vatican stands by celibacy

The Vatican has backed the tradition of celibacy for Catholic priests after a meeting between the Pope and advisers.

The Pope and his cardinals discussed the case of a married African archbishop, excommunicated last year for ordaining other married priests. "The value of the choice of priestly celibacy... has been reaffirmed," the Vatican said in a statement.

Thousands of the Catholic Church's 400,000 priests worldwide have left in order to marry in recent years.

The Pope had called together all his top advisers - the cardinals heading different Vatican departments - to discuss the case of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the former head of the Roman Catholic Church in Zambia.

Emmanuel Milingo was excommunicated last month after ordaining four married priests as bishops in the United States. The former archbishop married a Korean woman and after first agreeing to leave her, is now cohabiting with her again. He set up an organisation called "Married Priests Now" and plans to hold a meeting of more than 1,000 married Catholic priests in New York next month.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says the average age of priests is well over 60 and in many countries new recruits to the priesthood, inhibited by the celibacy rule, are not coming forward in sufficient numbers to replace the older generation of Catholic clergy.

Eastern rite Catholic priests are allowed to marry and the Vatican has also admitted married clergy who converted from the Anglican faith.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anyone for A Year with an MSP?

Do you know a young Christian person with an interest in politics who would benefit from spending a year working in the office of an MP or MSP?

If so, the CARE Intern programme may be just the thing for them.

Over recent years more than 100 young people have come through the Intern Programme and many are already in positions of considerable responsibility in public life. The first MP from the scheme was elected to Westminster in 2005.

At a time when many of the Christian values of our country are being challenged in the nature of some of the legislation recently passed, the CARE Intern Programme is an investment in the potential of young Christian people who aspire to live out their faith in the public sphere.

Please pass this information on to any young people you think might be Interested.

You can find more information at or contact the CARE for Scotland office on 0141 332 7212 for a brochure.

Please note that the closing date for applications for the 2007-8 Intern Scheme is 2nd January 2007.



Following pressure from a group of students, Edinburgh University has banned the University Christian Union from running one of its events on University premises. Pressure is principally coming from the Gay & Lesbian Society at Edinburgh Universitty.

The banned event is a course called PURE, which presents the Biblical basis of personal relationships. The University’s decision is based on its belief that PURE is in breach of its equality and diversity policy because PURE claims that any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage is not God-ordained.

This incident is an attack on freedom of speech in an institution where an open exchange of views and a search after truth should be strongly upheld. In this instance the CU is being denied freedom of expression because what they say and believe is uncomfortable for some groups in the university.

University and College Christian Fellowship (UCCF), who coordinate the work of university Christian Unions, have asked that as many people as possible write to the Principal of Edinburgh University expressing disapproval at this censorship. In your letter, please concentrate on the fact that freedom of speech and belief is being curtailed.

The Principal is: Professor Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL.

Please also pray for the CU President Andrew Hall and for Matthew Tindale, the UCCF worker in Edinburgh, that they might have wisdom beyond their years as they deal with this situation.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MSPs back festive shops shutdown

A Holyrood committee has backed a bill to ban large stores from opening on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

MSPs on the Justice 2 Committee narrowly voted in favour of the plans, put forward by Labour backbencher Karen Whitefield, to keep the days "special". The committee is now urging the Scottish Executive to state whether it backs the bill or not.

If approved, the bill would stop shops with a floor size of more than 280 sq m opening on those days.

Four members of the committee - three Labour MSPs and Scottish Socialist leader Colin Fox - backed the general principles of the Christmas Day and New Year's Day Trading Bill. However three MSPs, a Tory, a Nationalist and a Liberal Democrat, refused to support it.

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell and Lib Dem Jeremy Purvis claimed there was no strong evidence that stopping stores from opening would fulfil the objective of protecting the majority of shop workers from having to work on the two days. Tory MSP David Davidson argued the bill discriminated against shops based on their size.

However committee deputy convener, Labour MSP Bill Butler, argued: "The evidence presented to the committee is that both days are seen as special days on which people take time off to spend with their families and communities.

"The bill aims to protect the special nature of Christmas Day and New Year's Day in Scotland."

Business chiefs at CBI Scotland have already written to the leaders of Scotland's main political parties, calling on them to reject moves to ban traders opening on New Year's Day.

Under the proposals put forward by Ms Whitefield, the MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, shops of more than 3,000 sq ft (280 sq m) would be forced to close on both 25 December and 1 January.

Smaller shops, restaurants, pubs, takeaways, registered pharmacies and shops within airports, railway stations, ports and motorway service stations would not be affected by the ban.

The proposals are supported by leaders of the trade union Usdaw.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

C of S announces next Moderator

The Reverend Sheilagh Kesting has been named as the next moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Miss Kesting, 53, from Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis, has been Secretary of the Church of Scotland Committee on Ecumenical Relations since 1993. She will succeed current incumbent, the Reverend Alan McDonald, in May.

Miss Kesting becomes the second female Moderator of the General Assembly after Dr Alison Elliot in 2004. She will be the first female moderator to be a minister in the church, Dr Elliot being an elder.

Rev Kesting was educated at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway and Edinburgh University.

The moderator designate spent her probationary period in St John's Renfield Church in Glasgow and was inducted to Overtown Parish Church, Lanarkshire in 1980, just as the steel works were closing. In 1986, Miss Kesting was inducted to the newly united congregation of St Andrew's High, Musselburgh in East Lothian.