Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In England, government kill-joys have ordered the General Register Office to ban the taking of photographs of couples signing marriage registers.

One Register Office official said: “We were told photos could not be taken of couples signing the register because it would breach data protection.

A Home Office spokesman said: “There are data protection issues which we do raise when someone else’s details are put into the public domain. This is about being aware of people’s identity information.”

Another Home Office spokesman explained: “Taking a photograph could be construed as a copy of the entry and a breach of the Crown Copyright. There are four entries to a double page, so the details of another marriage could also be photographed.”

I suppose we wait for the Scottish Government to come up with a similar hair-brained idea !

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No Fathers Day in Scottish Schools

Primary schools throughout Scotland banned children from making Fathers Day cards to avoid upsetting children from single-mother or lesbian homes.

The policy, which affected thousands of children, was adopted by schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Clackmannanshire.

According to the last census, two thirds of Scottish children live in a household headed by a married couple.

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council said: “Increasingly, it is the case that there are children who haven’t got fathers or haven’t got fathers living with them and teachers are having to be sensitive about this.

“Teachers have always had to deal with some pupils not having fathers or mothers, but with marital breakdown it is accelerating.”

Jim Goodall, head of education at Clackmannanshire Council, said teachers are expected to behave with common sense but be sensitive to “the changing pattern of family life.”

Matt O’Connor, founder of campaign group Fathers For Justice, said: “I’m astonished at this. It totally undermines the role and significance of fathers”.

“It also sends out a troubling message to young boys that fathers aren’t important,” he added.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scaling New Heights for India’s Lowest

Scaling New Heights for India’s Lowest
By Paul Beck

Hiking doesn’t get much harder, or higher, than the Himalayas.

Raising funds for India’s most oppressed children, Church of Scotland member and Elder Philip Rose along with wife Sharon are however literally and physically ‘up’ for the challenge of trekking the world’s tallest mountain range.

“I wanted to be involved for several reasons,” begins Sharon, who will be team leader for the 20 British hikers. “Not only for the experience of visiting India or hiking the Himalayas, but mostly because I have been telling so many people about the Dalit people and their sufferings.” “I have spoke so much about the Dalit situation I thought it was time to see it for myself and to raise enough money to build another school” says Philip

Despite India’s recent economic advancement, its 250 million Dalits face extreme poverty and every conceivable form of discrimination. The country’s growing wealth does not reach those living outside Hindu’s caste system, labelled the ‘untouchables’ of society. Dalits cannot eat with or even drink the same water as people of a higher caste background. They are relegated to the lowest jobs and face humiliation daily. In a recent case, a six-year old girl Dalit girl was pushed into burning embers after she walked on the ‘wrong’ path.

Sharon serves with the Christian charity Operation Mobilisation Philip helps out when possible. Responding to the Dalits’ cries for help, to date OM has established 80 schools across India that are providing 13,000 Dalit children with an education. At the request of local leaders, the students follow an English-medium curriculum emphasising a Christian worldview of personal worth to God. Each Dalit Education Centre also hosts adult evening classes, health seminars and self-help groups for the local community.

As part of the trek through the Nanda Devi region, Philip with Sharon and her team will visit one of the schools OM oversees. “I wanted a first hand, physical experience that would make this more real to me so that I can make it more real for others,” explains Sharon. “To meet the people, to visit their communities, to see the schools, to witness the transformation that is taking place and to be able to say 'we have been, we have seen and we have my own stories to tell'.”

The eight-day trek will doubtless be draining. Starting at 6am for a hike of five hours through difficult terrain, the group will be pushed physically and mentally. However, Philip and Sharon hope that being surrounded by the awesome scenery of God’s creation will also ‘uplift’ there own faith. “We are sure we will learn a lot about perseverance and team work. This is a chance to literally grow closer to God!”

Sharon will certainly need the prayer and support of others as she prepares for departure on 13th September. Those wishing to sponsor them and raise funds for a new Dalit Education Centre in the state of Jharkhand can visit or email or

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catholic Church is the Christian Voice in Scotland

Anne McIntyre of Parliamentary Prayer Scotland, has claimed that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian voice which it speaking out in Scotland.

Speaking to Bill Anderson on Revival FM's Morning Matters programme, she asked where the voices of all the other churches were.

In an age when the Christian values of Scotland and the United Kingdom are under constant attack in our parliaments, it is essential that the views and opinions of Christians are heard.

But MP's and MSP's are limited in their reponses if they do not hear from their constituatants.

Anne encourages both individual Chistians and church corporate bodies to both speak out and to make contact with and get to know their MSP's and MP's - and let them know your views on matters which are passing through our Parliaments.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chinese pastor and interpreter detained

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chinese pastor and interpreter detained on their way to meet European Union official
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) -- A Chinese pastor has been detained along with his interpreter when he was on his way to meet with a senior EU official in Beijing earlier today (June 18).

China Aid Association (CAA) says that according to a brief conversation over the phone at about 7:25pm Wednesday (Beijing time) with Zhang Mingxuan, Pastor Zhang was detained at 12:08pm on June 18 (Beijing Time) and being held at a Public Security Bureau office in Beijing.

CAA president Bob Fu was told over the phone that pastor Zhang was detained at a bus while he and his interpreter were on their way to meet with Dr. Bastiaan Belder (MEP), Rapporteur of the EP Committee of Foreign Affairs for the relationship between the EU and China, at Yanshan Hotel in Haidian District. Zhang's cellphone was forced to shut down by a PSB officer.

Both men are being detained at the Shuangyushu PSB office of Haidian District, Beijing city. Pastor Zhang Mingxuan is the president of Chinese House Church Alliance.

CAA urges the Chinese government to release pastor Zhang immediately and unconditionally.
CAA says that Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese house church alliance, issued three open letters to the international community last year, informing the world to the sufferings and persecutions he has endured at the hands of the CPC.

Detailed in his third open letter are the many hardships and injustices pastor Zhang has had to endure throughout the years since becoming an outspoken evangelist and leader of the house church alliance.

Since his conversion to Christianity in 1986, Pastor Zhang has been arrested, beaten and incarcerated 12 times. Most recently, PSB and State officials forced Zhang to close the orphanage he had been running with his two sons.

Zhang and the orphans have continued to look for places of residence, but have been refused several times by landlords who have been threatened by officials not to lease to Zhang.

To voice your concern over the injustices Pastor Zhang has been forced to endure please contact:
The Office of PSB of Shuangyushu, Haidian DistrictTel: +86-10-62561316

Chinese Embassy Address: 49-51 Portland Place London W1B 1JL
General Line: 020-72994049
Madam Fu Ying: Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom Mr. Zhang Lirong: Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China

Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh
Website: or
Mme. Tan Xiutian: Consul General of the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh
Tel: 0131-3373220
Address: 55 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 5QG
Administration office: Tel:0131-337 9896 0131-337 1790

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Christians - prove your benefit to society

In the near future the Charity Commission in England will be asking Christian charities and churches to prove they benefit the public in order to maintain charitable status.

The Commission has published its draft guidance on how it will assess 'public benefit' specifically for religious groups, including churches, and is currently holding a consultation. This is a different consultation from the general consultation on 'public benefit' held last year.

When assessing 'public benefit' the Commission proposes to consider
  • evangelism
  • membership policy
  • interpretation of doctrine
  • personal viewpoints based on the Bible
  • public opinion

Most churches will not have a problem complying with the draft guidance. However, the Christian Institute are concerned that the Commission is straying into territory which may have future implications for religious liberty.

The consultation closes on 30th June and details can be found on the Christian Institute website here.

Although this consultation is focussed on England, it is always worth bearing in mind that issues such as this can sometimes be taken up by Scottish Government and it's quangos, not always with any further clear consultation - so, you may wish to make your views known!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Changing the way the Church Communicates

Thursday, June 5, 2008
Innovative leaders gather to change the way
the Church communicates with the World

By Michael IrelandChief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA (ANS) -- Fifty-five leaders from 49 organizations met last week to "ignite a global movement of visual story for the sake of Christ's kingdom."

The Visual Story Network Summit was a unique gathering of Christian leaders representing mission groups, Bible agencies, creative networks, media producers, filmmakers, distributors, universities, churches and television broadcasters.

Leaders responded to the need for new ways to contextualize the gospel in an increasingly visual world.

"These participants are among the most innovative thinkers and practitioners in the world. They understand the need to move beyond 'preach' and 'print' to 'portray,'" said Clyde Taber, Executive Director for the Visual Story Network.

At the Summit, significant relationships were begun among experts who care deeply about the Kingdom and the power of visual story.

"Great conference!" Shane Sooter of City on a Hill Productions commented. "I'm still buzzing with the possibilities. The networking and connections alone made it worth my time, but the potential for the future is the real prize."

During the Summit, strategy groups formed to focus on North America, global opportunities, training visual communicators and facilitating communication and collaboration. Next steps for the Visual Story Network include a regional event in Dallas in the fall, developing an online networking platform and expanding partnerships with other innovative organisations.

"Though challenged by discerning the best approach in moving forward together, I'm thrilled by the deep desire among these men and women to work together more effectively," Taber said.

The American Bible Society, Youth with a Mission, Highway Video, Asbury College, Sermonspice, SAT 7, Navigators, JESUS Film Project, Northland Church, Igniter Media, Good News Productions, Hollywood Connect and Mission America were among the organisations involved.

The Visual Story Network is a coalition of missional and creative leaders working together to help the body of Christ more effectively harness the power of story in visual media for the Kingdom of God. The event was hosted by the Book of Hope at the Marie Green Forum for Global Missions in Pompano Beach, Florida.

For more information contact Shirin Taber at , +1 949 235 5148,
or view

Labels: , ,