In the last post on Grain amongst other things we urged greater sharing of information between concerned Christians in the CofS at a Presbytery level, that is the area most open to decisive intervention to halt the downward trajectory of the denomination.
My apologies to the many readers outwith the CofS but there, as yet, being no clearing house for this type of information I include this morning the result of a special meeting of the Presbytery of Lewis called specifically to discuss the joint submission to the Scottish Parliament by the CofS Church & Society Council and the Humanist Society Scotland mentioned earlier.
LEWIS PRESBYTERY, CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Response to the Submission made by Church & Society Council, Church of Scotland in conjunction with Humanist Society Scotland to the Public Petitions Committee, Scottish Government 28th January 2014.
Following the joint submission by the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, with the Humanist Society Scotland to the meeting of the Public Petitions Committee, Scottish Parliament, dated 28th January 2014, the Presbytery of Lewis, Church of Scotland was urgently called, and met today, January 30th, which is as soon as was practically possible.
The Presbytery of Lewis wishes to strongly affirm its support for the place of Christian principles within ‘Religious Observance’ in schools in the Western Isles and throughout Scotland as contained within its Declaratory Articles which recognises that as a national Church, it is representative of the Christian Faith of the Scottish people; acknowledging its distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry.
The importance of Christian principles is acknowledged by the Presbytery which recognises that it adds value to the life and educational experience of pupils: a blessing, which under God’s hand, was experienced by previous generations, and provided them with a distinctive religious and cultural bed-rock upon which to build their lives.
The Presbytery of Lewis also wishes to dissociate itself completely from the action taken by the Church and Society Council in making this joint submission to the Public Petitions Committee calling for ‘Religious Observance’ in schools to be replaced with a ‘Time for Reflection’, and for school chaplains to have to agree first with the equality and diversity policy of a school, or local educational authority, before being allowed access to a particular school.
Presbytery also affirms that since the issue has not been discussed by and agreed upon by a General Assembly, the substance of this submission does not constitute the mind of the Church of Scotland as a whole.
The Church and Society Council wish to see “a greater sense of equality for all beliefs”, and have the view that “no one particular belief system is valued over any other in Scottish Education”. While wishing to cooperate with all who aim to promote society’s well being, Presbytery believes the characteristic, unique Christian truths of God’s word and grace must be adhered to especially, in the public place; and that where these are, society’s ultimate well-being is assured.
30 January 2014
Lewis has show that we need not meekly accept the takeover of the denomination as a given. Action was taken as soon as practically possible, and for the CofS that was at breathtaking speed. A clear statement of rejection of the Council’s action passed and now it is being spread beyond Lewis in order to encourage others. How much more could be achieved if we were to do this on an organised basis.