First Minister Alex Salmond recently met with church leaders to discuss current issues facing society and the Church. Matters discussed included the proposed changes to marriage law, on which views from across the churches were expressed.
The Church Leaders highlighted the transformational work done by churches in the community and welcomed the First Minister’s assurance that there is a continuing role for faith in Scottish society.
This annual meeting illustrates the increasingly active engagement between churches and civic society in Scotland, both nationally and locally.
The Most Revd David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said: “I greatly value the opportunity of being part of the group of church leaders and representatives who have this annual meeting with the First Minister. I believe that faith communities should be actively involved in continuing dialogue with civic and political life. I believe that the issues which we discussed at this meeting are of the greatest importance for the future of Scotland and I look forward to continuing dialogue.”
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The contribution made to Scottish society by all of its churches is outstanding and I was delighted to recognise that again at the annual meeting with their leaders and representatives.
“All over Scotland, churches work tirelessly in their communities tackling some of the biggest issues that we face. Whether it is alleviating poverty, improving education or making our society fairer, Scotland’s churches share many of the Scottish Government’s aims for our country, and I was very pleased to discuss these in some depth.
“While we will not always agree on every issue, it is only by open and cordial discussions that we will we be able to work together and ensure that everyone’s views are taken into account when deciding upon the best way forward. I have always been absolutely clear that people in Scotland should be able to express their faith openly so that the full range of opinions can be considered in the debates that we have on the kind of country we aspire to be.”
Those attending the meeting from the churches were:
- Rev Alan Donaldson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
- Rev Thomas R Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
- Right Rev Albert Bogle, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
- Rev Dr Iain D Campbell, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland
- Rev Lily Twist, Chair of the Methodist Synod in Scotland, Methodist Church
- Monsignor Hugh Bradley, General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
- Leslie Stevenson, Representative Friend, Religious Society of Friends
- Lt Col Alan Burns, Secretary for Scotland, The Salvation Army
- Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church
- Rev Ian Lloyd, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland
- Rev John Ll Humphreys, Moderator of the Synod of Scotland, United Reformed Church
Also in attendance from the Churches were:
- Scottish Churches Parliamentary Officer: Chloe Clemmons
- Catholic Parliamentary Officer: John Deighan
- Action of Churches Together in Scotland: Br Stephen Smyth, General Secretary