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Scottish Church Leaders Forum on the Joint Statement by Leaders of Churches across Britain and Ireland

6th April 2020 (Monday in Holy Week)

 

Scottish Church Leaders Forum on the Joint Statement by Leaders of Churches across Britain and Ireland


On behalf of the Churches in Scotland, we welcome the Statement by the Leaders of Churches from across the nations of Britain and Ireland.


Within Scotland, as elsewhere, we are faced with a series of unprecedented challenges that are impacting upon every aspect of the fabric of our society.


In the threat to life and livelihood being experienced by so many at this time, we are conscious of the need to remain open to the life of God and to the life of the world.


In the course of this Holy Week, we know that we shall hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The experience of being abandoned and forsaken is not absent from the life of God lived out in this world.


Equally, we are conscious that our faith affirms that this experience does not mark the boundary of the love of God.


As we journey through this week, through Good Friday and on to the day of Resurrection, we pray:


Lord of Creation,

Be with us on this journey towards the healing of your world and people.

hold us when we feel alone,

carry us when we lose our strength

and heal us when we are afraid.

Let people of faith speak today with a voice of love,

The love shown to us through the power of the Spirit

and in the love and sacrifice of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.


Signed by:


Rt. Rev. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland

Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church

Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church

Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army

Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland

Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)

Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland

Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)

Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland


British and Irish Church leaders united in response to Covid 19 pandemic


In an unprecedented move, church leaders came together on Wednesday 1st April. The morning video conference included senior religious leaders from around Britain and Ireland who shared the situation in each of their jurisdictions. The initiative originated with Archbishop Justin Welby who wanted to offer an opportunity for leaders to hear and support one another in these critical days for our nations.


The afternoon video meeting of senior officers of many of the churches included discussions about on-line worship, pastoral care in hospitals, funeral arrangements in various places, along with information on furlough arrangements being considered by some churches.


The statement is supported by churches in membership of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, along with Churches Together in England, Cytun, ACTS and the Irish Council of Churches.


Further information can be obtained by contacting Bob Fyffe (CTBI) at bob.fyffe@ctbi.org.uk or on 07940660099


Contacts within the nations include
Aled Edwards (Cytun) aled@cytun.cymru
Paul Goodliff (CTE) paul.goodliff@cte.org.uk
Nicola Brady (ICC) nicola@irishchurches.org
John McPake (Scottish rep) jmcpake@churchofscotland.org.uk


God’s world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. In the nations that make up Britain and Ireland the Covid-19 virus continues to affect people at an alarming rate, health services along with many of our institutions and organisations, both local and national, are under extreme pressure and people are getting used to living in a very different way, many in extreme isolation. As with all such crises, there is a danger that the most vulnerable in society will be most badly affected.


Christians the world over are entering an important time in the church year as we look to the events of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. At the centre of our common faith are both the depths of despair and the heights of joy. In the Bible and in the songs and liturgies of the Church, we see Jesus entering fully into human suffering. In His rising again, that suffering is redeemed and transformed into hope and joy. After Jesus’ death his disciples were afraid and all seemed lost and hopeless, but the risen Christ met them in their despair and restored hope through his victory over death. We pray that the world today might know this hope in place of despair.


In the Book of Daniel we read about God’s people being taken into exile in Babylon. Daniel could not pray in the Temple in Jerusalem, but he continued to pray in exile – opening his window to face Jerusalem. Though he was on his own he joined with the prayers of the people wherever they were. Now we too are separated from each other physically, but when we pray in our homes we join in with this ancient tradition of our home as a place of prayer. Wherever we are, whenever we pray, when we speak and think of Christ, there he is in the midst of us. We join our prayers with all those who pray in our own churches and communities and around the world.


As church leaders from across the many and varied churches of these Islands we urge all people to join us in prayer this Holy Week and Easter; to pray for those who suffer, those who face untimely death and all those who care for them; to celebrate our common faith at a difficult time; to help and support our neighbours in need; and to observe all the safeguards in place to slow the spread of disease.


Our Prayer


Loving God, in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation, cast out the darkness of our anxiety, fear and mourning, enfold us in your love and give us joy and hope this Easter.


Amen.


In Welsh:


Datganiad Wythnos y Pasg gan Arweinwyr Eglwysi Prydain ac Iwerddon


Mae byd Duw yng nghanol argyfwng na welwyd ei fath o’r blaen. Yng ngwledydd yr Ynysoedd hyn mae firws Covid-19 yn parhau i effeithio ar bobl ar raddfa frawychus. Mae’r gwasanaethau iechyd, ynghyd â llawer o’n sefydliadau a mudiadau, yn lleol ac yn genedlaethol, dan bwysau enbyd, ac mae pobl yn gorfod dygymod â byw mewn ffordd wahanol iawn, llawer ohonynt mewn unigrwydd eithafol. Fel yn achos pob argyfwng o’r fath, mae yna berygl mai’r rhai mwyaf bregus yn y gymdeithas fydd yn dioddef fwyaf.


Mae Cristnogion ledled y byd ar drothwy cyfnod pwysig yn y flwyddyn eglwysig, pryd byddwn yn cofio marwolaeth ac atgyfodiad Iesu Grist. Mae dyfnderoedd anobaith ac uchelfannau llawenydd ill dau yn ganolog i’n ffydd gyffredin. Yn y Beibl ac yng nghaneuon a litwrgïau’r Eglwys, fe welwn Iesu’n profi’n gyflawn ddioddefaint dynol. Yn ei Atgyfodiad, trawsffurfiwyd y dioddefaint hwnnw drwy ei waith achubol yn obaith a llawenydd. Ar ôl marw Iesu, roedd y disgyblion yn ofnus ac ymddangosai fod popeth ar ben mewn anobaith, ond daeth y Crist atgyfodedig atynt yn eu trallod ac ailgynnau gobaith drwy ei fuddugoliaeth dros angau. Gweddïwn y disodlir anobaith y byd heddiw gan yr un gobaith hwnnw.


Yn Llyfr Daniel, fe ddarllenwn am gaethgludo pobl Dduw i Fabilon. Ni allai Daniel weddïo yn y Deml yn Jerwsalem, ond parhaodd i weddïo yn ei alltudiaeth – gan agor ei ffenestr tuag at Jerwsalem. Er ei fod ar ei ben ei hun, roedd yn ymuno â gweddïau’r bobl ble bynnag yr oeddent. Heddiw, rydym ninnau hefyd wedi’n gwahanu oddi wrth ein gilydd yn gorfforol, ond pan fyddwn yn gweddïo yn ein cartrefi, rydym yn rhan o’r hen draddodiad hwn o weld ein cartref fel tŷ gweddi. Ble bynnag yr ydym, pryd bynnag y gweddïwn, pan lefarwn am Grist a meddwl amdano, yno mae yntau yn ein canol. Unwn ein gweddïau â gweddïau pawb sy’n gweddïo yn ein heglwysi ni ein hunain ac mewn cymunedau ledled y byd.


Fel Arweinwyr Eglwysig o’r holl amrywiaeth o eglwysi yn yr Ynysoedd hyn, galwn ar bawb i ymuno â ni yn ystod yr Wythnos Fawr a thros y Pasg eleni: i weddïo dros y rhai sy’n dioddef, dros y rhai sy’n wynebu marwolaeth annhymig a thros bawb sy’n gofalu amdanynt; i gyd-ddathlu ein ffydd gyffredin ar adeg anodd; i gynorthwyo ein cymdogion sydd mewn angen ac i fod yn gefn iddynt; ac i gadw at yr holl fesurau diogelwch a sefydlwyd i lesteirio lledaeniad y clwyf.


Ein Gweddi


Dduw cariadus, yn Iesu Grist, a fu farw ac a atgyfododd er ein hiachawdwriaeth, diddyma dywyllwch ein pryder, ein ofn a’n galar, cofleidia ni â’th gariad a rho i ni lawenydd a gobaith y Pasg hwn.


Amen.


Signed:


Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Very Rev Dr William Henry, Moderator General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Ireland

Rt. Revd Colin Sinclair, Moderator, General Assembly Church of Scotland

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh

Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, The Salvation Army

Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Archbishop-elect John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen

Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President, Methodist Church of Great Britain
His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain

Revd Lynn Green General Secretary Baptist Union of Great Britain

Bishop Mark Strange, Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church
Archbishop John Davies, Archbishop of Wales

His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Archbishop of London

Pastor Agu Irukwu, Redeemed Christian Church of God

Mr Rheinallt Thomas, President, Free Church Council Wales

Revd Hugh Osgood, Moderator, Free Church Federal Council

Revd Brian Anderson, President, Irish Council of Churches

Gavin Calver, CEO, Evangelical Alliance

Revd Sam McGuffin, President, Methodist Church in Ireland

Paul Parker, Religious Society of Friends

ENDS

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