Monday, 24 May 2010

Church and Society Report

Rev. Ian Galloway presented an overview of the work of the council during the past year. He illustrated his address by presenting specific activities that represent the council’s remit. This remit is to present the voice of the church within civic society, as well as within the Scottish Parliament and the Parliament in Westminster. That voice however can only be authentic if it is reflected and rooted in a living Christian community.

Rev. Galloway spoke of the involvement of the council together with the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office during the recently passed General Election and noted the development of informational materials for churches on how to conduct hustings.

The convener then addressed the commitment of the council to address ethical issues within the market economy. To this effect, the council was engaged in a series of conferences where academics and experts in economics and finance examined the causes for the current financial situation and presented options for ethical investment to be considered by men and women of faith.

Rev. Galloway then made reference to the work of the Society, Religion and Technology Project, which presented to the General Assembly a report on very recent scientific developments in the field of Synthetic Biology. The Church of Scotland is therefore the first church addressing such a complex and controversial issue from a Christian perspective.

The work in support of awareness for climate change issues and leading towards a review of progress on the implementation of the deliverance passed on the 2009 General Assembly regarding the reduction of church building’s carbon footprint was addressed. It was clear that the work of the council did not just involve developing awareness of climate change issues but also involved political activity through the council’s involvement in Parliamentary debates and the participation in support of climate change marches and debates.

Political involvement and activism were also expressed in the council’s involvement in the anti-nuclear movement through an ecumenically driven campaign involving postcards and the signing of a joint petition against Trident by a number of religious leaders. Direct political involvement was evident through the council’s participation in debate against the Assisted Suicide Bill in Scotland.

Finally, the Convener spoke of the work of the council in working with organisations that facilitate making the voices of the poor in Scotland known and heard. The Convener specifically mentioned the work of the Truth and Poverty Commission, where individuals that fight poverty and its discriminatory effects were given the opportunity to tell their stories directly to decision makers and parliamentarians. The work of the churches in priority areas was also highlighted.

The report was illustrated by the presentation of three videos which are also available in the Church and Society Youtube page.

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