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Church and Society Enews June 2014

Speak Out! Church and Society Council
Church and Society at the General Assembly
The Church & Society Council has had a busy time over the General Assembly period, beginning with our input into Heart and Soul which was a huge success. With over 5000 people in attendance it was an excellent opportunity to engage with the public and church members in relation to our work – through our Imagining Scotland’s Future ‘photobooth’, the carbon footprint food game, Moderator’s Medal ‘who is my neighbour?’ hands and a giant map of the world for prayers for those experiencing violence.

We also held two successful and well-attended fringe events – a session on ‘Imagining Scotland’s Future and the Referendum’, chaired by Very Rev Dr Alan McDonald, and an event titled ‘No Room for Homelessness’ in collaboration with Scottish Churches Housing Action. Our report was presented to and received by the Assembly on Thursday, and included respectful dialogue around many areas of our work. Orders of the day took place for the presentation of the Stevenson Prize (which encourages excellence within the fields of Religious Observance and Religious Education), a joint report on the referendum, and a video message on the Churches Mutual Credit Union from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thank you to all who worked so hard in preparation for the Assembly – please continue to encourage those in your congregations and communities to engage with our work and reports through the enews and website, and do please get in touch with any queries or requests for resources.
Faith in Foodbanks?
The Joint Public Issues Team (an initiative of the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church) have just launched a new resource looking at foodbanks. ‘Faith in Foodbanks?’ explores issues raised by food poverty in the UK, and aims to help churches to make connections between the work of foodbanks and the life, worship and witness of local churches and fellowships. It contains a six part bible study, ideas for worship and information about the rise of foodbanks in the UK. ‘Faith in Foodbanks?’ can be downloaded free here.
Eco-Congregation Annual Gathering – Talk by John Ashton
The Eco-Congregation Scotland Annual Gathering took place in March this year, and included a highly thought-provoking presentation from John Ashton, one of the world’s top climate diplomats. John is now an independent commentator and adviser on the politics of climate change, and from 2006-12 he served as Special Representative for Climate Change to three successive UK Foreign Secretaries, spanning the current Coalition and the previous Labour Government. Attendees at the annual gathering were thrilled to welcome John, and hear his input as the key note speaker.
The talk can be viewed here.
Turning Up the Volume on Poverty: 21 June 2014
It is time to turn up the VOLUME on poverty. Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission is made up of some of our country’s senior leaders and people who experience poverty on a daily basis. Together we believe that whatever happens in the referendum this September we desperately need to address the issue of poverty in Scotland. We have to become a fairer, better and more equal Scotland. Over the last two years we have been working on what needs to change. On the 21 June, in Glasgow’s Woodside Halls, we will present our findings in music, drama, poetry, comedy, interview and film. The afternoon will be entertaining – the topic is anything but. It is time to turn up the VOLUME on poverty.

To book your free place at this event: click here; call 0141 248 2911; or e-mail
Summer School on Human Rights: Conference of European Churches
The first “Summer School on Human Rights – Theology and Human Rights” focusing on Freedom of Religion or Belief will take place from 15-18 September 2014 in Novi Sad, hosted by the Diocese of Backa of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The summer school offers churches and church-related organisations the opportunity to train their members who are working on human rights issues and namely on freedom of religion or belief.

The training will provide an opportunity for people working within the CEC Member churches to meet and exchange on the state of human rights and freedom of religion or belief in the present context. The participants will also benefit from interaction with prominent experts from the academia as well as from international institutions. Further information is available on the CEC website.
No Faith in Trident: Lobby of Parliament
12 noon – 6pm, Wednesday 11 June
Westminster, London

Bruce Kent’s recent national No Faith in Trident tour has helped raise public awareness of the UK’s Trident replacement plans. The Church of Scotland is supporting this campaign, the next step being a national lobby of parliament for people of all faiths and none who are opposed to Trident.

Make sure you are there and that your MP is lobbied on 11 June.

Three things to do:
•Put 11 June in your diary and make arrangements to be in London
•Contact your MP today via our website and arrange a meeting with them for 11 June
•Read the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s briefing to prepare for your meeting
The John Muir Way
Eco Congregation Scotland Environmental Chaplain, Trevor Jamison, is walking the newly opened John Muir Way this June to celebrate the life of the Scottish-born, American naturalist, author and environmental campaigner, John Muir. The 135 mile long route runs from Helensburgh on the River Clyde (from whence the young Muir departed with his family for America) to Dunbar (his birthplace). Trevor says, ‘by walking the John Muir Way I want to affirm that his concern for the environment is one that Christians share today. I also want to encourage Christians to find language about creation that both reflects our gratitude to God and also speaks effectively to others who, whilst sharing our concerns, are reluctant to identify themselves as church people.’

Trevor is walking between the 6 and 16 of June. If you wish to know more or be updated about his progress please contact him at

Christian Aid Events: June 2014
Cumbrae Challenge Sponsored Walk
Saturday 7 June, 10 – 4pm
Cumbrae Slip, Isle of Cumbrae
A beautiful 10 mile walk around the Isle of Cumbrae, in the West of Scotland.

Food and Fellowship Supporters Evening
Thursday 12 June, 7.30 – 9pm
St Ninian’s Cathedral, Methven Street, Perth PH1 5PP
Perth and District Christian Aid Group present an evening social event, with food from the Lent Cookbook, jointly published by the Scottish Episcopal Church and Christian Aid.

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories
Tuesday 24 June, 7 – 9pm
The Steeple church, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DG
An opportunity to hear stories from Christian Aid, the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal church about recent trips to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. With prayers for peace.

You can find details of these and future events on the Christian Aid website.
SCPO Referendum Hustings Guidance
Churches have been involved in arranging hustings during election campaigns for more than 40 years. These are usually held in the months and weeks leading up to polling day, and are an opportunity for candidates to present their ideas and answer questions from the public. This guidance note, produced by the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, is designed for people who are considering arranging such an event in the run up to the referendum.

The SRT Project Week of Prayer: 8-14 June 2014
The inaugural Society, Religion and Technology Project Week of Prayer is taking place from the 8-14 June 2014. One of the aims of the week of prayer is to encourage you to make the SRT Project a special focus of your prayers for this week – and also to give you a few pointers as to what you might like to pray for. Please join us in praying that the SRT Project might have a strong, positive and lasting influence on society in Scotland.
For further information visit the SRT website.

Stop the Traffik – Gift Box Training
More than Gold are looking for volunteers to staff the UN Gift Boxes during the Commonwealth Games. The large walk-in street sculptures invite you inside with promises and offers, but once inside you are presented with a different reality – and the opportunity to find out more and raise awareness of human trafficking. Further information, including details of training sessions, is availble on the More than Gold website.

Solas Festival: 20-22 June 2014, The Bield, Perth
Solas Festival aims to create a generous, hospitable space in Scotland where the arts can be performed and enjoyed by all.The programme also makes space for challenging debate with activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum. The Church of Scotland is linking up with Christian Aid and other Scottish churches to have a presence at the festival. Ticket information can be found on the Solas website.
Upcoming Events

How can we pay for sustainable food? 4 June, 9am-5pm, the Centre for Carbon Innovation at Edinburgh University. Jointly organised by Nourish and the Sustainable Food Trust, this conference looks at how we can assess the true cost of food and develop the policies we need to underpin a secure food future for all.
In Concert With the Cosmos ‘Celebrate the Wonders of the Universe!’ reflecting on the God question: are we the products of chance or intention? 7 June. Travel and schools subsidies are available – visit the SRT website for more details.
Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission – turn up the VOLUME on poverty 21 June, Woodside Halls. Findings of their last two years of work presented in music, drama, poetry, comedy, interview and film.
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