Lewis Presbytery disassociate from Church submission on religious observance in schools

St Columba's Church in Stornoway is part of the Church of Scotland.
St Columba's Church in Stornoway is part of the Church of Scotland.

The Presbytery of Lewis, Church of Scotland, met for an urgent meeting yesterday (Thursday) to discuss 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.

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.

In a statement they said: “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.”