A story of evil-doing by the Church of Scotland officials came to my attention this week. It has been kept quiet by the establishment, who are really responsible. The Scottish Herald reports:
LEADERS of the Church of Scotland have been accused of heavy-handed tactics after law officers disrupted a prayer meeting to demand the return of bibles, hymn books and an organ.
The serving of a writ was the latest move in an increasingly bitter wrangle between Kirk leaders and the congregation of one of Scotland’s best-known churches, St George’s Tron in Glasgow.
The congregation has been threatened with eviction from the premises after it split from the Kirk in opposition to the ordination of gay ministers.As the Kirk intensified its efforts to reclaim property, more than 100 church members were left stunned when Messengers-at-Arms arrived to serve legal papers demanding the return of a number of key items.
The church minister, Rev Dr William Philip, described the arrival of the law officers as frightening and humiliating. He said: “To disrupt a prayer meeting in that way and demand the organ and other key items that were gifted to the congregation, just weeks before Christmas, truly beggars belief.
“Not content to evict us, it seems they are determined to publicly humiliate our leaders and frighten our members, some of whom are vulnerable people.
“It is shameful. Having law officers disrupt a church meeting and intimidate a church is something we associate with China or former Soviet dictatorships but is the last thing we expected from the so-called national Church.
“We have sought to avoid going to the courts at every opportunity which is why we took the decision to vacate the building rather than fight for it, trusting God as we enter this new phase of ministry to which he has called us. But to do this we need resources like our hymn books, organ and bibles, so we have been left with no other option but to contest this petty and ridiculous action.”
The incident comes after The Herald revealed the congregation and minister clashed with the Church of Scotland over ownership of church buildings when it quit the main body of the Kirk over its stance on allowing gay ministers.
Mr Philip added: “My family is now living in fear that the manse will be stormed in the same way to force us out of our home on to the street before Christmas. It is horrible.”
My first reaction was to wonder what all this was about. The Christian Institute has more details. Apparently the Church of Scotland, at the bidding of the non-Christian world, intends to ordain gays as ministers, albeit with much hand-wringing and delays. We all know that unnatural vice is one of many evils prohibited in scripture, and this is probably why the world demands that the church submit and endorse it. This is what persecution looks like, after all – some minor issue is used as an excuse to persecute for non-conformance.
St. George’s Tron is a large church in that denomination. Rightly supposing that the processes can have only one end, they have rightly decided that they cannot in conscience remain part of that organisation.
The response has been vicious. The Church of Scotland officials have, as I understand it:
demanded that the congregation either surrender or vacate the building (which they recently spent 2.5 million pounds — around $4m dollars — to put in order);
demanded that the congregation also pay them 1 million pounds (around $1.5m) to repay a loan, made by the denomination to its congregation to refurbish a building which the denomination claims to own;
demanded that the congregation also hand over the minister’s house, or manse, which the congregation purchased for its minister, thereby rendering him and his family homeless;
demanded that the congregation also hand over its bibles, hymn books, etc.
All this seems to be pure spite, of course, and to intimidate the many congregations that might do the same. The Church of Scotland has many empty buildings, so it has no need for the St Georges Tron building. It proposes to install a “new congregation”; but of course this is just a fake group, with an eye to probable court cases, for if the Church of Scotland could create viable congregations by fiat, it wouldn’t have buildings standing empty. Likewise it is pretty cheeky to demand that a bunch of people kicked out pay for a building that they don’t own; this demand is designed to load the congregation with a debt, hopefully causing it to disband.
St George’s Tron chose to leave their building rather than litigate. The Church of Scotland apparently is determined to force them into the courts, by means of the demand for money.
What I would like to know, however, is the effect on giving in the Church of Scotland. For who on earth would donate a penny to it, if so doing can be repaid so vilely? Why refurbish your parish church? It isn’t yours, and may be taken from you at a moment’s notice. Why pay for clergy housing? Why buy hymn books? And so on.
I thought that the days of this kind of religious viciousness were over. It is sad to see them return.