Church Closure – Under Protest

The Scottish Government, because of the rampant spreading of the Coronavirus, brought out a law banning public worship from Tuesday 5th January 2021 until the end of March and in fact making it now a criminal offence to leave your home for the purpose of worshipping God. In doing this the Government has infringed the liberties of the church as an independent institution under the rule of Christ. As Andrew Melville stated to King James VI in the Sixteenth Century, “There are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James the head of this commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus the King of the church, whose subject James the sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member”. The Covenanter Struggles of the Seventeenth Century and the Disruption of the Nineteenth Century were about the independence of the church. If the Government had produced evidence of the virus spreading in churches and had asked the churches to close that would be acceptable. However by demanding that the churches close we believe they have overstepped their powers. The kirk session met and decided to close the church to normal public worship but only under protest.

Our minister has written to our MSP to protest at what had happened. The MSP had in answer to previous correspondence said there was no intention to close the churches in Scotland. Our minister has also signed a letter from Scottish church leaders addressed to Scotland’s First Minister stating among other things that “Christian worship is an essential public service, and especially vital to our nation in a time of crisis”, and also that “we strongly disagree with the decision to prevent the gathering of the Church at this time, which we believe is profoundly unhelpful and may be unlawful”. Also our minister is involved in the action of a group of ministers in Scotland who are supported by Christian Concern. This group has met with a view to seeking a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s action. Members of the Kirk Session indicated their support for the minister’s actions.

The Scottish Government do however allow church services to be broadcast from churches. A very small group of church members will be involved in this and it is hoped that the services will be broadcast as usual online and via the telephone.

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