Tuesday, 11 December 2012

St George's Tron Part 2

Sunday - an article on the Scottish edition of BBC News, focussing on the eviction of a congregation from their building in Glasgow. Yes, St George's Tron had hit the news. The Church of Scotland really does not need this kind of publicity at the moment. But not only were we told that the congregation were being evicted, but that the Minister was being evicted from his manse, and bailiffs had served notice on him. For those of us who know our church history, this brought to mind scenes from the Disruption of the Kirk in 1843. The media did not mention the fact that the congregation were leaving because they opposed the move to open the ministry of the Church of Scotland to gay clergy, which might have cast the Church of Scotland in a slightly less malevolent mold in the mind of the general public. But that was in a way, neither here nor there. 

The Church of Scotland had this one coming. Churches in general are stuck in a place where they cannot make gracious and magnanimous gestures, because they are ruled by committees, assemblies and courts. This state of affairs which limits the exercise of grace, is a far more serious and damaging thing, and far more erosive of the Church's reputation, than any of the high profile issues which dog the churches at the moment. Women Bishops, gay clergy; these are not the issues which ultimately will bring us down and reduce us to a whimpering impotent stump of toothless Christianity. What will do for us, if we let it, is our dereliction of duty in the face of our theological imperative to show unremitting, unhesitating grace in every situation of conflict and disagreement. A move by the Church of Scotland to allow a congregation showing substantial dissatisfaction with the Church and severe discontinuity with her evolving liberal theology to remain in their building would have been a coup d'etat of grace. It was never going to happen. This is church after all. 

1 comment:

Roger Pearse said...

I'm not sure that it is much of an excuse that the Kirk is tied up by committees. No-one is obliged to engage in such action, whether individually or as a group. The bad publicity is entirely deserved; and, in their greed, it will cost them dear. Stolen money never profits those who steal it. The Tron congregation gave millions to the church, after all. Their reward for being honest, principled, and generous, was to be dealt with in a manner that is quite shocking to read. The excuses shame those who make them.

Quite how the Kirk expects to seize a million pounds from a group of volunteers, whom it has itself denied the use of their own building, will be interesting to see. I shall enjoy reading about their attempts, their lust for court-cases, their lust for money, their lies about their victims, their squealing and denials and wriggling when their actions are brought before the public eye.

The real question is why the Kirk has a charitable registration. For an organisation willing to do all this is not serving the public benefit. On the contrary.