URC challenges call to reopen places of worship in Scotland

Edinburgh city credit Robert V Ruggiero UnsplashIt is clear that the new variant of the virus has caused a rapid and alarming increase in coronavirus infections.

The United Reformed Church (URC) National Synod of Scotland is sad to learn that some church leaders are threatening legal action if the Scottish government does not reverse its decision to close places of worship during the current phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It profoundly disagrees with this action, believing not only that the Scottish government is acting legally, but that it also is the duty of all Christians to act in ways which limit the spread of the virus. This view is shared by all of the Moderators of the URC’s 13 Synods.

The closure of places of worship is also a longer term commitment to the wellbeing of the communities which our churches serve.

The Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of the URC National Synod of Scotland, said: “Public worship is not being threatened by the government’s action; and while being physically separated is a hard thing to experience, worship and fellowship are being maintained online, often involving more people than were attending worship prior to the pandemic.”

Throughout this pandemic, the Scottish government has sought to involve faith communities in its decision-making processes, listening to their concerns and responding to them.

Although Christians (and people of all faiths) deeply miss the opportunity to meet together for worship and fellowship, our first priority in this moment is to bear witness to the Gospel by “seeking the welfare of the city …” (Jeremiah 29:7) and by ”rendering to Caesar” the respect and honour due (Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13:7).

Image: Robert V Ruggiero/Unsplash
Published: 21 January 2021

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