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Church of Scotland
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Church of Scotland
World News

Kirk leader says secular Scotland ‘feels little need for God’

by Kelly Valencia

The new Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields has said he believes Scottish society “feels little need for God”.

Writing in the August edition of the Church of Scotland's in-house magazine, Life and Work, the Kirk said Scotland was “one of the most secular countries in Europe”.

“Christendom has gone,” Rev Greenshields said.

“What do I mean by that? There was a time when we believed we belonged to a Christian nation, living in a Christian UK and indeed Europe. That day has gone. We live in a secular culture and Scotland is one of the most secular countries in Europe!”

Rev Greenshields also drew attention to the dwindling congregations across the nation.   

According to the latest data from the General Assembly, Church of Scotland membership has fallen by more than a third in the past decade, with the average church member being 55 years old or older and middle-class.

“The Church of Scotland that at least nominally had over 27 percent of the country as members now only boasts 7 percent — and that is members when most churches are lucky if one third of that number have any serious commitment to the church,” Rev Greenshields continued.

The report said a 34 percent drop in membership was recorded between 2011 and 2021. The Church of Scotland has already put measures in place to try to reverse the trend.

He added: “The General Assembly brought to us the facts and figures, in terms of ministries and buildings, and we need to face up to a new reality — the road ahead is not going to be easy, it will call for hard work, innovation, faith and a renewed commitment to the gospel.”

Rev Greenshields, who served as a police officer, was installed as Kirk in May and will lead the Church of Scotland until 2023.

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