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UK News

Scottish church reported to police over alleged breach of Covid rules

An evangelical church in Scotland has been reported to the police over an alleged breaking of Covid-19 rules. 

Hope United Church in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, is said to have been broadcasting services online, in which congregants can be seen without facemasks and not adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

The church was reported by local MSP Clare Adamson, who said the images were "very concerning".

 "While the Hope Church are entitled to their own beliefs, they are not entitled to break the law," she told BBC Scotland.

"Any activity like this could be to the detriment of the whole community if Covid is reseeded. We are looking forward to a more normal time but this behaviour that could seed the virus in the community again is to be condemned."

She added: "To think that the rules don't apply to one church is really not very fair on everyone else."

Police Scotland said that "inquiries into the reports are ongoing" and that "officers are engaging with representatives of the church".

The videos of the services have since been taken down. 

On 6th March, the church's pastor Mark Ralston tweeted: "So we are not far away in Scotland and U.K, from Christians who have careers in police force arresting their brothers in Christ for preaching the gospel. Get your head around that one." 

On 11th March, he complained about the state of free speech in Scotland, tweeting: "Our very freedom is being ripped apart limb by limb in front of our very eyes. How much damage can one party do? Quite a lot when the opposition is equally as bad. "

Scotland has issued a blanket ban on public worship gatherings due to the risk of Covid-19. Churches are only permitted to open for the purpose of broadcasting services and conducting funerals, marriages and civil partnership ceremonies.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that places of worship will be permitted to reopen from 26th March with a limit of 50 people. The services will also be subject to social distancing. 

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