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‘Christianity has to do with love’

WHAT are we to do and say? In these times of great challenges caused by the diminishing role of religion in Scottish society, and the continuing fall in membership and attendances of a Church with an increasing age profile, thoughts turn to ‘mission’ in the hope of regeneration. But how do we express the Gospel now in our changing society? Sometimes the task seems so complex and daunting that a stasis results.

Are there important inspirations to be drawn from the recent past which might help us? A new book seeks to re-discover and retrieve for the present day the dynamic models of mission that were exercised in Scotland in a recent time of revival and growth for the Church, during the two decades after World War II. It argues that what was achieved then to powerful effect, as well as the failures of those times, provide valuable lessons for us now. Whilst we cannot simply repeat what was done before the huge social changes of the Sixties began the ‘secularisation’ of our society, we might be more fully aware of our recent history, in order to shape what Christian mission could mean in today’s Scotland.

The book focuses principally on the work of Tom Allan, alongside his contemporaries: the parish mission of George MacLeod and the Iona Community; the incarnational action living amongst the urban poor of the Gorbals Group Ministry led by Geoff Shaw; and the ecumenical drive of Ian Fraser and Scottish Churches House. From their work, common themes can be identified which might inspire us: of mission beginning in the world as the work of ordinary people, grounded in their language and focused on Christianity being ‘contextual’; in other words, ‘made real’ for their lives and the rhythms of their communities.

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About Life and Work

In this month's issue: A LIVING CHURCH - Why reform is needed in the Church of Scotland SCOTLAND’S REFORMATION - St Andrews and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation NEW CHARGE DEVELOPMENTS - Where are they now?

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Other Articles in this Issue

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In the first of a three-part series, the Very Rev Dr John Chalmers explains why the Church of Scotland needs to reform to meet the challenges of secularism.
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Ron Ferguson explains why bargaining with God will not work.
The Very Rev Albert Bogle explains why it is important to deal with the results of the ‘cultural tsunami’ that has engulfed the landscape of the Church.
The Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning reflects on the gifts of Harvest.
Jackie Macadam learns about the life of author and charity worker Katharine Liston.
Ian Bradley describes how the UK’s only ‘City of Reformation’ will be marking Reformation Day on October 31.
Back in the early days of the millennium the Church of Scotland established the concept of ‘New Charge Development’ churches. Thomas Baldwin considers their journey – and successes.
Lynne McNeil reports on Christian Aid’s harvest message.
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