Tag Archives: clergy

“Change and decay in all around I see”



Article in “The National” newspaper
Religion is losing influence on Scottish life … except in education
SCOTLAND is losing its religion in just about all areas of public life, according to a new report.

When it comes to marriage and moral issues the church is no longer the powerhouse it once was, but in education faith organisations remain strong and influential.

Academics at Glasgow University have carried out an audit of religion in Scots law, poring over legislation to find out exactly what rights the country’s different churches and religious communities have in 2016.

Commissioned by the Humanist Society of Scotland, the purpose of the report was to make sure law- makers and the public were fully aware of the role and the power of religious groups.

Gordon MacRae from the society said the “increased public and political awareness of the changing role of religion and belief in Scottish public life” had prompted the commission.

Key findings include that church ministers receive a 50 per cent reduction in council tax; religious communities where people live, such as monasteries or nunneries, do not need to pay the minimum wage; and blasphemy is still a crime in Scotland, though there have been no prosecutions for well over a century.

Professor Callum Brown, one of the report’s authors, said religion’s place in Scots law was “by and large now being eroded by human rights legislation from Europe, Westminster and Holyrood”, but in education its influence could still be felt. The 11 members of the General Teaching Council of Scotland are required to include one member from Church of Scotland and one from the Roman Catholic Church.

The report said there may also be schools in Scotland that are, in effect, “quasi-denominational schools.” After a Catholic school is discontinued and its pupils are sent to another, non-denominational building, provision is made for those pupils to receive religious instruction four times a week from a Catholic Church representative and one hour a week of religious observance.

Currently in Scotland there are 366 Catholic schools, three Episcopalian schools and one Jewish school. The Humanist Society say that given Scotland’s history and institutions had been shaped by religion over centuries, the report was necessary as the country discusses “where it’s going”.

MacRae said: “Many people in Scotland will be surprised by the quirks highlighted in this report, such as church ministers getting a 50 per cent discount on council tax, religious communities being exempt from the requirement to pay a minimum wage, and the fact that Scotland never quite got around to repealing the blasphemy law. But for us the most significant theme is a weakening of the position of religion in Scots law in all areas, except education; where it has been significantly strengthened in recent years.”


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Thinking of buying this (at www.cafepress.co.uk)

Thinking of buying this



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May 7, 2014 · 11:28

Revelling in our Calling


The Cabinet Office has been looking at the relationship between different jobs and levels of life satisfaction, and publicans, it turns out, are in the unhappiest occupation of all. They are closely followed by brickies and debt collectors.

The happiest workers, the research suggests, are vicars and priests. Members of the clergy enjoy the most satisfying lives – but farmers and fitness instructors are pretty jolly too.

The government thinks people should have access to information on the relationship between the salary and the satisfaction associated with a career – part of the prime minister’s commitment to find policies that boost the wellbeing of the nation.

What emerges is that, while there is a link between earnings and life-satisfaction, some quite well-paid jobs are populated by those with low levels of wellbeing – and vice versa. For example, despite an average salary of almost £39,000 a year, quantity surveyors work in the 41st most miserable occupation out of 274 different categories

The average farmer earns £24,500, but they are a particularly chipper lot with the eighth highest life satisfaction of any job. In fact, the outdoor life does seem to be associated with greater personal wellbeing – managers in agriculture and horticulture are the third happiest and farm workers are in the top 25 too.

The people whose jobs are associated with the lowest life satisfaction include telesales workers, bar staff, rent collectors and leisure assistants.

Top five jobs

Chief executive/senior official
Agriculture/horticulture proprietor
Company secretary
Quality assurance

from a BBC website


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Some Jokes

A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one very hot day. They were sweating profusely by the time they came upon a small lake with a sandy beach. Since it was a secluded spot, they left all their clothes on a big log, ran down the beach to the lake and jumped in the water for a long, refreshing swim.

Refreshed, they were halfway back up the beach to the spot they’d left their clothes, when a group of ladies from town came along. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi covered his face while they ran for cover in the bushes.

After the ladies wandered on and the men got dressed again, the minister and the priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather than his privates.  The rabbi replied, “I don’t know about you, but in my congregation, it’s my face they would recognize.”

A minister woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf.

 So. . . he told the Assistant Minister that he was feeling sick and convinced him to preach for him that day.  As soon as the Associate left the room, the minister headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away.  This way he knew he wouldn’t accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish.  Setting up on the first tee, he was alone.  After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

  At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, “You’re not going to let him get away with this, are you?”  The Lord sighed, and said, “No, I guess not.”

Just then the Minister hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole.  It Was a 420 Yard HOLE IN ONE!  St. Peter was astonished.  He looked at the Lord and asked,

“Why did you let him do that?”  The Lord smiled and replied, “Who’s he going to tell?”

A minister, was anxious to get home to his family after several days absence. He was travelling just over the speed limit when he was pulled up by a police officer who was unimpressed by my father’s explanation. “A minister, eh? How would you like me to preach you a little sermon?” “Skip the sermon,” he replied with a sigh. “Just take up the collection.

A Somerset parish magazine tells how Methodist ministers from the Welsh valleys were distressing the older members of the chapel by the length of their sermons. On one occasion an elderly man asked the minister, “And what is the subject of your sermon this morning?”. “The milk of human kindness,” replied the minister. “Condensed, I hope,” said the parishioner.

THE new minister was touring the Parish, getting acquainted with his parishioners. At one house a feminine voice from inside asked, “Is that you, angel?”  The minister hesitated for a moment and then replied, “No, but I happen to be from the same department.”


A parish priest had a flair for the dramatic. He got the idea of having a pigeon released from the belfry on Pentecost just at the moment when, on the church steps in front of the procession of worshipers, he would say, “Come, Holy Spirit!”  Pentecost came, and the sacristan put a pigeon in a bag, went upstairs to the belfry and waited. When the priest pronounced the words, nothing happened.  A few seconds later, we heard a voice from the belfry, “It’s stifled!”

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Darth Vader

Darth Vader


Who’s the guy in the funny costume following us?

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June 28, 2013 · 19:37

Clergy at a Preaching Festival

Clergy at a Preaching Festival

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May 14, 2013 · 16:31