April 6, 2020

The subsequent statement and prayer, which follow, are supported by churches in membership of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, along with Churches Together in England, Cytun, ACTS and the Irish Council of Churches. The announcement is also followed by a further statement of support from the Scottish Church Leaders Forum, and prayer. Both statements and prayers are then provided in Gaelic.

Holy Week Statement

God’s world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. In the nations that make up Britain and Ireland the Covid-19 virus continues to affect people at an alarming rate, health services along with many of our institutions and organisations, both local and national, are under extreme pressure and people are getting used to living in a very different way, many in extreme isolation. As with all such crises, there is a danger that the most vulnerable in society will be most badly affected.

Christians the world over are entering an important time in the church year as we look to the events of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. At the centre of our common faith are both the depths of despair and the heights of joy. In the Bible and in the songs and liturgies of the Church, we see Jesus entering fully into human suffering. In His rising again, that suffering is redeemed and transformed into hope and joy. After Jesus’ death his disciples were afraid and all seemed lost and hopeless, but the risen Christ met them in their despair and restored hope through his victory over death. We pray that the world today might know this hope in place of despair.

In the Book of Daniel we read about God’s people being taken into exile in Babylon. Daniel could not pray in the Temple in Jerusalem, but he continued to pray in exile – opening his window to face Jerusalem. Though he was on his own he joined with the prayers of the people wherever they were. Now we too are separated from each other physically, but when we pray in our homes we join in with this ancient tradition of our home as a place of prayer. Wherever we are, whenever we pray, when we speak and think of Christ, there he is in the midst of us. We join our prayers with all those who pray in our own churches and communities and around the world.

As church leaders from across the many and varied churches of these Islands we urge all people to join us in prayer this Holy Week and Easter; to pray for those who suffer, those who face untimely death and all those who care for them; to celebrate our common faith at a difficult time; to help and support our neighbours in need; and to observe all the safeguards in place to slow the spread of disease.

Our Prayer

Loving God, in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation, cast out the darkness of our anxiety, fear and mourning, enfold us in your love and give us joy and hope this Easter. Amen.

Statement signed by:
Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church
Very Rev Dr William Henry, Moderator General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Ireland
Rt. Revd Colin Sinclair, Moderator General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh
Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, The Salvation Army
Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Archbishop-elect John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen
Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President Methodist Church of Great Britain
His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain
Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary Baptist Union of Great Britain
Archbishop John Davies, Archbishop of Wales
His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Archbishop of London
Pastor Agu Irukwu, Redeemed Christian Church of God
Mr Rheinallt Thomas, President Free Church Council Wales
Revd Hugh Osgood, Moderator Free Church Federal Council
Revd Brian Anderson, President Irish Council of Churches
Gavin Calver, CEO Evangelical Alliance
Revd Sam McGuffin, President Methodist Church in Ireland
Paul Parker, Religious Society of Friends

Scottish Church Leaders Forum statement

On behalf of the churches in Scotland, we welcome the Statement by the leaders of churches from across the nations of Britain and Ireland. Within Scotland, as elsewhere, we are faced with a series of unprecedented challenges that are impacting upon every aspect of the fabric of our society. In the threat to life and livelihood being experienced by so many at this time, we are conscious of the need to remain open to the life of God and to the life of the world. In the course of this Holy Week, we know that we shall hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The experience of being abandoned and forsaken is not absent from the life of God lived out in this world. Equally, we are conscious that our faith affirms that this experience does not mark the boundary of the love of God. As we journey through this week, through Good Friday and on to the day of Resurrection, we pray:

Lord of Creation,
Be with us on this journey towards the healing of your world and people.
hold us when we feel alone,
carry us when we lose our strength
and heal us when we are afraid.
Let people of faith speak today with a voice of love,
The love shown to us through the power of the Spirit
and in the love and sacrifice of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Signed by:

Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
Rt. Rev. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland

 

Brath na Seachdaine Naoimh bho Cheannardan Eaglaise ann am Breatann agus Èirinn

Tha saoghal Dhè ann an teas-meadhan èiginn gun ro-shampall. Ann am Breatann agus ann an Èirinn tha an bhìoras Covid-19 fhathast a’ bualadh air daoine aig reat eagalach, tha seirbheisean slàinte agus mòran instituidean agus buidhnean, an dà chuid aig ìre iondail agus nàiseanta, fo èiginn uabhasach. Feumaidh daoine fàs cleachdte ri bhith beò ann an dòigh gu tur eadar-dhealaichte, mòran dhaibh gu h-aonaranach. Mar a tha e ann an gach èiginn mar seo, tha cunnart ann gum bi na daoine as so-leònta a’ faighinn a’ bhuill as miosa.

Tha Crìosdaidhean air feadh an t-saoghail a’ tòiseachadh seachdain chudromach ann am bliadhna na h-eaglaise, agus sinn a’ cur romhainn bàs agus ais-èirigh Ìosa Chrìosd. Aig cridhe ar creidimh tha sinn a’ faicinn an dà chuid eu-dòchas tur agus aoibhneas ro mhòr. Anns a’ Bhìoball, agus ann an laoidhean agus liotuirgean aig na h-eaglaisean, bidh sinn a’ faicinn Ìosa, agus e a’ fulang gu buileach mar dhuine. Anns a ais-èirigh, tha am fulangas sin air a shaoradh, agus air a atharrach gu dòchas agus aoibhneas. As dèidh bàs Ìosa, bha eagal air a dheiscobail, agus nan sùilean bha a h-uile nì caillte agus gun dòchas, ach thàinig an Crìosd a bha air èirigh dhan ionnsaigh, agus thug e dhaibh dòchas ath-nuadhaichte tro a bhuaidh air a’ bhàs. ‘S e ar n-ùrnaigh gum faigh an saoghal an-diugh eòlas air an dòchas seo.

Ann an Leabhar Dhanieil, bidh sinn a’ leughadh mu dheidhinn poball Dhè air fògradh ann am Bàbilon. Cha b’ urrainn do Dhaniel ùrnaigh a dhèanamh anns an Teampall ann an Ierusalem, ach chum e air ag ùrnaigh agus e air fògradh – air da uinneagan a bhith fosgailte na sheòmar ri Ierusalem. Ged a bha e na aonar, dh’aonadh e ann an ùrnaigh ris na daoine eile a bha ri ùrnaigh, ge b’e an t-àite far an robh iad. Tha sinn a-nis air ar dealachadh bhon a chèile gu corporra, ach nuair a tha sinn a’ dèanamh ùrnaigh anns na taighean againn, tha sinn a’ leanntainn an tradaisean aosmhor seo, a’ cleachdadh na dachaighe mar àite-ùrnaigh. Ge b’e an t-àite anns a bheil sinn, nuair a tha sinn ag ùrnaigh, nuair a tha sinn a’ bruidhinn air Crìosd agus a’ smaoineachadh air Crìosd, tha e an sin nar measg. Tha sinn a’ cur ar n-ùrnaighean ri ùrnaighean nan naomh uile anns na h-eaglaisean againn fhèin agus ann an coimhearsnachdan air feadh an t-saoghail.

Mar cheannardan eaglaise bho iomadh eaglaisean eadar-dhealaichte anns na h-eileanan seo, tha sinn gur brosnachadh gu bith ag ùrnaigh còmhla rinn anns an t-Seachdain Naoimh seo agus air Latha na Càisge; gu bhith ag ùrnaigh airson nan uile a tha a’ fulang, airson nan uile a tha ann an uchd a’ bhàis, agus na tha a toirt an aire dhaibh; gu bhith a’ comharrachadh aoibhneas ar creidimh ann an uair na h-àmhghair; gu bhith a’ cuideachadh air coimhearsnaich ann am feum; agus gu bhith a’ toirt an aire air na riaghailtean a tha ann gus ar dìon uile.

Ar n-Ùrnaigh

A Dhè a’ ghràidh, tro ghràs Ìosa Chrìosd, a bhàsaich agus a dh’èirich a-rìthist chun ar saoraidh, tilg a-mach dorchadas ar n-iomagain, dorchadas ar n-eagail agus dorchadas ar bròin. Cuairtich sinn le do ghràdh, agus tabhair dhuinn aoibhneas agus dòchas aig Àm na Càisge. Amen.

Forum Ceannardan Eaglaisean na h-Alba
6mh dhen Ghiblean (Diluain na Seachdaine Naoimh)

As leth eaglaisean na h-Alba, tha sinn a’ toirt fàilte air a’ Bhràth le ceannardan eaglaisean ann am Breatann agus Èirinn. Ann an Alba, mar a tha e ann an àiteachan eile, tha dùbhlanan mu ar coinneamh a tha gun ro-shampall agus a tha a’ toirt buaidh air ar coimhnearsnaich ann an iomadh dòigh. Le bagairtean a’ tighinn air na beathannan agus na beòshlaintean aig iomadh duine aig an àm seo, tha sinn a’ cuimhneachadh gu bheil feum againn a bhith fosgailte do bheatha Dhè agus do bheatha an t-saoghail. Tron t-Seachdainn Naoimh seo, tha fhios againn gum bi sinn a’ cluinntinn faclan ar Tighearna Ìosa Chrìosd: Mo Dhia, mo Dhia, carson a thrèig thu mi? Cha robh Dia, anns a bheatha air an talamh seo, idir aineòlach air trèigsinneachd. Anns an aon dòigh, tha ar creideamh a’ dearbhadh nach eil crìoch gràdh Dhè ri lorg ann an trèigsinneachd. Aig toiseach na seachdaine seo, air Dihaoine na Ceusda agus air Latha na Càisge, tha sinn ag ùrnaigh:

A Thigheana a chruthaich a h-uile nì,
Bi maille rinn air an turas seo a dh’ionnsaigh slànachadh an t-saoghail agus slànachadh do phobaill.
Bi maille rinn nuair a tha sinn aonaranach.
Giùlain sinn nuair a tha sinn fann.
Slànaich sinn nuair a tha an t-eagal oirnn.
Gum biodh do shluagh a’ bruidhinn an-diugh le gràdh,
leis an gràdh ceudna a sheall thu dhuinn le cumhachd an Spioraid,
agus le gràdh agus ìobairt ar Fear-saoraidh Ìosa Chrìosd.
Amen.

Soidhnichte:

Am Fìor Urramach Marcus Strange, Primus as leth Colaiste nan Easbaigean, Eaglais Easbaigeach na h-Alba
An Ceart Urramach Cailean Mac na Ceardaich, Moderàtor Àrd-Sheanadh Eaglais na h-Alba
Am Fìor Urramach Leo Cushley, Àrd-Easbaig Chill Rìmhinn agus Dùn Èideann
An t-Urramach Iain Fulton, Moderàtor, Eaglais Shaor Aonaichte na h-Alba
An t-Urramach Daibhidh Pickering, Moderàtor, Eaglais Ath-Leasaichte Aonaichte  (Alba)
An t-Urramach Màrtainn Hodson, Àrd-Stiùiriche, Aonadh Baisteach na h-Alba
An t-Urramach Marcus Slaney, Cathraiche Roinn-Dùthcha, Eaglais nam Methodach (Alba)
An t-Urramach May-Kane Logan, Cathraiche, Caidreachas Co-thionalach ann an Alba
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Rùnaire na h-Alba, Feachd na Slàinte
Adwao Bittle, Comann nan Caraidean (Cuagairean)