Speak Out

Children are Unbeatable


 An address to a Seminar at the Scottish Parliament

November 3rd 2016

I am glad to have this opportunity to speak at this seminar and to announce that the Church of Scotland is in support of the campaign to afford children equal protection in law and that we have today joined the Children are Unbeatable Alliance, Scotland Campaign, joining the name of the Church of Scotland to the long list of organisations that have already joined.

It is, of course recognised under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that the physical punishment of children is a violation of their rights... Read more

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Reflections on a referendum


Conference of European Churches

Budapest – 12 October 2016


Speech by Richard Frazer

It would be all too easy to come to this event and use a good Scots expression – “It wisnae me”

The expression means that, “whatever went wrong, blame someone else, it wasn’t my fault”. It is the excuse of Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. Adam was accused of eating the fruit of the tree and blamed his wife and she blamed the serpent.

The United Kingdom is leaving the EU and it would be all too easy for me to stand here and tell you that we in Scotland did not vote for this... Read more

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O Little Town of Bethlehem


Over thirty years ago my mother came on a trip to the Holy Land. She came not that long after the death of my father. I suspect, like many pilgrims, she came seeking solace and answers. She found it a difficult experience: the noisiness of the holy sites unnerved her and the arguments between the different parts of the Church over who should have ownership of different religious sites disturbed her. She spoke to me at times of how her faith needed to recover from her trip rather than being deepened by it.

Over these last few days, I have wondered what my Mum would have made of the Holy Land today... Read more

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Strong Women and Broken Hearts

Over these last two days, I have met many remarkable women. I want to tell you about three of them. Isn’t it remarkable that whilst men are so often the creators of violence, women are the custodians of hope?

Mira coordinates the work of the Palestine YWCA. She talks powerfully of the work that the ‘Y’ is doing to empower women, to support families. Like so many that we meet she is not optimistic that peace is coming to this troubled land any time soon. She laments the current lack of leadership but lays out a compelling long-term vision for change – one which is based on building future leaders amongst Palestinian women... Read more

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The Nightmare of Exile (Reflections form Israel)

DSC_0244You can read about Adam Achmed’s haunting journey from Darfur to Israel in ‘The Nightmare of Exile.’ (Order it from your local bookshop.) But to hear it from his own mouth, looking into his eyes is an entirely different experience.

Adam’ story, and that of Teklit, who arrived in Israel from Eritrea in 2007 but is still stateless, dominated the day. It’s my third day in Israel and Palestine. It is a day that begins in the Galilee and ends in Jerusalem. Two thousand years ago Jesus travelled from Bethlehem (just outside Jerusalem) to the Galilee as an escaping refugee from ruthless tyranny... Read more

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I met Jesus yesterday

Martin Johnston, Secretary of the Church & Society Council, is currently in Israel on a visit organised by the World Mission Council. Here is his reflection on his first day.

I met Jesus yesterday

If there is one thing that has consistently struck me during these first days spent in Israel – this troubled, complex and beautiful land – is that the God who walked the dusty paths 2,000 years ago remains very present today. However, just as then, he chooses the most unlikely places to turn up in.

Don’t get me wrong. It has been special to watch small fishing boats on Lake Galilee; to stand at the seashore and think of the resurrection breakfast; to hear the words of the Beatitudes (‘Blessed are the …..’) inside the church that commemorates the Sermon on the Mount; to travel through Nazareth and Cana... Read more

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This must never happen again – Martin Johnstone

When you stand in a graveyard where thousands of men and boys who were brutally murdered are buried, your heart almost breaks with sadness and your head bursts with the sense of deep despair.


This must never happen again.

In September, I was part of a small delegation from Scotland visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina at the invitation of Remembering Srebrenica led by Lorna Hood, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly and Chair of Scottish Board.

As well as spending time in Sarajevo – which just twenty years ago was described as ‘the largest concentration camp in the world’ – the principle purpose of our visit was to spend time in Srebrenica... Read more

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Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

None of us like to be in debt, and of course we are all still feeling the consequences of the huge debts which wercoins-1191114-me racked up by our banks in the global banking crisis.

However, developed countries such as the UK have the financial clout to be able to respond to these kinds of shocks to the system. What about the more vulnerable countries, many of whom also suffered as part of the global banking crisis? And what of those who are carrying burdens of debts which go back much further than the global crisis, often due to mis- rule by dictators who squandered vast portions of their nations resources in order to buy military equipment (usually from the UK or the US….)?.. Read more

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Ice Bucket Challenge

So, have you been nominated yet?

Last night I accepted my fate, duly donned my shorts and, towel-ready, I got drenched! Granted, I did not go gently into that good night and shrieked like an out of tune diva, but I did it. And I’m in good company. My husband Stuart did it too was much more stoic but he was just showing off! Here in Dunblane, I’ve joined a couple of our young people (go Dan and Murdo!) several of our Kirk Session and even our Session Clerk (although I’ve yet to see the evidence!)

The Moderator and his wife have done it, the First Minister and Alastair Darling have done it- and so have millions of others around the world... Read more

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The Commonwealth Games – striving together

swimmers-79592_150And so the 20th Commonwealth Games are upon us….! After much anticipation and preparation, Glasgow 2014 is under way, and we’re now privileged to see some of the most talented athletes on the planet competing in our country.

For those involved in various ways in these Games, there will no doubt be mixed emotions. There has been a real sense of vibrancy and goodwill around much of the preparation- I read somewhere that the Games have helped the UK media coverage of Scotland to move beyond discussions about deep fried mars bars to some of the real issues which face our nation... Read more

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