Church of Scotland committed to post referendum reconciliation

The Church of Scotland has outlined its readiness to assist with process of reconciliation, whatever the outcome of September’s independence referendum.

The Church of Scotland has outlined its readiness to assist with process of reconciliation, whatever the outcome of September’s independence referendum.

The Church, whose governing body the Kirk is meeting this week in Edinburgh, was responding to a message sent to it by the Queen on the first day of the gathering on Sunday.

Alluding to the divisions being caused by the independence debate, Her Majesty called on the Church to bring people together from across Scotland whatever the outcome.

In a message read out to members of the Kirk, she said:

“In this important year of referendum, we pray that whatever the outcome, people of faith and people of good will, will work together for the social good of Scotland. We recognise too the important role the Church can play in holding the people of Scotland together, in healing division and safeguarding the interests of the most vulnerable.”

Expressing its thanks for the letter, the Church of Scotland has formally responded, outlining its commitment to reconciliation. Its response continued:

“Whatever the outcome, we anticipate that there will afterwards be much work for the Church to do in helping people to address the consequences of the referendum and to be reconciled with each other.”

The Kirk will today debate the question of Scottish independence. Whilst the Church itself is committed to a position of neutrality in the debate, its members have evertheless concluded that it is important for the Church to reflect on issues dominating public life.

The shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander MP will speak in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK, with the Reverend Dr Doug Gay of Glasgow University speaking in favour of a Yes vote for independence.

Alison Elliot, a former moderator of the Church’s General Assembly, will discuss the questions facing undecided voters whilst professional mediator John Sturrock QC will also speak before the discussion is opened to contributions from the floor.

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