Meeting others to worship is a lifeline

Feb 10, 2021 by

by Dr William Philip, The Critic:

Criminalising corporate worship is both damaging and dangerous for Scotland.

A group of Clergy taking government to court might seem a surprisingly ‘un-Christian’ thing to do, when closing churches is to ‘save lives’. In fact, the reason we have commenced action against Scottish Minsters is born of profound Christian love for our nation. We all recognise the challenges facing the government. But we believe that, however well-intentioned, criminalising corporate worship is both damaging and dangerous for Scotland.

First, what this is not about. We are not denying the terrible effects of Covid 19. As a former hospital physician, I fully appreciate the effects of this disease, and all the petitioners have acted personally and corporately to mitigate the spread of the virus. Nor is it about ‘our club’ wanting special privileges. Rather, it is because government has failed to recognise Church as an essential ‘service’ which cannot be shut down without great harm, especially at a time of national crisis.

We must care for people as whole human beings, and Covid 19 is not the only threat to health and wellbeing. Our congregation of 500 in the heart of Glasgow is diverse in age and background, including some of the most vulnerable in the city. I have witnessed first-hand real suffering through lockdown, not least a huge increase in loneliness, misery and untold damage to mental health. I have witnessed people, through not seeking care in order to ‘save the NHS’, develop life-threatening conditions. Most tragically, I witnessed the death of a former drug addict, many years clean but relapsed through isolation and despair.

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