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Tron Congregation Leaves Church Building

Following the dispute with the Church of Scotland over the denomination's stance on sexuality the congregation of St. George's Tron church are to leave their Buchanan St. building.
 


Ed preface: The following statement is in relation to a media headline 'Kirk under fir as court officers disrupt prayers' [The Herald].


Statement of 06/12/12

Tron Church4The congregation of St George's Tron will sadly leave its Buchanan Street building this Sunday (9th December) after the Church of Scotland moved to legally force it out of its Glasgow city centre home.

The departure follows a Glasgow Presbytery vote in October which decided to eject the existing 500 strong congregation following its decision to secede from the national church over its decision to accept ministers in same sex relationships. The Presbytery also voted to evict the Minister and his family from the church manse.

The General Trustees wrote to the leadership of the congregation within days of the Presbytery vote demanding a timetable for departure or else formal litigation action would be taken to recover the property. Rather than become embroiled in a costly and expensive legal battle the congregation decided to formally leave the church building early next year. They are planning a phased removal of the Church's many ministries from the building over a number of weeks, with Sunday services switching to the Bath Street Halls from Sunday evening 9th December ahead of the Christmas period, one of the busiest mission periods in the church's calendar.

However just days before the congregation was due to hold its final service in Buchanan Street Messengers At Arms on the instruction of the Church of Scotland stormed the church prayer meeting, where the minister was dragged out in front of 100 church members to be handed a Court citation demanding various items like the organ, and other church equipment be handed over to 121 George Street.

These gifts that were donated by individual members for their own congregational life had already been moved as part of the preparations for church life after moving out of Buchanan Street.

The Minister of the congregation Rev Dr William Philip said:

"Since the Church of Scotland's public decision denying the clear teaching of the Bible, as an orthodox Christian church, we sadly had no option but to break fellowship with it. We had hoped for a peaceful and amicable exit, like other denominations offer in similar circumstances, and we made numerous attempts to engage constructively so that all outstanding issues relating to the building and finance could be resolved. Regrettably all we have faced is contempt and hostility throughout every step of this process whether that be freezing our bank accounts so we can't use our own money, or launching civil court actions against individual members of the congregation.

"The Church of Scotland has chosen confrontation over compromise and persecution over peace. Our lawyers have told us that they have never in all their career come across such aggressive and unreasonable dealings in any dispute, and that whatever such behaviour is, it is anything but Christian. Hearing that I felt utterly ashamed for the Church of Scotland, and the many decent people in the pews who would be shocked at what is being done in their name.

Tron church interior"Forcing a congregation out of a building in which they sunk £2.6m of their own money is a huge social injustice, but to disrupt a prayer meeting in that way and demand the organ and other key items that were gifted to the congregation just weeks before Christmas truly beggars belief. Not content to evict us, it seems they are determined to publicly humiliate our leaders, and frighten our members, some of whom are vulnerable people.

"It is shameful. Having law officers disrupt a church meeting and intimidate a church is something we associate with China or former Soviet dictatorships but is the last thing we expected from the so-called national church. My family is now living in fear that the Manse will be stormed in the same way to force us out of our home onto the street before Christmas. It is horrible.

"We have sought to avoid going to the courts at every opportunity which is why we took the decision to vacate the building rather than fight for it, trusting God as we enter this new phase of ministry to which he has called us. But to do this we need resources like our hymn books, organ and bibles so we have been left with no other option but to contest this petty and ridiculous action.

"However, despite all this, we as a congregation are determined to be faithful to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and we take comfort in his words: 'Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'
(Matthew 5:11-12)."The congregation of St George's Tron will sadly leave its Buchanan Street building this Sunday (9th December) after the Church of Scotland moved to legally force it out of its Glasgow city centre home.

The departure follows a Glasgow Presbytery vote in October which decided to eject the existing 500 strong congregation following its decision to secede from the national church over its decision to accept ministers in same sex relationships. The Presbytery also voted to evict the Minister and his family from the church manse.

The General Trustees wrote to the leadership of the congregation within days of the Presbytery vote demanding a timetable for departure or else formal litigation action would be taken to recover the property. Rather than become embroiled in a costly and expensive legal battle the congregation decided to formally leave the church building early next year. They are planning a phased removal of the Church's many ministries from the building over a number of weeks, with Sunday services switching to the Bath Street Halls from Sunday evening 9th December ahead of the Christmas period, one of the busiest mission periods in the church's calendar.

However just days before the congregation was due to hold its final service in Buchanan Street Messengers At Arms on the instruction of the Church of Scotland stormed the church prayer meeting, where the minister was dragged out in front of 100 church members to be handed a Court citation demanding various items like the organ, and other church equipment be handed over to 121 George Street.

These gifts that were donated by individual members for their own congregational life had already been moved as part of the preparations for church life after moving out of Buchanan Street.

The Minister of the congregation Rev Dr William Philip said:

William Philip"Since the Church of Scotland's public decision denying the clear teaching of the Bible, as an orthodox Christian church, we sadly had no option but to break fellowship with it. We had hoped for a peaceful and amicable exit, like other denominations offer in similar circumstances, and we made numerous attempts to engage constructively so that all outstanding issues relating to the building and finance could be resolved. Regrettably all we have faced is contempt and hostility throughout every step of this process whether that be freezing our bank accounts so we can't use our own money, or launching civil court actions against individual members of the congregation.

"The Church of Scotland has chosen confrontation over compromise and persecution over peace. Our lawyers have told us that they have never in all their career come across such aggressive and unreasonable dealings in any dispute, and that whatever such behaviour is, it is anything but Christian. Hearing that I felt utterly ashamed for the Church of Scotland, and the many decent people in the pews who would be shocked at what is being done in their name.

"Forcing a congregation out of a building in which they sunk £2.6m of their own money is a huge social injustice, but to disrupt a prayer meeting in that way and demand the organ and other key items that were gifted to the congregation just weeks before Christmas truly beggars belief. Not content to evict us, it seems they are determined to publicly humiliate our leaders, and frighten our members, some of whom are vulnerable people.

"It is shameful. Having law officers disrupt a church meeting and intimidate a church is something we associate with China or former Soviet dictatorships but is the last thing we expected from the so-called national church. My family is now living in fear that the Manse will be stormed in the same way to force us out of our home onto the street before Christmas. It is horrible.

"We have sought to avoid going to the courts at every opportunity which is why we took the decision to vacate the building rather than fight for it, trusting God as we enter this new phase of ministry to which he has called us. But to do this we need resources like our hymn books, organ and bibles so we have been left with no other option but to contest this petty and ridiculous action.

"However, despite all this, we as a congregation are determined to be faithful to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and we take comfort in his words: 'Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'
(Matthew 5:11-12)."


Footnote: See also 'Tron Church quits the Church of Scotland' and sidebar for related articles

Tron Church, 08/12/2012

Feedback:
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william (Guest) 15/12/2012 17:40
'fatally flawed' will not mean that it has nothing to say to us, will it?
When Paul used the phrase 'the whole counsel of God' he was seeking to draw together all that had been revealed to the apostles [incl all OT]for the saints at Ephesus.
No one phrase of scripture will draw together all that God would teach us re the authority of His Word. Not even the above!
Editor - Could you suggest a better means of eliciting a reponse re secession explicitly from Scripture!!
william (Guest) 15/12/2012 17:56
John, I think we might agree, would we not, that in your opening para you are saying that Christ Himself builds His Church?
Thus, when we profess faith in Jesus Christ and are added to the Church of Jesus Christ, we become the most privileged people on this earth - forming the very body and Bride of Christ.
"Every denomination, so called, has its flaws." , And so has every church, that local manifestation of the body which we have joined!
The question still remains - where is the clear teaching from Scripture on a church seceeding?


John Miller 15/12/2012 23:35
William, I can only accept that following prayerful conxideration of their situation there was a unity of Spirit led purpose that caused the individuals who comprised that fellpwship of God's people to agree in an action that they believed was in accordance with the clear teaching of God's word. No one was compelled to do this and the fact that the C of S is intent on parachuting a minister and congregation into the building will be a test of the reality of the faith and resolve of the individuals.

There is no teaching in Scripture of the procedure to be followed by a fellowship seceeding as you describe it. If a situation arises where evil is unjudged those who seek to cleanse themselves from such error will find a righteous fellowship together in their action. That is what I believe is described in the second chapter of Paul's second letter to Timothy.

It is undeniable that despite the protestations of those who support the status quo, the C of S is refusing to judge the evil in its midst. In our local paper, the Dundee Courier am influential retired minister, the "Rev" John Cameron, openly advocated same sex marriage this week in a letter to the Editor. His position is entirely consistent with having homosexuals in the pulpit.

A congregation should be a fellowship of individual believers. It is clearly consistent with the teaching of scripture that a unity of thoughy and action would be the normal outcome of a prayerful desire to obey the word of God.
John Miller 15/12/2012 23:38
I aplogise for a few typing errors in the previous post which was made without the benefit of spectacles!
Editor 15/12/2012 23:48
William, it's all about terminology. You ask: "where is the clear teaching from Scripture on a church seceeding?"

Scripture doesn't speak about 'church/seceeding' because scripture doesn't speak about constitutional bodies departing from denominations. What it does talk about is believers seperating themselves from sin and deviant teaching.

For any biblically-based discussion relating to the question you raise, there needs to be an understanding that 'church' means simply a group of believers and that denominations are not supported by scripture. In fact this is the problem that Paul addresses in the 1 Cor.1:12
william (Guest) 16/12/2012 10:28
"What it does talk about is believers seperating themselves from sin and deviant teaching."
That is precisely the point at the heart of all of this.
It was open to the Tron believers to do that at any time. The CoS at the same time pointed that out, on their website.
The Tron chose not to do that. The Tron chose to officially secede and intimated that on their website, June 2011.
The rest is the tragic history which has still further depths to plumb.

John Miller 17/12/2012 11:10
William, with the utmost respect the recent events have come about because a body of Christian believers in fellowship with one another and the Lord came to the judgement that they could not go on with the unpreparedness of their denomination to judge evil according to the teaching of the word of God. Continued argument and discussion of the issues involved was not an option in the light of scripture.

If anything is tragic it is the refual of those who profess to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ and the primacy of God's word to act accordingly. There is no doubt that the iconic building at the centre of 121 George Street's legal action has been a place where God has graciously been pleased to demonstrate His blessing and where His presence has been known. However that Presence was not in the grand edifice or its furnishings. It was in the born again Christians who met there. What happens to the building now will seems to be in the hands of those who have triumphed in their reliance on legal action against these Christians.

Those who met there now meet elsewhere. They will be tested but if they continue to humbly and reverently serve God in obedience to His word He will richly bless them wherever they are found.

The group of people who wield the power in the C of S, or think they do, will have to answer to the Judge of all for their actions. Sheltering behind denominational tradition and the legality of title deeds etc., will not be a defence. The questions that they must answer is how have they treated the people of God and did they act in the spirit of Christ.

There is one certainty and it is that God will honour those who honour Him and disobedience to His word does not do this. The hierarchy of the denomination appears to be in the grip of an irreversible course away obedience to God's word. Some think that they can influence and change that from within. I do not believe that scripture teaches this course of action.
John Miller 17/12/2012 15:46
If we consider Paul's second missionary journey, particularly his experiences at Thessalonica and Berea we find an interesting comparison with events in present church history, especially in the west. A church was established in Thessalonica but Paul was forced to move on to Berea because of bitter religious opposition. Another church was established in Berea and here we are impressed with the need for all teaching and preaching to be solidly based on the word of God.

The Enemy, using his religious agents, ruthlessly pursued Paul and stirred up more opposition. In Thessalonica Paul's opponents used mob violence, political activism and the law. In Berea the tactic was to stir up the populace. To justify these attacks lies and the ditortion of truth were used attributing wrongdoing and evil motives to Paul and his ministry.

The circumstances and issues today may be different but the real test is Paul's ministry. It's authority is binding on the church of Jesus Christ.
Encouraged in the Lord (Guest) 29/12/2012 10:28
The chilling account of Ananias {the Lord is Gracious} and Sapphira {beautiful}, makes us face the fact that God deals with sin.
Especially church leadership lack of integrity in financial matters.
There are indeed two sides to every story and He alone sees the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Praise be to Him that we have "but to be still and watch the Lord fight for us."
Non Church member. (Guest) 08/01/2013 19:32
It does look as though battle , a spiritual one, is now joined.

Spiritual forces in high places are ranged against God and His unbroken word. God will surely show His hand at some point, sooner or later. Maybe powers have taken matters too far, too soon yet there is ever, in Christian teaching a route back to God. He reigns on High and in His Church despite views to the contrary.
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