Various Items 

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

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