Scotland has become ‘secular society’ says church moderator

Church of Scotland moderator, the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, says he believes Scottish society “feels little need for God”.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:24 am
Rev Iain Greenshields
Rev Iain Greenshields

The moderator, writing in his church’s in-house magazine ‘Life and Work’, said Scotland – home of iconic 16th century Protestant reformer John Knox – is now one of Europe’s most secular countries.

Rev Greenshields adds: “There was a time when we believed we belonged to a Christian nation, living in a Christian UK and Europe. That day has gone. We live in a secular culture in Scotland.”

Dr Greenshields drew attention to dwindling congregations across the nation.

According to church data, Church of Scotland membership fell by a third in the past decade, with an average church member being 55 years and middle-class.

“The Church of Scotland that at least nominally had over 27% of the country as active members now [has] under 10%,” the moderator relates.

Historically, the Scottish Kirk, dating back to the Ulster Plantation, has been known as the ‘Mother Church’ of Irish Presbyterianism.

A Kirk report confirmed a 34% drop in membership between 2011 and 2021, but the church has put meaningful measures in a bid to reverse the trend.

“We need to face up to a new reality – the road ahead will not be easy, it will need hard work, innovation, faith and renewed gospel commitment,” the moderator adds.