Archbishop Leo Cushley joined the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton at Scotland's facility for women in custody on Friday.

The visit to HMP & YOI Stirling gave the church leaders the opportunity to see the prison chaplaincy service, which offers spiritual and pastoral support to those in custody of all faiths and none.

Rev Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “Church of Scotland representatives serve as chaplains in prisons across the country, providing pastoral and spiritual care for the whole of the prison population.

"Jesus said ‘I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me'.

“Chaplains form a strong link between the communities inside and outside, supporting families and caring for those most in need, helping them to discover purpose and meaning and develop the resources to live a fulfilled life.”

Archbishop Cushley said: “Chaplains play an important role in prisons across Scotland in helping with the wellbeing and spiritual direction of prisoners.

“Sally and I were keen to visit HMI & YOI Stirling and we are impressed with the facilities provided and the steps taken to ensure the care of women in custody.”

'Happier futures'

Paula Arnold, Governor of HMP & YOI Stirling, said: “We value our partnerships with the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland, and the important role that chaplains play in supporting people on their personal journey in custody.

“Relationships, including those based on religion and faith, are key to supporting the wellbeing of our women and helping them towards happier and healthier futures.”

In 2022, the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland formally signed an historic declaration of friendship known as the St Margaret Declaration.

It describes the Churches' shared beliefs, ‘rooted in the Apostles, Christ's first disciples,' and acknowledges a common heritage as Christians in Scotland.

Churches around the world are currently marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  an event that takes place over eight days between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.