WATCH: Archbishop's Thought for the Day

Archbishop Leo Cushley gave the Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Scotland this morning  (Thursday 9 June). Watch below or on our YouTube channel. Transcript bottom..


Although bumping elbows is also fairly common these days, in my line of work, I get to shake hands with lots of people. Recently, one of the handshakes wasn’t just a nice thing to do, it was also pretty historic.

The handshake in question was with this year’s Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr Iain Greenshields, and it was in the light of a declaration of friendship that had just been approved between the Catholic Church here and the Church of Scotland.  Is that a big deal? Well, I’d say it is.

Most of us know something of the history between Catholics and Protestants in this country. It contains some dark pages, and there’s much for us to regret.  But over the last few decades something new has happened: we have been learning to pray together; our people and our parishes now work in various way together, through food banks, action on homelessness, credit unions and more.

And, while sifting through our theological differences, and praying together, and helping others, we have also stumbled into something perhaps a little unexpected: many of us have become friends.

And, given our shared history, that isn’t nothing.

So, the declaration – now called the St Margaret Declaration in you want to google it - celebrates this friendship. It also recalls what we have in common as Christians – which, when you start writing it down, turns out to be more than you might think.

Now, smarter people than me have been working sincerely and well over the last forty years to resolve the issues that divide us.  They’re not insignificant and they’ll need time to understand and patience to resolve.  But what brings us together is still something worth celebrating and building on.

Do I expect the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland to be perfectly aligned? Well, maybe not before teatime…  But, by acknowledging together all that we hold in common, we can walk and pray together as friends and be a more authentic Christian witness in the land. The rest will come in God’s good time.

Read the St Margaret Declaration here.

Pray for Ukraine

Pope Francis has asked us to make it a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine and other places of conflict (such as Yemen, Syria and Ethiopia).
At 6pm, Archbishop Leo leads a service for peace at Our Lady of Pochaev and St Andrews Ukrainian Catholic Church. All welcome.

Join the weekly call to prayer at 7pm

Tonight (Sunday 07 June) Christians across Scotland will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement and prayer for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is signed by leaders from 14 Scottish churches and Christian organisations, including Archbishop Cushley.

It reads:  "As our society continues in the journey out of Lockdown, there are many things that we know only in part. We trust that greater clarity will be given in times to come."

Let us pray

God whose name is Love,
You make yourself known to us
As the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sustain us in the knowledge of your love through the times in which we live.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
May we hear the words of your Son
That echo down the ages:
I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is generous,
You gift to us your Holy Spirit,
The very giver of Life.
Renew our lives and the life of the community in which we share.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is steadfast,
You know us as we are for you have made us.
In your compassion, be with all who struggle and grieve at this time.
Remember them and hold them safe in your keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is from everlasting to everlasting,
Give strength to the weary and power to the weak,
That we might renew our strength
And soar on wings like eagles.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love inspires
May we love you with all that we are
And love our neighbour in response to your love.
Through our service of others, may your love be revealed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rev. Jim Ritchie, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Pray for life on Feast of the Holy Innocents

Archbishop Leo Cushley will celebrate Mass for the Feast of the Holy Innocents at 12 noon on Saturday 28th December.

It takes place at St Margaret’s Chapel at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh. Refreshments will be served after.

Paul Atkin, of the Pro-life office of the Archdiocese, said: “The Innocents Mass is a great opportunity to celebrate life from the moment of conception and to pray for unborn children and their mothers who need our support.

"It's almost two years since we set up the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office and there are now pro-life representatives in over 40 parishes.

"Hundreds of parishioners are now involved in pro-life in activity across the Archdiocese and the community has gone from strength to strength.

"The Innocents Mass is a time when we come together to pray for our work and enjoy some social activity together afterwards. I’m looking forward to it and all are welcome.“