HRH The Princess Royal will address an audience of faith groups in the Scottish Parliament’s Debating Chamber on Tuesday 14 July, in her capacity as Patron of Scotland’s Churches Scheme. This is the first time the Scottish Parliament has hosted the Scotland ’s Churches Scheme Gathering.
The Scheme aims to raise awareness of the country’s spiritual heritage and encourage an ‘open-doors’ policy among churches. Also speaking at the annual Gathering will be Robin Blair, Chairman of Scotland’s Churches Scheme and Dr Brian Fraser, Director of Scotland’s Churches Scheme.
Chair of the event, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said, “Over the last ten years, the Scottish Parliament has enjoyed excellent relations with every denomination of church in Scotland as well as with the other faith groups represented in Scotland today. As a ‘son of the manse’ myself, this is a relationship that I have been keen to maintain since I became Presiding Officer. Certainly, the contribution of Scotland’s Churches Scheme in encouraging people to come to Scotland and visit these buildings is truly commendable, especially in the Year of Homecoming.”
Scotland’s Churches Scheme was established in 1994 and there are now 1200 members who operate an ‘open doors’ policy. The churches are spread across Scotland and cover all religious denominations. They contain a significant part of the nation’s heritage with the major proportion being ‘listed’ buildings. The Scheme also gives practical help to congregations on visitor welcome, security, promotion and interpretation as a means of telling their own building’s story.