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News – Free worship

January 2011

Free worship

The Free Church of Scotland has voted to allow hymns and instruments to accompany worship during services.

     At a groundbreaking plenary assembly in Edinburgh last November, commissioners of the church voted by 98 to 84 to allow the singing of hymns and musical accompaniment for the first time in 160 years.

     The church, which broke away from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1843, has previously confined itself to unaccompanied psalm singing during public worship.

     One supporter of the move, quoted by the BBC, said, ‘Many of us love to quote from hymns. I can speak a hymn, but if I ask you to sing, why is it unacceptable?’

     The move has caused controversy, with many people still believing that it is wrong to sing modern hymns in public worship.

     A report by the church board of trustees said the rules should stay the same, while the Rev. David Robertson, minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and one of the founders of Solas, the new centre for public Christianity, said that traditional psalms could still be sung despite the decision.

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