church of scotland

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The Church of Scotland will launch a two-year investigation into the possibility of introducing online baptisms, Communion, and other Christian sacraments.

The church, known as The Kirk, has seen its rolls fall by almost one-third between 2004 and 2015, to just under 364,000 members.

Flag of Scotland, painted on barcode surface. Via Shutterstock, by Micha Klootwijk

For the first time on record, the number of Scots with no religion outstrips those who belong to the Church of Scotland.

Figures from the 2011 census released Monday show that 37 percent of Scottish people regard themselves as nonreligious, while 32 percent said they identified with the Church of Scotland, known as the Kirk. Some 16 percent said they were Roman Catholic.

Scotland has announced it will allow same-sex weddings as early as 2015, becoming the first country in the United Kingdom to do so.

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships," said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who made the announcement on July 25.

The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church were against the move, but gay-friendly Christian groups said they were "relieved" by the announcement.

Kymberly McNair 09-04-2009
The Poverty Initiative, based at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has a mission "to raise up generations of religious and community leaders dedicated to building a social movement to en