Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

Church of Scotland votes to allow gay ministers

Traditionalists threaten to leave as Scotland's national Church faces one of the most divisive issues since its formation in 1560.

Traditionalists threaten to leave as Scotland's national Church faces one of the most divisive issues since its formation in 1560.

The Church of Scotland's General Assembly narrowly voted in favour of temporarily lifting a ban on recruiting and ordaining gay and lesbian ministers.

A matter of contention within the Kirk for some time, on 23 May 2011 the General Assembly also agreed to establish a Commission to address theological issues around same-sex relationships. The Theological Commission is due to report in 2013 before a final decision on the issue is taken.

The controversy follows the appointment in 2009 of the Kirk's first openly gay minister, Reverend Scott Rennie. Traditionalist members of the Kirk failed to block Mr Rennie's appointment as the minister counted with the support of his own Aberdeen congregation.

A report on the implications of the Rennie affair said the Kirk was critically divided by the issue of ordaining gay and lesbian clergy.

With the Church of Scotland already suffering from falling numbers, the report warned that one in five members would leave in protest if the Kirk finally resolves to ordain gay ministers.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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