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Christianity

Scottish Inter Faith Council logoInformation on these pages has been used with permission from Scottish Inter Faith Council.

Local information

The University has two Chapels, one of which, St Salvator's Chapel, is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday and all are welcome to enter and use for prayer and meditation.  If a worship service is occurring please come and join in.  St Leonard's Chapel is not normally open, but is used weekly for a service of Compline.   

Local contact information

The local contact information below has been compiled by the Chaplaincy at the University of St Andrews.

Please see for details of worship in the Chapels, which includes details on University Preachers.

Please see the Chaplaincy webpages for local churches.

Also see St Andrews University Christian Societies.

Contacts

Catholic Church

The Very Rev Mgr Henry Docherty
General Secretary
Bishops Conference of Scotland
64 Aitken Street
Airdrie
ML6 6LT

Church of Scotland

The Principal Clerk
121 George Street
Edinburgh
EH2 4YN 

Scottish Episcopal Church

Secretary General
General Synod Office
21 Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh
EH12 5EE

Introduction to Christianity

Christianity was founded in what is today modern day Israel and Palestine around 2000 years ago. It  is based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, known as Christ. This means 'the anointed one', and Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God. Christians see themselves as following in the way of Jesus who revealed the forgiving love of God for all people and God's concern for human beings.

Basic beliefs

At the centre of Christian belief is Jesus, who is regarded as the revelation of God. For many Christians this revelation is such that he is understood to be the very incarnation of God. In Jesus, Christians come to know something of the nature of God who is seen as loving and forgiving.  Jesus is regarded as the one who has transformed human nature so that it need no longer follow its sinful inclinations but rather lead a life of love and service. Their experience of God in Jesus has led them to see God as a community of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, called the Trinity. Christians believe that the world was created by God and will be brought to its fulfilment at the end of time. In the mean time they believe in the  presence and support of God's spirit among all. 

The Christian holy book is called the Bible and is in two parts.  The first equates roughly to the Jewish Bible has been called the Old Testament. The second is the New Testament which contains the Gospels (records of Jesus' life and his teachings), the Acts of the Apostles, the writings of St Paul and some other works.

Customs and practice

Individuals are admitted into the Christian Church through baptism which can take place in childhood or adulthood. The central ritual of much Christian worship is Holy Communion or Eucharist which is a sharing of bread and wine in memory of Jesus' last supper with his disciples. This action unites Christians in a symbolic or sacramental way with the death and resurrection of Jesus and one another. It can also act as a recommitment to follow in the path set out by Jesus' life and example.  Private prayer and meditation is important to Christians in their daily life.

Places of worship

The Christian holy day takes place on a Sunday when congregations gather in churches to worship and celebrate Holy Communion. In the Catholic tradition this takes place weekly and even daily while in some Protestant churches it takes place on a monthly basis or even annually.

Main festivals

Important dates in the Christian Calendar include Christmas, the celebration  of Jesus' birth (25 December),  and  the central Christian feast of Easter that commemorates the death (on Good Friday) and resurrection (on Easter Sunday) of Jesus. The exact dates for Easter vary from year to year but are usually around the end of March or beginning of April. The forty days before Easter are known as Lent and  it  is  common for many Christians to make some form of self-sacrifice during this time, such as  fasting or going without something for this period. It is also a time for increased prayer and helping others.  Pentecost, which celebrates the coming of God's Spirit, and is thought of as the birth of the Church, is also an important festival.

Food and diet

In Christianity, all is seen as a gift of God. This means that no food is seen as unclean but everything is to be enjoyed in moderation and gratitude. Fasting on particular days and at particular times of the year is also common.

Concerns of the community

Christians are concerned about working for the values of God's kingdom on Earth: justice, peace and  reconciliation.  They  are concerned for justice for all people and so are involved with justice, peace and development issues. Working together with others for the common good of the nation and the world is important for them.

You can get more information about religious movements from Inform, a charity based in London.

Contact

The Chaplaincy Centre

Mansefield
3A St Mary's Place
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9UY
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 (46)2866 or (46)2492

Related links

External links