A CHURCH of Scotland minister has spoken out against the Church's

decision not to accept National Lottery funding.

The Rev James Duncan, minister of Blair Atholl and Struan Parish in

Perthshire, says he notes with a ''sense of amazement'' that the Church

in general, and the Board of Social Responsibility in particular, have

issued a dictum stating they will not be accepting monies from the

National Lottery Millennium Fund.

In a letter in the new issue of Life and Work, the Kirk's monthly

magazine, Mr Duncan, who is due to retire next year, points out that the

board, of which he is a member, is running at an accumulated loss of

about #2.4m.

He writes: ''Perhaps I am wrong but I have never known anyone to be

corrupted by either buying a lottery ticket or a raffle ticket.

''I am perfectly aware that there are many of my colleagues who allow

raffles to be held during sales of work or fetes. Bottle stalls are one

of the biggest attractions at these events.

''Do we ever ask our congregations where their money comes from that

they so generously put in the offering plate Sunday by Sunday?

''I think it was General Booth of the Salvation Army who once said,

'Let us use the Devil's money so that he can be spited and do God's


Mr Duncan said yesterday the Church was having to dig into its capital

reserves to help maintain homes for the elderly.

''There is a big gap between what we get from the local authorities

and the Government through the DSS towards the cost of our caring

services. Lottery money could certainly help with this and with capital


The board's convener, the Rev William Wallace, said last night: ''The

General Assemby has been against the idea of a national lottery for a

number of years. Last year, it re-affirmed its decision without anyone

speaking against that stance.

''The board at that time was asked to consider the position of

applying for money from the Millennium Fund. For some reason, Mr Duncan

was not at the meeting which considered the question but the board

decided the Church should not apply.

''Although there were six abstentions, no-one voted against and that

recommendation will go before the Assembly in May.''