CRAIG Williams’ excellent article on the closure and disposal of the St Andrew’s Church of Scotland in Gibraltar ("Rock of ages as Gibraltar Kirk is sold after 168 years of worship", The Herald, April 20) showed how misguided the Mission Plan of the Assembly Trustees is proving to be, and the damage it is causing to the reputation of our National Church. It is increasingly clear to me that a small group of evangelicals in the Church’s administration is seeking to take over the Church, and to destroy anything worthwhile about it.

The Church which this group is taking over was created after the Reformation of 1560. The Reformers rejected the idea of central control (from which they had escaped and created Presbyterianism, with the individual congregation as the basic element). This concept was formalised by the Scottish Parliament in 1690, and became a key element in the Act of Union in 1707.

When the unified Church of Scotland was reassembled in 1929, Presbyterianism was kept intact, enshrined in United Kingdom legislation. This is a system in which the individual congregations, their property and their ministries are the Church. The Church of 1929 is a "broad church", with considerable freedom of belief. It is this Church, which needs support rather than reform, which is being attacked by the Mission Plan.

There is not room here for detailed criticism of the plan and its implementation. Suffice it to say that the plan is a very narrow-minded one for a broad church. A key part of the plan is the closure of hundreds of parish churches, the sale of these and other Church properties, and the reduction of the number of ministers. These moves are intended to free resources to introduce new forms of worship, and other doubtfully-achievable aspirations, and ultimately to "make new disciples for Jesus".

In all of this there is not the slightest recognition of the damage these intentions are already doing to the National Church, its members and many of its minsters. Accordingly I beg you print the following, for the attention of the Assembly Trustees, on behalf of all those who are concerned about the future of their Church: Hands off the Church of Scotland. It’s our Church; not yours. If you don’t like it, don’t destroy it; leave it to the people to whom it belongs.

If you do not want these churches and their ministries, and don’t see spiritual rather than monetary value in them, I suggest you leave the National Church, as decent people have done in the past, and leave the National Church to those who love God and each other. Believe what you want, but don’t seek to impose your beliefs on others. Give the Church back to the people who understand and value it.

If you do not do the decent thing, ending the monetisation of church buildings, you will be remembered, both individually and collectively, not only for wrecking the National Church but as cruel, thoughtless people.

John R Hume, Glasgow.

Standing charge is a rip-off

I RECENTLY received a letter from my electricity supplier, E.on, notifying that my Government Energy Bills Support Scheme had ended, and advising what I should expect to pay in the future. There was also an increase in electricity charges which I could accept, thanks to Putin.

What really shocked me was how the cost for standing charges had risen. Having thrown out older bills, my earliest on file was August-November, 2020: 21p per day. Not long before that, I recall it being 17ppd. Now it’s a whopping 68ppd before you even put the kettle on.

I queried this with an E.on operative, who said the standing charge was not imposed by them, but by the grid supplier (I think SP Energy Networks), and when I asked how it justified its charges, he clearly fumbled for an answer. “I think it depends on the infrastructure... how far the power has to come to your home to deliver the electricity ... maintenance..." and more.

I informed him we had a grid station within the grounds of our building, and that I could putt to it. This feels like a cynical charge by suppliers at whose mercy we are. I cannot believe that delivery/maintenance costs have quadrupled in four years, and feel we’re being ripped off.

Lesley Mackiggan, Glasgow.

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Cycling plan fails first test I WAS interested to learn that another Green idea is to encourage more people to cycle ("Cycling Scotland: 'Revolution' promised with new Scot Gov strategy", heraldscotland, April 26). As a very mature ebike cyclist I think this is a good idea in principle.

Having travelled nearly 7,000 miles on our roads in an effort to keep fit, I spend more time avoiding the potholes. In Stirling we have a designated cycle path, some of which is two-way and still isn't finished and rarely do you see a cyclist using it.

Patrick Harvie should get on his bike and see the effects of underinvestment in our roads.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

Read more: All forms of bullying are despicable and should never be condoned

How to miss TV ad pain

MY personal TV bugbear is poorly synchronised subtitles, which I rely on to compensate for mumbled speech and hard to make out accents. However I sympathise with William Loneskie's frustration at repeated TV advertising (Letters, April 25).

May I suggest he invests in a personal video recorder as a simple solution to escaping adverts completely? Mine has a button which, pressed twice, skips to the next part of the programme. It also enables recording two other channels while simultaneously watching a third. As a consequence, I remain blissfully ignorant of the latest products and fads. However I had better not mention the brand for fear of offending Mr Loneskie's aversion to advertising.

David Bruce, Troon.

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Messages from your motor

I LIKE David Hay’s response (Letters, April 26) to the directive that “self-drive cars must ‘think human’” (The Herald, April 25), and I endorse his suggestion of a wee box of pre-recorded swear words activated on detection of a bike.

For the young family man travelling alone a timely “I need the toilet”, and “Are we nearly there yet?” would ease the boredom, and in the absence of one’s significant other, "It’s that way”, “Slow down”, or “I don’t like that language” would keep us on our toes.

I accept that the significant others mentioned will also have their own contributions for the wee box.

R Russell Smith, Largs.