I FEEL a bit like Cassandra in the old Frankie Howard comedies where he was a Roman slave and Cassandra used to breeze in shouting “We’re all doomed” or something similar.

It seemed funny then, but when I read that the our National Church is selling yet more churches and its numbers have fallen from 1.3 million members in the 1950s to a current 270,300, there is nothing to laugh at ("Assembly asks Kirk members to be bolder", The Herald, May 23).

Why has it happened to the Scot’s Kirk?

Because, after the last referendum when Scotland narrowly voted for the present state of Union my Church decided to go with the old folks' fear of change and ignore the rising tide of younger members and non-members living in Scotland.

Ministers preached "reconciliation” instead of “struggle”. It went down well with the older members still in thrall to Mr Churchill and memories of Empire.

I wrote to my minister then, saying “reconciliation” was not a option. This referendum result had been achieved by the unionist media’s Project Fear that had scared the aged into voting against change.

Had the Scottish Church preached the benefits of self-government, if it had led the way to independence then, stood against the unionist newspapers and the biased BBC and found a way of becoming a necessary part of an independent Scotland it would have found a purpose and a role.

I have been waiting for my Church to lead the way to Scottish independence in the way John Knox led them in the past. It hasn’t happened. Instead, the older members are dying off and the Church of Scotland has no message for the young except “accept your lot”. There are no Church of Scotland for Independence group meetings, no Moderator’s speeches about the unfairness of Scotland being held in slavery by an aged piece of paper that was signed by men, bribed by English promises of land and money.

It is not too late. I’m old, but I would bring my Saltire and join a Church of Scotland Demo for Independence.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

• I WAS encouraged to read that the Kirk has been urged, by the Convenor of the Assembly Trustees, to be “bold, take risks and 'imagine' an exciting future for the Kirk”.

He stresses that we must dream “bold dreams and have the energy and encouragement to experiment ... moving forward in positive ways tackling serious issues of the day … breaking out of our constrained systems to do so”.

He recognises how “difficult it is to lead a Church into a new space if it has been built on the way things have aye been, or where the prevailing voice is ‘it'll never work', or simply ‘no'”.

I agree that above all the membership must have “the spiritual imagination to look at things differently”. Too often its future has been considered in terms of institutional reshuffling rather than in spiritual terms.

I agree that “the Church must return to the age of the Reformation” as long as we remember that the Reformation was first and foremost theological. I suggest that we now need a whole new theology which the world outwith our walls can understand. It needs to be expressed in understandable language, taking on board what God through science has revealed to us about the cosmos and humanity’s place in it. Can we expect a 21st century world to listen to a world view expressed in 1st century terms?

John Milne, Uddingston.

Read more: General Assembly urged to 'take risks and imagine new future for Kirk'

Ferrier still has my support

I HAVE to write in support of Margaret Ferrier ("By-election looms as MP Ferrier loses appeal against suspension", The Herald, May 23). She made a bad mistake in carrying on with her duties after receiving a positive test for Covid. She was wrong but I don't regard her as a criminal as the recent Labour leaflet circulating pronounces. If I were thinking of voting Labour this leaflet would put me off.

I am not an SNP member but a CND one. Margaret Ferrier gave her maiden speech on the danger that Trident poses for the people of Scotland. How many other MPs would do that? Yet here we are in an even more precarious position due to the war in Ukraine.

To brand someone a criminal for being human is not right. Don’t we all break the rules? There were until recently signs in hospitals and health centres saying masks should be worn ... did people adhere? No they did not.

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Margaret Ferrier have been castigated in recent days, cancelling out all the good work of the past. Both are women who I hope will be strong enough to withstand the abuse they are receiving from every quarter.

Susan Martin, Rutherglen.

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• AS a constituent of Margaret Ferrier perhaps I am in a better position than most to comment on her value as an MP. I have contacted her on a few occasions regarding various matters and she has always looked into my concerns and responded promptly and respectfully whether she agreed or not, interestingly in contrast to Patrick Harvie, who replied in an extremely patronising manner to one of my concerns, ill-befitting a public servant.

I won’t be looking for a by-election to take place even though Ms Ferrier clearly made a mistake.

Michael Watson, Rutherglen.

Sturgeon was akin to Campbell

I SALUTE your correspondent Brian Harvey (Letters, May 23) for his coruscating attack on Alistair Campbell and “New Labour's ethos and culture of political spin. An approach to politics which believes those in power can endlessly fool and deceive people”.

Do these same words not apply to Mr Campbell’s friend, until recently at the apex of Scottish politics and who shared many a selfie with Tony Blair’s guru of spin?

I shocked my friend Sir Humphrey (not his real name) by my praise of her exceptional communication and presentational skills. What really made his eyes pop out, though, was my declaration that this lady could give even Tony Blair a masterclass in these arts.

But Tony Blair, for all my past criticism, has authentic achievements to his credit, notably the Northern Ireland peace process. Our recent First Minister was certainly a more reassuring presence during the Covid crisis than Boris Johnson (there’s glory for you). But beyond that, what?

Thomas McLaughlin, Glasgow.

Read more: SNP MP calls for former colleague to stand down

SNP following the Quebec path

THE SNP has announced that it will hold an "independence conference" on June 24 ("SNP deputy leader defends party’s June date for independence convention", The Herald, May 23).

The (totally unnecessary) Minister for Independence said on the BBC’s Sunday Show that "no option was off the table". He went on, in SNP speak, to talk of a commitment "to take Scotland forward" and that the SNP would lay out exactly how "in due course".’ It was meaningless waffle and has been said a thousand times before.

One must wonder how long they can keep their troops quiet with this kind of talk, which is a slight variant on the "one fine day" theme they have given for decades. Though the polls suggest the pro-break-up-the-UK minority has been pretty steady, there has been a decided drop in the popularity of the SNP.

We have, I am now certain, a Scottish Quebec on our hands, as every move the Canadian separatists made before their eventual and virtual extinction has been replicated by the SNP.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Bring locals into ferries review

YOU report that Calmac’s continuing involvement in operating the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services is, unsurprisingly, under review ("Future for Scots ferry network contracts in balance", The Herald, May 23). What is a little surprising are the amounts spent already without result, and that this latest review appears to have been awarded to two organisations, one in far-away London and the other over in the east in Edinburgh. No doubt they are each well respected in their respective fields of expertise, but neither has any immediately obvious connection with ferries, the Clyde or the Hebrides. Is there no equivalent expertise here in the west with, importantly, an established understanding also of these particular ferry services and their problems?

Whoever is tasked with this review, to give it maximum credibility I hope they will include, at least as advisors, representatives from the affected island communities who can articulate the essential needs of those communities, and ferry captains experienced in the difficulties which can be encountered in sailing these waters in all weathers.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.