John Gibson: Clap hands, here comes Charlie!

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Hell and damnation. We’re turning away from religion. In droves. Well, hardly in droves but one in four say they have no belief.

But clap hands, here comes Charlie! I find the Rev Charlie Robertson, one of ‘’the team’’ at St Cuthbert’s at the West End, typically upbeat.

“I don’t find the research all that robust. If we are to believe the researchers, this still means that three-quarters of society still have a belief, even if it’s only residual.

“I’m always upbeat. Characteristically I dare to add. Chirpy as ever? If you say so,’’ pipes up the former minister of the Canongate Kirk, above, who subsequently was locum minister at St Cuthbert’s.

“I still find the demand for parish funerals high, even from people unattached to any church. I’ve just had a very busy weekend . . . a funeral, a wedding, a baptism. All is not lost, I can assure you.’’

Charlie further chirrups: “I’m full of belief, fun as well as happy.”

The survey of more than 400,000 people by the Office for National Statistics found that adults between 25 and 34 were the group most likely to have turned away from faith. The finding reflected the long-term decline in church attendance.

So thank God for folk like Charlie Robertson. He is an onward Christian soldier. Praise the Lord.

Afterwords . .

... strictly for the birdsong with Trudie Styler, 57, actress and film producer, better known to most as “Mrs Sting”: “On Sunday evening, even if it’s getting dark, Sting and I will go for another long meander. We’ll talk and listen to the evening birdsong and watch the stars coming out.”

It’s not all that bad a life, really, for the Stings.