Open doors

Returning to Sunday Worship

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Pastoral Letter

The Church and Coronavirus

It scarcely seems possible that four months have passed since lockdown, in some ways it feels like a much longer time, yet it was at the end of March that the government announced that we should, “Stay Home, Save Lives”. Even now, with lockdown easing, the world we inhabited it before the end of March seems a very different place from the world we inhabit now. And in this new world, amongst all the things we miss, socialising with family and friends, popping out to the shops, going about our daily lives as we have become used to them, we miss going to church. We miss gathering together in our lovely sanctuary, singing hymns to God in the company of our friends, praising and praying and hearing God’s word face-to-face with one another. When lockdown was first announced I think many of us naïvely imagined that we would stay home for twelve weeks and then the virus would be contained, and life could go back to normal. Instead, we find that life will take a very long time to go back to normal, if indeed it ever does.

In this situation, opening the church building for worship is a task fraught with difficulty. To give you some idea of the issues inherent in the process, there are listed below a number of requirements which we will need to meet before we can consider opening, as well as a list of things which we cannot expect to happen if and when we get back together. If the list seems long and daunting it may explain why the Kirk Session have been so reluctant to rush back to opening the building.

We cannot open until

We will need

In addition

We also need to be aware that we will not be able to

Without singing, with physical distancing, and, almost certainly, reduced numbers able to attend at any one time, services will feel very different from what we are used to. Many of us, who would love to return to worshipping in the church building, really want to return to worship as we knew it, but the sad truth is that worship as we knew it is gone, if not forever, then at least for quite a long time to come. Hopefully, this has given some indication of the difficulties involved in reopening the church building for worship. However, it is not all doom and gloom. We have a small group of eight people who will consider all these issues and look for ways to deal with the problems in order that we can once more be open for worship in our building. Please pray for wisdom and guidance for this group that the suggestion and proposals it comes up with are not only going to keep us safe but will also not be beyond us in terms of our ability to meet the necessary criteria.

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And pray also that God will use us in this time to be a church without walls, reaching out to our community in new and different ways, and when we return to our building, to take many of the lessons we have learnt in this time to enrich our life, our worship, and our fellowship for years to come.

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