Weekly Update - 16th July
Dear sisters and brothers
The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to “not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing”. I’m not entirely sure what it was that was causing some of his readers to be less committed in meeting together as a church (they may well have faced persecution for doing so) but for us it has not been a choice. You may have heard in the press that churches may be able to meet together again soon, so I thought I should give a quick update on our own situation.
With regards to the Woodhill Court and Stocket Grange situations we will not, of course, meet for worship until we are invited back into the buildings and we are completely sure that it is safe to do so. The congregation that meets in the Community Centre will also need to wait until those in charge of the Centre are ready for us to come back in and we will need to have everything in place to make sure that people are safe. There will almost certainly be social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future, as well as other restrictions both on the use of the building (for example, having a ‘one way system) and the conduct of worship (for example, restrictions on singing). This means that, even when we are allowed to come back together it may well be with restricted numbers and our services may have to be in a very different format. For that reason the Kirk Session will not be quick to move from what we are currently doing online and in other ways to meet, worship and stay connected. The situation is changing all the time, of course, and so we will keep it under constant review.
However, when the writer to the Hebrews wrote those words it was not simply for the reason of being together. Meeting together, the writer says, enables us to “encourage one another”, “spur one another on towards love and good deeds”, “hold on to the hope we profess”, and even to “draw near to God”. These are all things we can continue to do and, in the words of the writer, we should give consideration to how we can do them. As the lockdown begins to ease it will become easier to be distracted from the task of encouraging and caring for one another; even while, for some, the easing of lockdown presents new and difficult challenges in which they need more support, not less. So perhaps it is time to re-double our efforts at staying in touch and encouraging one another. Perhaps this week we should pick up the phone more, not less. Perhaps we could take advantage of the easing and invite someone for a walk or a coffee. Perhaps some of us could take the initiative of gathering a few church folk (within the rules of course) for prayer or to watch one of the services. Perhaps we simply need to make sure that we are tuning in to the services or taking part in the Bible studies, prayer meetings and drop ins online if we can (and remembering to include those who can’t).
From the 17th July Sarah and I will be on holiday for a week and so there will not be a church mailing next week I’m afraid. For that reason I have included the notices sheet and worship material for the next two Sundays. If you have any need for assistance at all or need to speak to someone from the church, please feel free to contact one of the elders.
May you continue to know God’s peace and blessing. With love from us both.
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929