The coronavirus pandemic hit us all suddenly, deeply and for such a long time. We realise that COVID-19 will not go away completely and in the last 18 months or so we have gradually learned how to live with it. This does not mean we accept it, but that we have adapted our lifestyle to protect ourselves and others from infection.
As part of nation-wide measures protecting our church family and the wider community we closed our church doors during lockdowns, and we are prepared to do so again if necessary. However, as restrictions have eased and the vaccination programme has progressed, we are delighted that our doors are open and we can welcome people in person to the church for prayer and worship.
As Scotland moved beyond Level 0 we have seen how people are making most of the opportunity to meet up with family, go out with friends to restaurants, spend time together outdoors and even support their sports team in person in a stadium. It is good to see ‘normality’ returning.
At Kirk Session, we discussed the implications of being beyond Level 0 and the possible further easing of restrictions at the end of August. We are grateful that technology was such a great help to keep us connected and enable us to share in worship. With more safe space available in church, we now approach the time when we can end our zoom services and encourage our church family to return to church.
The church, by definition, is the people whom God called out, gathered, and assembled as His people. So we want to encourage you to return to church. We very much long to see everybody back to worship, sing, share, and laugh together. Last weekend I watched the Match of the Day programme and saw thousands of football fans returning to the stadiums cheering on their teams, singing together and (at least those whose teams won) having fun. They were no longer satisfied watching the games online or on TV; they wanted to be back to feel the atmosphere, to sing the chants, to be part of it, even if that is more expensive than watching on TV! I pray we have the same longing and desire to be back together sharing in our experience of Jesus, His love – sensing and feeling the Holy Spirit moving among us.
The measures we retain in place ensure that our church building is a safe place for all of us to meet and to enjoy fellowship with each other.
On Sunday 5 September we will stop the zoom sharing of our services. It will be our Back to Church Sunday, if you like. It will be a significant Sunday with, we pray and hope, our praise band resuming their music and worship ministry. It will be the induction service of our new Youth Pastor, Kenny McCartney. We encourage you and invite you to come back to church to celebrate and worship together.
“Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”” (Isaiah 2:3)
[from GV, minister, & Timothy Pitt, session clerk]