We give thanks to God for His grace and love by which He enabled scientists, medical professionals, front line workers, leaders and ordinary people to progress in easing the COVID Regulations. More and more light is dawning on us as the regulations are easing, and we are grateful to God for this!
Mainland Scotland is now in Level 3 and with the regulations for churches easing, this means the following changes for us at SSCB, for which we are grateful to God:
- The cap of fifty people attending worship has been replaced by a maximum for each building based on maintaining the 2m physical distancing. This means a slight increase in available seating capacity at SSCB.
- Church Balconies and galleries can be used for seating (still 2m physical distancing unless sitting as a small family group).
- Informal hospitality (tea and coffee) after service is permitted. This is excellent news even though certain restrictions apply:
- People must remain seated and be served in their place – tables will be set out.
- Face coverings must always be worn unless exempt or consuming food or drink.
- There must be 2m physical distancing between people at different tables.
- The number of people at different tables must not exceed the current regulations, which at the time of writing is 6 people of 2 households.
- People (other than servers) must not move between tables.
- We will set up tables at the end of the service at the back of the church where we will have coffee and tea in line with the guidelines above. If weather permits it we will enjoy our cuppa outside.
- The cap on attending weddings and funerals in church is now 50 for all (maintaining 2m physical distancing), with the following conditions:
- Weddings: The maximum of 50 includes the couple, witnesses, photographer and guests. The officiating minister, church staff and/or volunteers facilitating the wedding are not included in that number 50.
- Baptisms: Baptismal services take place as part of worship. Baptismal parties are counted in the number of the congregation. Physical distancing and good hygiene practices must be observed in the act of Baptism. Only the parents and the baby may come forward, and one of the parents holds the baby, while the minister pours or sprinkles water on the baby’s head.
- Funerals: Again, a maximum of 50 at a funeral service in church, maintaining 2m physical distancing.
While there are considerable changes there are still many restrictions which have not yet changed, including:
- Face coverings must always be worn in the church building unless someone is exempt on medical grounds.
- 2m physical distancing must be maintained throughout the building.
- Singing is still not permitted at a service. If singing is a necessary part of the service one soloist may sing behind a shield, maintaining the 2m physical distance from others.
- Only certain musical instruments are permitted to be played.
- Good hygiene practices must be observed.
- Government regulations must always be followed.
- A temporary register of attendance for track and tracing purposes must be kept.
There is much we can be thankful for. We continue with our blended services on Sundays, in church and shared on Zoom. Despite some restrictions, being in church is becoming even more meaningful again and more like a church family sharing in worship and fellowship. So, we encourage you to return to church. We have been particularly careful to make and keep the place safe for everyone. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask, or contact the church office: email@example.com
The good news from the Scottish Government is that if the number of cases continues to fall, further changes and easing will follow. According to their planned timetable, all of Scotland will move through the levels on the following dates:
- 17 May to Level 2
- 7 June to Level 1
- June (late) to Level 0
Please continue to pray for the Government, scientists, medical professionals, front line workers and everyone that the much hoped for changes and easing will be fulfilled as planned.