Minister’s June 2020 Message
June 15, 2020
Although the doors of our church remain closed to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus our church is still alive and active. While we are unable to gather together physically, we continue to gather virtually and remain in touch with one another by phone and email. Since the first Sunday of lockdown we have been worshipping together on Zoom services at 12 noon. At the beginning of March I had never heard of Zoom but it has proved to be such a blessing and allowed the worship and work of our church to continue.
Over the last few months, many have spoken about the value and accessibility of Zoom services and the positive opportunities Zoom has given for worship and connection during a period of isolation. So, I am delighted that we have been able to source funding that has enabled the installation of Wi-Fi and the equipment necessary to continue to share ‘virtual’ services on Sunday mornings. As lockdown measures begin to ease, and folks are getting out a bit more to have socially distanced visits with family and friends in gardens and parks, the Sunday zoom services are moving to 10.30am from 21st June. Until health risks lessen, the 10.30am timing will also make it possible for everyone to worship together, both physically and virtually, when the church building reopens.
Improved zoom/streaming facilities have also been installed in the Cowley and Fraser halls and this will make virtual meetings possible for groups of all ages. It is hoped that this will enhance wellbeing and provide opportunities for people of all ages to build and sustain relationships with others.
We still await instructions from the Scottish government and the Church of Scotland on when church buildings will reopen for worship. When Phase 3 of easing restrictions is announced, places of worship will be allowed to open for extended groups, subject to physical distancing and hygiene safeguards. Whilst the dates of moving into different phases are communicated by the Scottish Government, there is no expectation that all Church of Scotland buildings will open at the same time and Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions will have to consider carefully how this can be done safely. Our church office and/or your elder will be in touch to let you know the date when our church will reopen.
In the absence of a General Assembly this year, the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland published a report referring to the many lessons that should be learned from the ways in which church life has developed during the pandemic and about the necessity of leaving behind old practices whilst fully developing the best of the new things that are bubbling up in every part of the Church. The events of the last few months are forcing the national church to determine what must be done to build the kind of Church needed for the future. The General Trustees report is one that makes the vision that we have been working towards for the last few years, ‘To leave a legacy of a sustainable worshipping congregation for future generations’ even more relevant and urgent.
No one knows what the future will bring about for the national church or for Greenbank. However, as has been His way for over 2000 years, Jesus still calls His followers to a mission that is always moving forward to discover new and inspiring ways of worshipping and drawing others into the hope of God’s life and love. As the prophet Jeremiah says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (29:11).
Although changes are afoot, the church is still alive and active, and whether we worship online from our homes or within church buildings, may we all find it within us to ask God for his help and strength to face the future with hope, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you and keep you safe and well.
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