Ministers September 2020 Message
As you know the Kirk Session decided to reopen our church for worship again on 9th August and since that time it has been good to worship alongside some familiar [albeit masked] faces in the sanctuary again. Worship is very different to what it used to be, as there is no singing of hymns and reciting the Lord’s Prayer aloud during the service. Despite this it is heart-warming to worship together and to have our organist, Peter, playing music for us whilst others are still joining us on the Zoom link from home. I live in hope, that the technology will eventually be mastered to everyone’s satisfaction!!
I am grateful to all those who made it possible for the Church to re-open, especially the reopening committee led by our Session Clerk, Derek Christie, and consisting of Douglas Carswell, Malcolm Pickard, Colin McAughtrie and Graham Vance. Special thanks must also go to our cleaner, Lesley Roberts, who thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the church before it reopened and who continues to follow infection prevention and control measures as she cleans the church premises each week.
At present the Church of Scotland guidance only allows church premises to open for worship and essential services like after school care and food banks. We are pleased that Clarkston After School Care is now up and running each day in our Session House. They are adhering to stringent infection control procedures and have employed a daily cleaner to clean and disinfect all surfaces with which their group comes into contact.
Until the Church of Scotland guidance changes, groups and organisations who were using church premises at the March lockdown, are not being permitted to meet. As I write, conversations are taking place nationally about how, and when, restrictions can be relaxed. There is a lot to consider and it is becoming clear that even when restrictions are lifted, we won’t simply be going back to the same church we had to retreat from in March. Some groups won’t return; others will need to find new members and volunteers and our church’s financial situation will need to improve, not just so we can get back to where we were, but so we can get back to where we need to be, if we are to move positively into the future. The direction our church will take, or need to take in future, will inevitably bring about changes beyond our control and we will also be faced with important decisions about changes to our Church buildings.
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for” These words were written by the prophet Jeremiah about 2600 years ago to Babylonian exiles to encourage them to make a fresh start in Babylon. Remarkably, they believed Jeremiah’s words and chose to make a fresh start and because of that decision the Judaism known today can be dated back to that time.
We find ourselves in times that could be likened to those of the Babylonian exiles, that is, in a place where we never expected to be. Yet we also find ourselves in a place where we are also being shown new innovative ways of worshipping and being the church in this 21st Century.
None of us know for certain what the future holds, but Jeremiah’s words encourage us to see God’s hope and promise in the place we now find ourselves. So may we be enabled, each in our different ways, to build together for the future God intends for Greenbank, open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and guided by the love of Jesus Christ,
May God hold you and keep you safe.
January 17, 2021
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December 15, 2020