I’m happy to be able to report that, at Tuesday’s church meeting on Zoom, it was agreed that we will be reopening the church building for Sunday services on the 13th of September 2020. I’m really looking forward to gathering with you again for worship for the first time since March, when we suspended gathered worship following guidance from Baptist Union of Scotland and, soon afterwards, the Scottish Government.
We want to make our return as safe as possible, given the circumstances, and so we’ll be closely following the recommendations and guidelines published by the Scottish Government and the BUS. This will include measures like:
• placing chairs 2m apart in the church hall
• limiting the numbers of people at any one service
• keeping our faces covered while in the building
• washing our hands on the way in and out of the building
• track-and-trace for those who attend
• deep cleaning the church before and after services
• and several other measures to prevent spread of the virus.
None of these things are new to us by now — it’s the same in shops and supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. And while they’re in place to keep us safe, I know it’s going to make church feel different. It’ll take a bit of getting used to — but whatever accommodations we have to make, it’s going to be better for all of us to be together rather than apart.
The covid pandemic isn’t over yet, of course, and I know that there are mixed feelings about coming back to church. Some among us might think that we’ve waited too long to resume services, while others of us might think that we’re coming back too quickly, and some of us are more at risk than others, due to things like health or age.
We do have a responsibility, under normal circumstances, to gather for worship on the Lord’s Day, and not to neglect meeting together. I’d encourage you to seriously consider the cost to your spiritual health of staying away from gathered worship — but in these times, I think we need to show one another an uncommon amount of grace and consideration. Let’s not think badly either of those who do come, or those who don’t.
For those of us who choose to remain at home, you’ll be able to watch the service live over the internet, in the same area of the website that we’ve been using for Sunday videos for the past six months. It’ll also be available to watch in its entirety after the service finishes.
Many people have also expressed a hunger for fellowship outside of Sunday mornings — house groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings and other ways of being the church together. I’m also hungry for that fellowship — but for now, I’d say the best way forward is to focus on that most necessary aspect of Christian life, gathering for worship on the Lord’s Day. We’ll be able to consider the others in weeks to come.
Please pray for the leadership as we respond to the varied challenges of these days, and for one another as we take steps towards gathering again.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Daniel and the leadership