Working from the guidelines produced on Monday night by the Church of Scotland, on Tuesday the 17th March at 11am, your Minister and the Ministry team of Newbattle Parish took the decision to carry out all our church business from Mayfield and Easthouses church and to close Newbattle and Newtongrange churches during the Corona virus crisis. This is to ensure that all our resources (for staffing, heating and cleaning) can be deployed with maximum effect at one site. Mayfield and Easthouses is the best site in terms of hand washing /hygiene facilities and has an automatic door on entry to minimise contact with surfaces. The decision to work from one site at Mayfield and Easthouses stands but from late this afternoon, new guidelines have been issued regarding worship services.
“The Church of Scotland Task Group has agreed to ask, in the strongest terms, that all gatherings for worship should cease until further notice, with effect from Wednesday 17th March 2020, or earlier if possible. Other Scottish Churches are taking similar actions. This obviously includes Easter services. This will include, but not be restricted to, housegroups, meetings for youth work, and church cafes.”
Unfortunately, this means we will not be able to hold our church service this Sunday or for the foreseeable future. There is however the possibility for people to drop into the church for prayer/quiet reflection as long as robust handwashing and safe social distancing is observed. Therefore, the church at Mayfield and Easthouses church will be open from 10.30am – 12noon for drop in prayer. You should only come to church for a short while and if you feel well and do not have a persistent cough or temperature.
Can I assure you that I am also looking at what we can do remotely by phone and by email in terms of pastoral care and support so that people can stay in touch and also so that we can help anyone needing food or prescriptions delivered. We will be setting up task groups in the next few days and we will be looking at various ways for us all to keep in contact and to worship remotely. I am aware that the constant new cycle and worrying speed that the restrictions have been put in place have been alarming and deeply unsettling for people. It is at a time like this that the fundamental precepts of Christianity: Faith, Hope and Love, have so much to offer. The physical restrictions are challenging but we can still reach out to offer calm, reassuring contact and offer an alternative perspective that helps people stay resilient through the unknown days ahead.
Many people are calling this a time of crisis. Yes, it is seriously challenging but I am hopeful and thankful that we have an excellent, caring ministry team and dedicated group of office bearers and church members in our parish and I trust, that this will be a time of opportunity where God will be at work through us.
Rev Gayle J A Taylor Transition Minister, Newbattle Parish
Serving the communities of Newbattle, Newtongrange, Mayfield and Easthouses