Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12 v 12
Over the past 13 months everyone has learned something of being patient in affliction during the pandemic. So many restrictions and sacrifices, losses and longings have been made all the harder by the unknown timescale of when things might return to ways they were before.
As we move through the route map for the easing of lockdown, there are signs that we are moving into phases of possibility where we can be joyful in hope. However, let’s not miss the other aspect of this verse from Paul’s letter to the Romans, to be faithful in prayer. The Kirk Session of Newbattle Parish have had an approach throughout the pandemic of making sure we keep our elders, our members and volunteers safe and secure in the knowledge that Covid guidelines are being followed at all times. At each moment of opening up, especially when places of worship have had special privilege to open up sooner than the rest of society, we have also prayerfully considered the question “just because we could, does it mean we should?” We recognise that there are a variety of responses and feelings amongst our members and adherents regarding a return to physical gatherings. Whilst it is wonderful to have more options available to us now as we sit in level 3 and move towards level 2, careful planning and discernment of the right ways to go about opening up are needed more than ever. This takes thought, time and resources and we must make sure all are in place.
The Kirk Session therefore decided at our meeting on the 28th April, having studied the results of our telephone worship survey conducted in March, to continue with our approach: “experiment and evaluate”. To hold some physical services back in the building and review how this goes by listening not only to those who attend the services but also to our stewards and cleaning team who have to create the necessary conditions for this to happen safely.
There will therefore be 2 physical services in Mayfield and Easthouses Church during May and then the Kirk Session will review these:
Sunday 9th May at 11am and Sunday 23rd May at 11am (Pentecost Sunday)
These services will also be on zoom simultaneously so that those who do not wish to return to the building can safely worship from home.
It is our hope that we will gradually have 2 physical services a month, still with a booking system for track and trace purposes, still with face coverings, no singing and physical distancing, as we see how things progress with virus infection and transmission.
If you would like to book a place for this Sunday please telephone the church office (before Friday afternoon) on 0131 663 3245.
This week’s prayer: