Covid-19 Global Emergency
& On-Going Ministries
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this (second) pastoral letter this month. I have received an email from the Church of Scotland Covid-19 task group which asks “in the strongest terms” that all gatherings of worship should cease from further notice. This left me with no choice but to ask the Kirk Session to agree to this. Accordingly, our church services have been suspended until further notice and the building closed to all organisations until further notice. We have had to cancel the prayer meeting, the Holy Week services, the Walk of Witness, the school services, and now, even our Sunday worship. These are extreme measures, but these are extreme times and I do not believe that the church should be reckless in the face of this crisis. We have a duty of care to our people.
I have made contingencies for the coming Sundays and to that end, I have organised “closed door” church services for the coming weeks. We shall be recording two services every Sunday for people to access on both the St. Luke’s and the St. Paul’s websites. These recorded services will be structured as follows:-
Call to worship
Opening Prayer – Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving
Closing Prayer – Intercession
The sermons recorded will be full sermons as we have on Sundays. I believe that it is essential that our people are provided with Bible teaching at this time. On the St. Luke’s website, I will continue our series on the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel; and on the St. Paul’s website, the Rev. John Wilson will start a new series on the “I am” sayings of Jesus, a series that was planned for the evening services at St. Paul’s.
These online services can be accessed using the following links:-
I am grateful to the members of all three Kirk Sessions, St. Luke’s, St. Paul’s and Baldernock, in supporting me in what has arguably been the most difficult decision in 30 years of ministry.
I would encourage all of our members to engage with the preaching of God’s Word online as we continue to expound it week by week. We have members of both congregations who attend both morning and evening services and they will still have the opportunity of two “diets of worship” online. To those who do not usually attend the evening service, I would encourage you to engage with both services, and I commend both to you. If ever we needed to hear God’s Word preached fully, it is now.
During this time of world crisis, there are many implications for our church, not least concerning funerals where sensitive conversations will need to take place ahead of funeral services, and to consider the size of groups gathering for funeral services.
We usually uplift an offering on a Sunday morning and the task force is aware that closing down worship services will impact on congregational income. We would ask people to continue to contribute financially to the church as far as possible and encourage the increased use of standing orders as an expression of ongoing stewardship. Full details of this way of giving can be given by our treasurer, Mrs Alison Fettes on can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 956-5098.
I am currently giving thought to the important subject of ongoing pastoral care, and I would ask our members, where possible, to make me aware of any needs within the parish at this time. One of the great concerns is that of social isolation.
These difficult days are humbling for us all, and they should certainly humble us before the Lord. We should be crying out to Him, not least to have mercy on our nation and on our world.
With every blessing,
Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Ramsay B. Shields