Pastoral Letter 20.9.20

Dear Friends

I hope that you are in good health in these uncertain times.

I am delighted to share news that we have been given permission to open Holy Trinity for communal worship, having fulfilled the necessary requirements set out by the Scottish Episcopal Church under Phase III guidelines.

With the agreement of the vestry the first communal service will be a Eucharist on Thursday 8th October. Thereafter there will be a celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays at 11am and on Thursdays at 10.15am. Once communal services begin the periods when the church was open for Individual Prayer will cease.

As you will be aware certain changes as to how we worship have had to be made to comply with the required guidelines from both the Scottish Government and the General Synod Office of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Some of the major changes are as follows:

  • Please enter the church via the door on the Main Street. For the time being the door from Viewfield Terrace will not be available for use.
  • Face coverings must be worn in church and should only be removed when receiving communion.
  • Guidance on hand sanitiser use must be observed.
  • To comply with ‘Track and Trace’ requirements, personal details will be requested at all services.
  • Physical distancing within the church and throughout the service must be maintained. Every effort has been made to follow the 2 metre guide. To assist with this detailed seating has been designated for individuals, though family groups can sit together. A sidesperson will guide you where you should sit.
  • Although music will be played there can be no singing.
  • The Peace cannot be shared.
  • Communion will be in one kind only, namely the bread.
  • At the end of the service you will be advised when to leave in order that physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Each service will last approximately 35 mins.

To try and accommodate as many people as we are allowed it would be helpful if you could indicate your intention to come to a particular service. Details of how to give notification will be distributed via the pew sheet and our website. A limited number of seats will be available for those unable to use the notification service. If we have reached our full capacity and no seating is available every effort will be made to reserve a seat at the next available service.

I understand that such requirements all sound very regimented and a far cry from how we are used to worshipping. However, such measures are essential to maintain the safety and well being of all who come to church.

Acknowledging that when we meet in church it will be in unusual circumstances, every effort will be made to make it as prayerful and enjoyable an experience as we can.

These past few months have been difficult and unsettling for us all. This has perhaps challenged feelings of self-confidence and some of our congregation may still feel unable to attend church. I understand such anxieties and would stress that no one should feel under any pressure to come back to church until such time that they feel confident to do so. Whether we meet in church or continue to worship at home we are one community and family, holding each other and the needs of the world in prayer.

To allow as many people as possible to share in worship it is still intended that some form of ‘streamed or recorded’ service will be available. How this can be achieved is under discussion. Details of how people can share in such services is still being reviewed.

I look forward to the opportunity of sharing in worship with you whenever and wherever that may be.

As always be assured of my prayers and best wishes.