A message from Neil on Monday 20 July 2020
Some information to keep you up to date with life in St Andrew Blackadder
1. Barclay Crawford
I’m sorry to have to tell you that Barclay Crawford died on July 14. He and his late wife, Jean, were fixtures on North Berwick High Street where they had a shop for many years, and where they continued to live. Barclay’s funeral is on 21 July. We extend our sympathy to his son, Jay.
The Guild is planning to hold a Virtual Afternoon Tea on Saturday 8th August to raise funds for Guild projects. You might like to invite another family, or two, to come and enjoy an afternoon tea with you and make a donation to the projects. You may prefer instead just to make a donation to the projects, which should be given to Julie in the office. This is open to everyone and not just members of the Guild.
3. Opening the Church Building
In my last update I invited you to express your opinion through SurveyMonkey. 70 of you did so. Thank you. Click here
for the full details of the poll. You’ll see that, while some are keen to get back to church as soon as possible, the majority are hesitant. They want the Kirk Session to plan to re-open but to think carefully about this.
Your views assisted the Kirk Session when it met last week to consider the way ahead. We have agreed three steps at the moment
Step 1: Church Building Open for Individual Prayer
Our building is now OPEN for individual prayer, between 9.30 and 11.30 am from Monday to Friday.
- Only the downstairs chapel is open. All other parts of the building are closed to everyone except employees and contractors.
- Access is only from the High Street. Please do not come into the building from St Andrew Street.
- There are no toilet facilities available.
- Only 6 people can be in the chapel at any one time.
A huge amount of work has gone into making this possible. The Risk Assessment Document runs to 9 pages and the Checklist has 50 items on it. Every time we want to open part of the building, and for each activity, this process has to be completed. Julie has done the bulk of the work. We thank her for the tenacity she has shown in doing this.
Although this step feels small it is a big step forward. We have learnt a lot in doing it which will help us as we move forward.
Step 2: In Person Youth Activities.
The Kirk Session has decided that its next goal is to restart in-person youth activities on Sundays. That is, we want YF, Trash, Klash and Creche to start meeting in the church building on Sundays towards the end of August.
By this time, young people will be mixing freely and meeting in schools. Why should they be denied this opportunity in church? The government has relaxed restrictions for young people ahead of adults because it recognises that Covid poses a much lower risk to young people. For the same reason it makes sense for us to restart their activities.
The Kirk Session knows many of the children who come to activities in church on Sunday are brought by their parents. What will they do when their children are at YF, Trash and Klash? For this reason we are exploring having a modified service for parents that runs at the same time.
Step 3: Modified Services for All Adults
A modified service for Parents whose children are at YF, Trash and Klash will, we expect, help us work out how to organise modified services for adults. Our intention would be, as soon thereafter as possible, to give the opportunity for all adults who want to, to attend a service in the church building. At the moment, we have to work on the basis that this will mean, a maximum of 50 people at any service, 2 metre social distancing and no singing. As soon as any of these restrictions are eased, we will follow suit.
For every single possible activity in Phase 2 or 3 that I’ve mentioned:
- the 9 page Risk Assessment document and 50 item checklist must be completed
- the Kirk Session must review these and approve them
- Presbytery must then approve these
Our online worship is going to continue. At the moment it is the only way our congregation can worship. By the end of August I hope that a small section will have the choice of worshipping in the church building. Soon after that I hope more people will be able to worship in the church building. However, there will be some people who can’t or don’t want to worship in the church building. That’s why the online service is going to continue.
The Kirk Session next meets on 13 August. A huge amount of work will need to be done before then if Step 2 is to proceed as I’ve described. Please pray for energy and wisdom for those who are taking this forward.
4. Prayer Gathering
I am about to go on holiday. So there will not be a weekly update for the next few weeks. Weekly worship will, however, be in its usual place every Sunday in the place you normally find the service..
Rev Dr Neil Dougall
St Andrew Blackadder Church of Scotland, North Berwick
St Andrew Street, North Berwick, EH39 4NU
Scottish Charity SC006421