Re-opening guidelines

Dear friends

Attached is our initial guidelines for reopening. No doubt these things will adapt as we go on, but for now this covers most areas of changes and routine.

Cross Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) 17th July 2020

Covid-19 re-opening Risk Assessment and Health and Safety Check

A. Notice of changes and procedures

1. A register will be kept of all worshippers for a period of three weeks after the service at which they attended. Visitors shall be asked to supply their name, address and phone number. A photographic record will be used for regular worshippers.

2. Church magazines, library books and other literature shall not be available in the church foyer.

3. All soft-furnishings shall be removed from the building.

4. The use of the rear hall, and minister’s vestry shall be restricted.

5. Increased ventilation in the church building shall be practiced either by means of the window vents or by opening the windows on tilt, weather dependant.

B. Guidance for worshippers after re-opening

1. Hand wash gel shall be available at the door of the church, and must be used by those entering the premises.

2. A ‘one-way’ system shall be employed, with worshippers entering via the main entrance, and being directed to exit via one of the side exits, depending on wind direction.

3. A two-metre distance shall be enforced at all times between households (or extended households). Parents are responsible to ensure their families maintain social distancing whilst at church.

4. Face coverings may be brought to the church, and shall also be available at the foyer for all who need them.

5. In order to minimise risk and ensure seating for each household, pews have been assigned for regular worshippers and visitors. You will be shown to your pew on arrival. The Deacons’ Court will strive to ensure that the same pews are used by the same households each week.

6. Congregants shall be encouraged to maintain social distancing after the services, until they have returned to their vehicle or homes.

C. Revised cleaning and hygiene routine

After the first Sabbath service, all door and window handles, light switches and other common-touch areas shall be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Toilets shall be cleaned if they have been used.

Each Monday and Thursday the following cleaning shall be done:

• All door and window handles, light switches and other common-touch areas shall be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Toilets shall be cleaned if they have been used.

• All occupied pews will be cleaned with disinfectant.

• If a visiting preacher has occupied the pulpit, it too shall be disinfected.

Through the week windows in the church building shall be opened regularly between services.

Re-opening update

Dear friends

As intimated earlier, the Deacons’ Court met to discuss the practical arrangements for public gatherings resuming in our congregation this Lord’s Day.

As stated previously, ALL means of live broadcasting will continue, both by YouTube and telephone, so that those unable to return to worship at present will not be cut off from the services. We fully recognise and support those who cannot for the present return to the building for worship.

At present, we would encourage all those who intend to attend physically to take note of the following measures:

a. Two metre (2m) distancing will be followed carefully. Some pews will be cordoned off, and each household will be shown to a designated space. Social distancing does not apply within households or extended households, but it does apply between all separate households without exception.

b. For anyone who wishes to use a face-mask, you are welcome to bring your own or use one of the masks provided at the entrance door.

c. Be assured that additional cleaning of the church building will take place, according to current guidelines.

d. Weather permitting the main door of the church will be latched open before the service, to avoid common contact with the door handle. This applies to the inner door as well. Dependant on the wind strength and direction, the congregation will exit at one of the doors located at either side of the pulpit-end of the building. Again, wind and weather permitting, windows will be opened to increase ventilation.

e. A register will be kept of those attending, in order to assist with any tracing that may be necessary in the event of an outbreak connected with our congregation. This register will be held only for a period of 21 days from the service it records.

f. A full rundown of the new measures will be given from the pulpit before the worship commences.

If you have any queries or concerns in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact the minister. In the meantime, we covet your prayers more than ever for the resumption of our gatherings. We have sought the Lord’s mercy for this, and we trust that we are enabled to enjoy much of God’s grace this Lord’s Day.

Sermon broadcast outage

Dear friends

Tonight, about two thirds of the way through the sermon, the connection to YouTube’s servers was lost, resulting in an early termination of the broadcast. So no, it wasn’t your equipment, it was a fault at our end. Apologies to all who had their worship interrupted. We will review what went wrong and try to correct it.

Trust your are all safe and well, in body and soul

Rev Greg MacDonald

Book Fellowship

Dear Friends

As intimated on the Lord’s Day, we hope to have another congregational fellowship this Thursday at 8pm.

As agreed last week we intend to try and cover a little of the Pilgrim’s Progress each time. This week we are just beginning, so if you are able to access a copy of the book, then please read up to the point where Pliable returns to Destruction. The text then says: “And thus much concerning Pliable.” If you do not have a copy at home then I can send a link where to access a digital copy or ebook.

Depending on your copy it is probably six or seven pages worth of text. Children are welcome to join us, and probably have their own copies of the story.

As before, this fellowship can be accessed by Zoom conference using the same details as before – either telephone or weblink.

If anyone is unsure at all, or struggling to join in the meeting then please just call or email the manse, and we will do our best to get you logged in!

Looking forward to seeing you all again.

Every blessing

Greg MacDonald

Fellowship for the congregation

Friends

As intimated tonight at the Prayer Meeting, the Kirk Session have agreed to seek to foster fellowship within the congregation by remote conference.

Tomorrow evening (Thursday 16th April) at 8pm we hope to have our first via Zoom. This platform allows everyone in the congregation to join. You need only a phone and the correct number. If you are able to use computer or smartphone/tablet technology then you can download the ‘Zoom’ app and access video and sound, but if not the phone itself allows you to hear everyone else present and join in if you wish.

For details please email me directly or phone. Either 810037 or greg@nesschurch.co.uk and I will be delighted to pass on further information about how it (hopefully) works!

Every blessing

Greg MacDonald

Denominational Prayer Meeting

Dear friends

Our Edinburgh congregation have recently begun hosting church-wide prayer meetings on Monday evenings via the Zoom conferencing solution. Many of those who have been able to attend (remotely) have found it of great benefit. If you would like to join, please note it can be accessed either by ordinary telephone, mobile phone, via the Zoom app, or the Zoom website. Details are attached below:

Dear Christian friends

The meeting can be accessed as follows:

Topic: Monday Prayer Meeting
Time: Apr 6, 2020 07:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/8244388481
Meeting ID: 824 438 8481

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+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom
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Meeting ID: 824 438 8481

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/azxGFB8ez

Kind Regards

James I. Gracie

Sri Lanka Update

Update from Sri Lanka: Covid 19


Impact from the Corona Virus is felt in every nation, and while there are many legitimate concerns in our own society about basic supplies, health care, and the longer-term economic impact upon individuals and business – these concerns are massively escalated in a less prosperous nation. Many of the problems reported by the media about life in India are replicated in neighbouring Sri Lanka.
Because a significant number of people are daily wage earners who purchase food from day to day, many have no way of ‘stocking up’. Shelves and fridges are not full of food; most do not have a fridge.
As in the UK there is a shutdown, including all but essential travel, though in Sri Lanka the shutdown is far more reaching. Food shops are closed with only healthcare and other essential services maintained. This absolute curfew is to be maintained for 3 days, after which it will be lifted for 6 hours, followed by a further 3 day shut down. Only during these 6 hours will the shops be permitted to open. The phenomenon of standing in an orderly queue while waiting to be served is quite unknown in Sri Lanka. The anticipated melee is just the scenario where the virus could quickly spread.
To make matters worse, it is reported that a Charismatic Pastor in a neighbouring district, returned from a visit to Europe, and rather than self-isolate as would have been prudent, organised a public rally (this was before the curfew). The rally promised dramatic healings, with prayer and blessings sufficient to make people immune from Corona Virus. Tragically, the pastor had unwittingly contracted the virus abroad, and now many are fearful that it has spread. Inevitably this has an impact upon how the church is viewed in this Hindu society, with some of Pastor Parthee’s neighbours even asking his landlord if he was wise to continue renting his property to Parthee.
But when doors are shut God can open them. Parthee has been able, through various personal contacts, to purchase sufficient supplies to provide each needy family in the congregation with a basic food parcel: rice, flour, sugar, onions, dry fish and lentils.
You might wonder how, with the strict curfew, Parthee has been able to collect the provisions from the suppliers and then deliver to each family. Again the Lord opened a door. A few days ago, as the situation was escalating, Parthee purchased facemasks, which he went around his district distributing to the local policemen. “You”, he said, “have to work hard keeping everyone else safe, but who will take care of you? Please wear this mask.” The consequence is that Parthee is now saluted, rather than stopped, on the otherwise deserted streets.
The church immediately, through the Home and Foreign Missions Committee, has sent an emergency payment to pay for these vital basic supplies. However the greatest need is that we unite together in prayer, bringing before God not only our own felt needs, but also the needs of other nations. And particularly that he would preserve and prosper his own church through this time. Please pray for Rev Partheepan and the congregation in Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu.


James MacInnes, Convenor Home and Foreign Missions Committee