This is the letter we never wanted to write. We love the worship of our Saviour and we love the gathering together of our dear congregation. Nevertheless these are unprecedented times for us all. The Lord rules still and knows the end from the beginning.
Following the altered guidance from the Prime Minister and First Minister last night I have conferred with the rest of the Kirk Session. We have also received recommendations from Presbytery. As a result all public gatherings are suspended for the present emergency and health crisis.
We have not taken this decision lightly. God willing we will rejoice to restore public services at the earliest safe opportunity.
Despite the cancellation of services public worship will continue by means of our YouTube broadcasts. Please make every effort to join us for these services online. The times remain the same as usual, with the mid week meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 and the Sabbath services at 12 and 6pm.
Please pass on this information to any who may not be checking the website. We will again update this information should there by any changes. This supersedes the earlier statement from the Deacons’ Court.
In response to the recent pandemic of Covid-19, the Deacons’ Court of Cross FCC wish to make the following statement to the congregation:
• Services will continue at the stated times, both for mid-week meetings and Lord’s Day services.
• With the schools now closed, Sabbath School will also be suspended during this period.
• The mid-week Prayer Meetings will be relocated into the main church from the hall.
• Congregants are encouraged to follow the advice of the Scottish Government, especially in relation to vulnerable groups, such as over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.
• Those able to attend services are encouraged to make use of the ample space in the church building to minimise the risk of infections.
• Those unable to attend services are encouraged to make use of the live-streaming of public worship available through our congregational YouTube channel. It is further hoped to be able to stream mid-week meetings as well as Lord’s Day services.
• The Deacons’ Court wish to assure any who feel it is wisest to limit their contact at this time that such a decision is not considered any breach of the commandments, but rather a careful, even costly, keeping of the sixth commandment, to seek to preserve life, both our own and that of our neighbour.
• The Deacons’ Court also wish to encourage all our people to maintain regular contact with one another by telephone and other means not requiring close physical contact. The minister will likewise seek to contact by phone all those of our congregation who are unable to join in public worship at this time.
Please note, that with a rapidly changing situation this advice may be updated frequently.
After taking advice from the Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee, the Deacons’ Court wish to intimate the following to the congregation:
All public Worship Services will continue as scheduled at present. We will move the mid-week prayer meeting from the hall into the church, to allow for greater physical distance. Congregants are encouraged to sit well spaced out where possible.
Those considered as belonging to vulnerable groups (over 70s, underlying health issues, etc) are strongly advised to consider current government and NHS advice to remain at home, away from public worship for the present time.
Those who are isolating themselves will be contacted regularly by the minister to provide ongoing pastoral and practical care.
Those unable to attend services are encouraged to make use of the live-streaming facilities of the congregation. It is hoped to be able to add live-streaming of mid week meetings shortly.
A day of Humiliation and Prayer has been called for Lord’s Day 29th March 2020, across the denomination. If you have any concerns relating to any of these matters, please do contact an elder or the minister. This advice is regularly under review, and is likely to be updated as the spread of the virus develops.
and in particular Section 2.2 which refers to “Faith Settings”.
The reference to close contact in our circles would include shaking hands and I would suggest that this be discouraged in our congregations. The other recommendations and advice should be considered according to local circumstances.
Please consider responding to the above consultation. This proposed legislation would do great damage to many vulnerable people, and is diametrically opposed to Scripture teaching on the creation of mankind.