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 email@example.com and I will be delighted to pass on further information about how it (hopefully) works!
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
Meeting ID: 824 438 8481
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Meeting ID: 824 438 8481
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/azxGFB8ez
James I. Gracie
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
A number of you have enquired about setting up a standing order to our congregational account.
Sort Code 80-09-73
Account Number: 00300255
Account name: Cross Free Church Continuing
For those who also contribute to the monthly Building Fund, and wish a portion of their Standing Order to be credited to that Fund, then you will need to inform Miss Anne Macritchie of this. For her contact details, please email the minster (firstname.lastname@example.org), who can pass on the contact information required.
We do understand that these are unsettling times. Your commitment to sustaining the ministry is greatly appreciated. Please make this a matter of prayer before the Lord, setting by such as the Lord has granted you to have in store.
1 Corinthians 16:2
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
Just two quick reminders, amongst everything else that is going on:
1. Tomorrow we intend to observe the day of Humiliation and Prayer called for by our denomination.
2. British Summer Time begins overnight: double check your clocks so that you don’t miss the services tomorrow.
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.
Every blessing in Christ
Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
Thursday 19th March 2020
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.
Rev Greg MacDonald
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.
Find and participate in consultations run by The Scottish Government
— Read on consult.gov.scot/family-law/gender-recognition-reform-scotland-bill/
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.