This week we enter Phase 2 of leaving lockdown and with that there is news that places of worship can begin to plan to reopen, in the first instance as a place for private prayer and to allow funerals to take place.
So, the answer to the question is we can’t go back yet but we will keep you informed of what will happen at Logie & St. John’s (Cross) in the weeks to come.
The Church of Scotland has produced very useful guidance for Kirk Sessions to consider before making any decisions and we intend to pay close attention to that.
However, some of you may have read in the national press a view that that accused the Church of issuing guidance that is cruel to people in vulnerable groups. The opinion piece attacked the Church for its guidance to congregations on reopening buildings, which have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. What follows is an extract of the response to the article from the Church of Scotland:
“The guidance in fact suggests that those over the age of 70 should consider carefully whether they should be attending church, and that anyone who is in the extremely vulnerable category, who has been advised by the NHS to shield at home, would be best advised not to come to church for the time being. This follows the clear and unequivocal advice which has been consistently given by the Scottish Government, the NHS and the Chief Medical Officer to the effect that anyone who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable group should stay at home.
We would not ask you to do this if it was not necessary. We believe that it is needed to save lives and protect the NHS.
Our published guidance is also explicit in expecting congregations to take steps to ensure that those people who are in the vulnerable category must be appropriately supported in their choice to participate in church life in a way that meets their own individual needs and preferences whilst safeguarding their own health, safety and welfare and those of the wider congregation.
In the days that followed the lockdown announcement, we have seen creativity across our congregations on a level that has not been replicated in living memory. Congregations have come together, in absence, to support each other and those around them. Along with creativity has come a real sense of loss as, for the first time in generations, church doors were ordered to be closed on government authority. But the church is its people, not its buildings, and we are confident that relationships that have been forged, or deepened, over the past months will serve to allow us to continue to serve our communities in the months and years ahead, regardless of how our public worship may require to be configured.”