Tuesday Update 17
Dear brothers and sisters,
The Sunday just passed (5th July) was the 15 th service of lockdown! I can hardly believe it! Although the government is now beginning to talk about public worship in church buildings, I think it’ll be a few weeks until we can safely meet again – certainly into August, I’d suspect. The elders and deacons will soon be discussing risk assessments and practical arrangements that need to be made in preparation.
I wonder how you’ve been finding the lockdown services? I hope you’ve been blessed by them, but at the same time, we mustn’t get too comfortable in this temporary routine! It can be quite nice to sit on your comfy sofa, with a cup of coffee in hand, and maybe even ‘pause the minister’ if you’re taking notes and he moves on too quickly! (You won’t be able to do that for ever, you know!)
It is wonderful that we have the facilities to be able to carry on our main ministry of the preaching of the Word of God. And, we pray, even reach a wider audience than usual. But while we do give thanks for these possibilities, I trust that we’ll also all share the deep longing to be back together again. Exactly what our post-lockdown services will look like remains to be seen - there will certainly be restrictions (for a time) from the way things were before.
While the preaching of the Word has been able to continue, the loss of corporate worship, and of Christian fellowship has been a real miss. While we strive to produce as good a service as we can within the present restraints, we recognise that we can never reproduce what we actually share on a Sunday, and I trust that we’re all really looking forward to the day when corporate worship resumes.
I’ve noted the enthusiasm of many now that the pubs have re-opened – people flocking to resume their worldly pursuits. Wouldn’t it be a terrible indictment of us if we were less enthusiastic about going back to church than the drinkers are about going back to the pub?!
With that said, I recognise that there may be a certain hesitancy concerning safety and hygiene – please be assured that the elders and I will be sympathetic to such concerns, and will seek in every way we can to ensure that everyone is included as we seek to move forward together.
So as lockdown continues to ease, and as our hope of worship-services resuming begins to grow, we long for the day when we’ll be able to say (with the psalmist, Ps.95): “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
Service this week
This week (DV) we’ll be looking at Q.22 in the Shorter Catechism, which looks at the Incarnation – how Christ became a man. Then we’ll give some thought to the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus, which is important at all times, and perhaps especially so in times of crisis and adversity.
With summer holiday time having arrived we’ve not forgotten about our young people in the church, and the part they play in the life of the congregation.
As is customary at this time of year, we’ll be sending gift vouchers to them to spend in The Good Book Company, an on-line Christian retailer – and although the holidays probably feel a bit different this year, we wish our young people well through the summer.
At the Presbytery Zoom meeting last week, it was agreed that there is no ongoing need for an assessor elder in our congregation here in Falkirk. We thank the Rev Alistair Wilson for his interest and support.
Scott Matheson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Free Church of Scotland since 2015, is to step down from his role to take up a new position outside the Church. In addition to leading the office team Scott has overseen and supported the Board of Trustees in improvements in governance, financial strategy, planning and property. Scott will continue in the role as CEO until late September 2020 and will support the Board in securing a replacement.
A sub-group of the Board has already met by video conference to work on arrangements for the securing of a new CEO. This is a key role for the Church which we will be advertising in due course.
I’ll be compiling the prayer update tomorrow, Wednesday. If there is anything you’d like to be included, please call or email me by 12-noon – especially if you or your family are self-isolating/ symptomatic, or have any kind of particular requests.
With warm Christian greetings,