From this coming Monday, the 19th of July, we will move down to level zero. In terms of our worship each week it means that we will be able to reduce the social distancing requirements between seating from 2m to 1m which should increase our capacity within both churches. Both Kirk Sessions have agreed to do this and have completed and approved Risk Assessment updates which have now been sent to Presbytery for consideration. Hopefully these will be accepted and this change will be implemented from Sunday 25th of July.
From the first Sunday in July, Sunday the 4th of July, we will be able to sing again in both churches. However, face coverings do still need to be worn and all other restrictions remain in place ie. social distancing etc. I am also delighted to say that we have appointed a new organist, Mrs. Alison Malcolm, and Alison will begin in both churches on the 4th of July. Further to that, I’m also delighted to say that from Sunday the 4th of July Bendochy Church will be open for worship every Sunday. The current restrictions still remain in place, but from Sunday the 4th we will have weekly services in Bendochy at 10.00am and in the Abbey Church at 11.15am, and we look forward to seeing you there.
We are now in level 1 in the Government’s Tier System which means that once all the appropriate Risk Assessments have been carried out we will be allowed to sing during worship. However, we still have to socially distance in church and we do still have to wear face coverings, even when singing. Both Kirk Sessions will be discussing this at their meetings next week and more will follow after this.
You will have heard on the news this week that from Monday the 17th of May we are moving into level 2 and various restrictions are now being eased. However, in terms of our Sunday worship there is no change and the restrictions currently in place remain so – the need to socially distance, wear face coverings, use hand sanitiser, record details of attendance and no singing. We hope and pray that this will change soon, however, for the time being these restrictions remain in place.
As you will have heard in the news, we have now moved into Level 3 which has brought about a number of changes as things open up out of lockdown. In terms of our worship at Bendochy and the Abbey, however, nothing has really changed as we still have to continue to maintain social distancing. This effectively means that our seating capacity remains as it was previously, with a maximum of 26 people at Bendochy and 44 at the Abbey Church. However, this new capacity is now allowed at funeral services as well as Sunday worship. All the other restrictions that were in place remain in place.
There will be Easter Sunday services in both churches at the usual times this weekend, however, sadly, due to restrictions, there will be limited spaces. At Bendochy we are able to provide space for between 15 – 25 people, depending on household groups and for the Abbey that number is between 30 and 42. W are truly sorry if this causes any problems.
Today the Scottish Government and the Church of Scotland confirmed that churches will be able to reopen this week from Friday 26th March. Therefore, as both Kirk Sessions have elected to do so and as we have been given Presbytery approval,we can open for Palm Sunday on the 28th at our usual times of 10.0am and 11.15am. Restrictions will still of course be in place – good hygiene practise, social distancing, giving contact details, sitting in household groups, wearing of face coverings and no singing. The limit on the number of people being permitted within churches is up to 50, however only if the space allows for social distancing to be maintained – but sadly neither of our churches allow for that to happen. At Bendochy Church the maximum number of people we will be able to allow in will be between 15 – 25 and that is dependent on the number of people within each household group. At the Abbey Church that number is between 30 – 42 people. For those unable to attend I still hope to put an audio recording of the service online, accessed via our website and available from around 2.00pm on Sunday.
This past week the Scottish Government has given a further update on when our churches might be able to reopen. If virus case numbers continue to fall then there is the possibility that churches will be able to reopen from Friday 26th of March, which would mean we could possibly be open for Palm Sunday on the 28th. Restrictions will still of course be in place – good hygiene practise, social distancing, sitting in household groups, wearing of face coverings and no singing. However, the limit on the number of people being permitted within the church indicated in the last update has now been changed and up to 50 people will now be allowed, however, only if the space allows for social distancing to be maintained – but sadly neither of our churches allow for that to happen. At Bendochy Church the maximum number of people we will be able to allow in will be between 15 – 25 and that is dependent on the number of people within each household group. At the Abbey Church that number is between 30 – 42 people.
Both Kirk Sessions are meeting this week to discuss this further and we hope to be in a position to reopen soon. However, I have to stress again that all of this is dependent on the virus case numbers continuing to fall and we will not receive any confirmation from the Church until after the Scottish Government update on Tuesday 23rd March. As soon as we hear any further news we will put it here on our website and a further update will be available on Wednesday the 24th – so please check again then.