It is with great sadness that the Kirk Session have regrettably decided to cancel the planned Christmas Eve Service. This is not a decision that was taken lightly, but following Scottish Government advice in the wake of an exponential increase in cases caused by Omicron, the Session felt it was the right thing to do to keep everyone safe. Sunday worship, however, will continue as normal in both churches. Sunday services continue as normal, however, we have reinstated a 2m spacing between households which means that in Bendochy we can accommodate up to 13 households and in the Abbey Church 47 people.
This coming Sunday, the 14th of November, is Remembrance Sunday. There will be a short Act of Remembrance at Bendochy Church at the usual time of 10.00am. This will be followed by a Service of Remembrance in the Abbey Church at 10.45am – please note the change of time for this service.
This coming Sunday, the 31st of October, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion in both Churches at the usual times of 10.00am at Bendochy and 11.15am at the Abbey Church. For those unable to join us at these services, the service at the Abbey will be recorded and available via our YouTube link on the website from around 2.00pm on Sunday afternoon and if you are able to listen to this you will be able to join us in this Sacrament.
A new shortened edition of our newsletter is now available to see on our website. To access this simply click on the Isla Link blue tab on the homepage. Hard copies of this have been produced and should be delivered to households over the next week or so. Thank you to all who have been involved in this. It’s been a while since we have had a newsletter so it’s good to be able to do so again.
The minister will be hosting an online Bible Study over the next few weeks on a Wednesday evening, looking at different Biblical characters. If you would like to join in please drop him an email on Andrew.Graham@churchofscotland.org.uk
This coming Sunday, the 10th of October, we will be holding Harvest Thanksgiving Services in both churches at the usual times, where we will give thanks to God for His provision and also offer a token of what we have been given to be the Foodbank. These donations can either be packet or tinned food, cereals, instant foods, tea & coffee or things like soap and toothpaste. Or if you prefer, a monetary donation can be put in an envelope, marked Harvest Donation, and put in the offering plate.
As you will no doubt be aware, we moved ‘beyond level zero’ on Monday 9th of August. With this the legal requirement to socially distance has been removed, although the Church of Scotland suggested that we might wish to consider keeping this in place for a further few weeks. Both Kirk Sessions have been consulted on this over the past week and have decided as follows.
At Bendochy Church the need to socially distance will be removed, although members of the congregation are free to choose to do so when they sit in the pews. However, all other measures remain in place ie. the need to hand sanitise on entry to and exit from the church, following a one way system within the church, the need to wear face coverings at all times (unless exempt) and the need to give contact details for Test and Protect.
At the Abbey Church the seating will remain as it is at the moment for another few weeks. At this spacing of 1m we are able to accommodate between 64 and 75 people. This will be reviewed at the end of August and as with Bendochy, all other measures remain in place at this time also.
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.