Church Reopening Update

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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.

Latest Update On Church Reopening

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Following the latest Scottish Government update this week there is the possibility that we may be able to open our churches for Easter Sunday, which falls on the 4th of April. This has yet to be confirmed and is subject to any developments that may occur in the coming few weeks. However, if we are allowed open, not only will the same restrictions as before apply – maintaining social distancing, wearing of face masks, no singing etc. – but we will be subject to all Tier 4 restrictions, which means we will only be permitted to allow 20 people in total into our churches and that number will include the minister, organist/pianist and duty elders. In view of these restrictions I have asked both Kirk Sessions to consider how they wish to proceed if this permission is granted. Once we get a final decision from the Scottish Government and the Church of Scotland, and once both Sessions have considered how they wish to proceed, we will of course let you know as soon as possible, here through the website, and also via any means we can think of.

Latest Update 3rd February

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With the latest announcement from the Scottish Government stating that the current lockdown will extend until at least the end of this month we are still unable to give any details as to when we might be able to reopen our churches. I know that we all look forward to that day when we will be able to gather for worship again and pray that it will be not too far off, but we remember also those who have lost their lives to this virus and those who are currently ill from it and we pray for them and their loved ones, asking that God’s hand would be upon them and that they might know His healing, comfort and peace. We remember also our doctors, nurses and everyone in the NHS and Care Sector who are caring for those most in need and ask for His blessing upon them too, as well as those who are helping to administer vaccinations to everyone and of course we pray for those in our own communities and families.

Although we are unable to reopen for worship our online reflections continue and are available here on our website – written reflections daily and an audio YouTube reflection each Sunday. I’m also starting a zoom Bible study for Lent and if anyone would like to join in on that, please drop me an email

Church Offerings

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With the latest lockdown meaning that our churches have to remain closed for the time being one or two have been asking about how they may donate their offerings to their respective churches. There are one or two ways that this might be done – by cheque, electronic payment or setting up a standing order. If anyone would like more information on any of these please contact our Treasurers. At Bendochy Church, David Donaldson on 01828 640017 and at the Abbey Church, Peter Godfrey on 01828 627028. Although our churches are closed we do still have to make our Mission and Ministry payments to the Church every month, as well as other payments (insurance, fuel etc.), and understandably our income has gone down over the last nine months, so thank you to all who are actively considering this.

God Bless,


Church Closure

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You will have heard the latest announcement from the Scottish Government at the beginning of the week in which it said all Churches are to remain closed for public worship until the end of January – although there is the possibility that this new period of restrictions may yet extend beyond that date. Like myself I know that you will be so sad that we find ourselves in this position again and that we will all once again miss being able to gather for worship for a number of weeks yet. However, we remember also how this pandemic is making so many people so seriously ill and sadly and tragically claiming so many lives, and our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all facing such awful circumstances.

Whilst we may not be able to meet physically at the moment our Daily Prayers and Sunday Reflections will continue on line, accessed through the blue banner and YouTube links on our home page. I am also looking to start an on line Bible Study via Zoom if there are enough people interested in that and who are able to access it through Zoom. If you are interested in that please give me a call or drop me an email – and you can find all my contact details on the Contact Page here on the website.

As soon as we have any more information regarding when we might be able to re-open we will of course publish it here on our website.

All Services Cancelled

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Following the Scottish Governments announcement on Saturday saying we will all move into Tier 4 from Boxing Day both Kirk Sessions have decided to suspend all services during that period. Therefore the Churches will remain closed for the time being and all services are now cancelled until further notice.

Christmas Week Services

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Following recent meetings of both Kirk Sessions, due to restrictions placed upon us in terms of worship, and in particular the cleaning routine that would need to be in place – the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year would mean that if we had any services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day our churches would have to be cleaned again on Boxing Day before our Sunday services – the Kirk Sessions have reluctantly decided not to have any services in either church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but instead to have worship in both churches on Sunday the 27th of December at the usual times of 10.00am in Bendochy Church and 11.15am in the Abbey Church.
These were not easy decisions to arrive at and were taken with sad and heavy hearts, however, given the unusual circumstances we are faced with, we hope everyone will understand why we have come to these decisions. There will be a short Christmas message available on Christmas Day through the usual YouTube link on the homepage of our website and there will be a Christmas Day service at 12 Noon on the BBC Scotland channel which will be led by the Moderator.

Sunday 13th December

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Just a reminder that there will be no service in Bendochy Church this coming Sunday, the 13th, but there will be a service in the Abbey Church at 11.15am.