Covid-19 Update - 24 March 2021
Permission was given on 23 March by the Scottish Government to reopen places of worship under the restrictions currently in place.
As Fergus is shielding the morning services in St Paul’s will be led by:-
4 April Rev John Wilson
11 April Robin Easton
18 April Alex McEwan
25 April Rev Ramsay Shields
The very successful and welcomed recorded services will continue.
The virus continues to be active in the community as you will be aware but we believe that St Paul’s can safely meet the principles outlined in current guidance. We are aware that the guidelines can change very quickly and therefore they will be kept under constant review.
You should not attend church if you are unwell or showing symptoms of Covid-19, if you are isolating or living with someone who is isolating or who is unwell or if you are in the extremely vulnerable (extremely high risk) group. Also you should consider carefully before attending if you are in the vulnerable (higher risk) category.
- In coming to Church there should be no car sharing with anyone from another household.
- You must pre-register and have received confirmation before arriving at the Church.
- There will be no specific children’s programme.
- The joint services, with Baldernock, will start at 10.30am and last approximately 30 minutes.
- Social distancing rules must be adhered to at all times.
- You must obey stewards instructions.
- You must wear an appropriate clean face covering at all times, unless exempt.
- You will be required to sanitise your hands.
- After registration you will be escorted to a seat and must remain there throughout the service.
- Sadly singing is not allowed and there will be no pew bibles although music will be part of the service.
- The pew cushions have been removed.
- Toilet access will be restricted.
- At the end of the service you must remain in your seat until asked to leave by a steward.
- You should disperse quickly on leaving the building and keep the exit clear.
- There will be no tea or coffee after the service.
The above is subject to Government Guidelines and they may change. While we look forward to being with one another again in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day we ask for your support and prayers as we go through the process of opening the Church for worship, all be it in unusual circumstances.
If you have any concerns or questions about the reopening please do not hesitate to contact me.
Fergus is still on the Scottish Government's shielding list. In the present restrictions he is directed to work at home.
The building is closed to all organizations.
The Church Office is also closed.
Although the building is closed the Church Community is very much Alive.
Up to date information including Sunday Services, can be found on the website www.stpaulsmilngavie.org.uk
St. Paul’s Prayer Meeting – 15 April 2021
Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Acts10:33-46
The Holy Spirit led Peter through a vision to the house of Cornelius, a centurion in the Roman army, who lived in Caesarea. When he got there, he discovered that God had also spoken to Cornelius and he was expecting Peter to give to him and the large crowd, which he had assembled, a message from God. It is exciting to see how God’s power, which raised Jesus from the dead, has transformed Peter from the cowardly person, who denied any connection with Jesus, into the apostle Peter boldly sharing his good news. Peter fairly explodes with the news that we have peace with God through Jesus’ death on the cross which reconciled us to God. We have received that peace as a gift, and everyone, whether Jew or Gentile like Cornelius, and from whatever background or race, who puts their trust in Jesus, receives forgiveness of their sins.
Peter spoke of how he and his fellow disciples were present as Jesus of Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power, went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. They were witnesses too of his death on the cross and ate and drank with him after his resurrection. After witnessing Jesus’ victory over the powers of evil, over sin and over death, Peter can state with absolute conviction that Jesus is ‘Lord of all’. While Peter was still proclaiming the good news about Jesus, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on ‘outsider’ non-Jews.
Having received peace with God, we should be peacemakers as we seek to lead others to peace with God and to bring peace into our homes and to all whom we come across. Thankfully we don’t attempt to do this on our own. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and transformed Peter is available to us through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
GIVE THANKS FOR
· Our families and friends and for the love and support they give us.
· Church Services – good to be able to attend Church on Sunday mornings once again. Pray for Alex as he leads worship this Sunday.
· Zoom/Facetime – keeping us in touch with loved ones, both here and overseas. We also give thanks for the Coffee/Chat conversations which we enjoy each Sunday with our friends at St Paul’s.
· Access to God’s Word and the encouragement and blessing we receive from it.
· Continuing roll-out of vaccines to the population – over 32 million people in the UK have received the first doze and 5.4 million people have had the second doze.
· Continuing reduction in cases of the virus as well as a reduction in people in hospital.
· The relaxation of restrictions – enabling friends and family able to meet outdoors.
· The area where we live – seeing new born lambs; the increasing hours of daylight; and the sound of birdsong are reminders of the wonders of God’s creation.
· Availability of books, films, music etc. – which enrich our lives and give us pleasure
PRAYERS FOR OUR COMMUNITY AND COUNTRY – continue to pray for
· Fergus - as he prepares and preaches the Word on line each week.
· Our Church family – this has been a challenging year for some of our friends in St Paul’s - some because they are anxious about their own health; the health of a loved one; or they have suffered bereavement.
· All Healthcare Professionals – as well as caring for patients with Coronavirus, we pray more outpatient clinics will be able to open up so that people with other serious illnesses and medical conditions will be able to receive treatment.
· Police, Firefighters – As restrictions ease, pray for our emergency service personnel who work in tense situations - praying for their safety.
· Northern Ireland – 90 police officers have been injured during rioting and disturbances – raising concerns that things are escalating again. Pray that the police will be protected from harm and for the violence to stop.
· People who feel vulnerable - some people live alone and are not feeling well with either a physical illness or suffer from depression. During this year, there has been an increase in the number of people struggling with their mental health because they have lacked routine and missing contact with friends.
· Senior School Pupils – return to School full time from Monday 19 April. Pray for both the pupils and teachers’ safety.
· Preshal, Lodging House Mission - the work that they do each day is a lifeline to many people in our city – continue to pray that they will have both the financial and staffing resources they require to meet the needs of the people they come into contact with.
PRAYERS FOR THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
· Some countries in the world – have seen an increase in the number of cases and deaths from Coronavirus. Many lack medical facilities, medicines and medical staff to help them fight the disease and bring comfort to the sick. Please continue to pray that the richer and more affluent countries will share their supplies and that they will be given to the most vulnerable.
· Australia – A tropical cyclone has ripped across a 621-mile stretch of Western Australia, leaving a trail of damage near the town of Kalbarri, half of which has been flattened.
· China - 21 people are trapped in a coal mine that flooded in China's Xinjiang region. The flooding is hampering rescue efforts by cutting power underground and disrupting communication lines.
· Eritrea - The Eritrean authorities have released on bail 36 prisoners who had been in detention because of their faith. Many Christians still remain in detention and others are routinely arrested because of their faith, according to religious freedom campaigners.
· North Korea - faces dire food shortages and economic instability. North Korea has shut its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic and trade with China, its economic lifeline, has come to a standstill. This is on top of existing international economic sanctions - pray for the people as they face even harsher conditions.
· Somalia - An international charity says locust swarms, extreme weather and below average rainfall mean millions of people in Somalia will not have enough food. Save the Children says crop and vegetable production is expected to drop by up to 80% this season. Mothers are desperately trying to scrape together just one meal a day for their children. Some of them are already malnourished.
· Persecuted Church – continue to pray for our Brothers and Sisters who love the Lord Jesus but are separated from their family, friends and loved ones – some are also imprisoned for their faith.
· Vine Trust – Medical Volunteering Programmes – Hoping to commence opportunities for volunteering on MV Forth Hope on Peruvian Amazon in the last quarter of this year – coronavirus restrictions permitting. See Vine Trust website for more information.
· Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) , Christian Aid and Tear Fund – as they seek to bring comfort to the most sick and needy.
- The Guild, Breakaway, The Men’s Association, The Lunch Club, Noah’s Ark, The Girl’s Brigade and Sun Kids have cancelled all meetings until further notice.
- Although the Thursday evening Prayer Group will not meet, a prayer guide will be available on line each week.
- Friendship House is closed until further notice.
- Life magazine has been produced and is available on line. Hard copies are available on request.
- DVD copies of the recorded Sunday services are available on request from the Treasurer.
The Congregational Board & Kirk Session meetings have been cancelled.
Communication is going to be an issue in the next few weeks and months and if you have access, please check the Church web-site for up to date information.
I would ask you to be aware of and follow the latest guidance issued by the Government and the NHS and would encourage anyone who is in a vulnerable group or who is in close contact with someone else who might be vulnerable, and to anyone who feels even slightly ill, to consider staying at home.
The question arises as this situation develops, is how can we maintain our community, our friendships, the joy of meeting and worshipping with others? There are no easy answers and we won’t really know how this is going develop and affect us for some time. Perhaps we could phone someone for a chat and even pray together because it is more important than ever at this time, to stay connected with each other. Remember not everyone is on social media.