Covid-19 Update - 24 April 2021
Permission was given on 23 March by the Scottish Government to reopen places of worship under the restrictions currently in place.
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 – 29 April 2021
Finishing something can be very satisfying, whether it’s a difficult task, an enthralling book, a challenging crossword, a complicated jigsaw or a match or game which you manage to win. One of the great challenges in life is to finish well, and the Book of Deuteronomy describes how Moses did so. If ever a person had a good end to his life it was Moses:
Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days until the time of weeping and mourning was over. Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses. Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel (Deuteronomy 34:7-10 & 12).
Before he died, Moses had planned for Joshua to be his successor, and we see here one of the few examples of the anointing of God passing from one generation to another. Moses had also blessed all the different tribes of Israel with some extraordinary words, and, after blessing each tribe, he said There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:26-27). (‘Jeshurun’ means ‘the upright one’, i.e. Israel.)
Moses seems to have realised that death was not the end, as he trusted the eternal God and he knew that his arms were everlasting. This does not entirely remove the pain and sadness of death, and the people wept and mourned when Moses died. It is natural and important to grieve and not to repress our God-given emotions. However, there is a difference between grief with no hope and the grief of the believer who has hope in the resurrection: Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
The opening words of many funerals and memorial services are often those great, reassuring and powerful words of Moses: The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). May we, like Moses, live in a close relationship with God and know them to be true.
GIVE THANKS FOR
· Our families and friends and for the love and support they give us.
· Church Services – it is good that our Church is open for worship on Sunday mornings. Pray for Fergus as he comes out of shielding and returns to St Paul’s to lead worship this Sunday as well as recording a service on line.
· Technology – which allows us to keep in touch with family and friends. This has been a real encouragement and blessing to us. We also give thanks that we have been able to ‘meet up’ with our friends at St Paul’s each Sunday during our Coffee/Chat conversations.
· Access to God’s Word and the encouragement and blessing we receive from it.
· Continuing roll-out of vaccines to the population – giving thanks that more people have received their 2nd vaccine.
· The decreasing number of cases – 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 – the lovely countryside with all the evidence 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 both in person at St Paul’s and on line each week. We give thanks that he is able to return to St Paul’s this Sunday.
· Our Church family – this has been a challenging year for our friends in St Paul’s - pray that they will have the confidence to get out and about more as restrictions ease. Pray for those who are anxious about their own health; the health of a loved one; or they have suffered bereavement.
· Friendship House – The Committee is planning to open Friendship House from the beginning of July – initially on a Thursday and Friday. Pray for guidance for the Committee as they work through all the protocols to ensure that not only will Friendship House be safe, but will also continue to be a welcoming environment to both ‘old’ and ‘new’ customers.
· Glasgow Street Pastors - plan to return to patrolling the streets in both the city centre and the west end on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th May - not all-night patrols initially but from 1.00 to 3.00 p.m. and 8.30 to 10.30 pm. Pray for the volunteers who will take part in two one-hour Prayer Walks which will be held this weekend in Glasgow City Centre and the West End on Friday 30 April and Saturday 1 May.
· All Healthcare Professionals – praying that more outpatient clinics will operate so that people with other serious illnesses and medical conditions will be able to receive treatment.
· Induction of Ministers to Churches – praying especially for Ministers who have taken up their first Charge in the past year, when they have had limited contact with their parishioners or preached in person at Church every Sunday.
· Police, Firefighters – As restrictions ease, and more people are out and about, pray for our emergency service personnel who may sometimes work in tense situations - praying for their safety.
· People who feel vulnerable – especially for people who live alone; are not feeling well with either a physical illness, or suffer from depression. During this past 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. They will also have missed contact with support groups who were vital to their well-being.
· Preshal, Lodging House Mission – the work that they do is a lifeline to many lonely and vulnerable 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 a huge 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.
· NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran. She has already served more than 5 years in prison in iran. Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago. This has been a very difficult time for her husband, her daughter and wider family. This has been a major ordeal for Nazanin and we pray for her physical and mental health at this difficult time.
· BRAZIL - is in the grip of a health and social emergency with many hospitals and clinics lacking basic medical equipment to treat the very ill. Over 1000 babies have died of Covid, which is heart-breaking for the families. Tearfund works with local churches to help communities build water sources such as dams and wells. A study found that 60% of Brazilian households have food insecurity. The vast majority of people who live in the favelas (a type of low-income informal settlement) work in the informal economy, as cleaners in homes or helping to bake cakes, so when businesses close or houses stop using them, they feel the impact.
· INDIA – the overall situation in India is desperate with a very high number of people suffering from being actively affected by this virus. - PLEASE PRAY FOR
- For the critically ill and those who are showing signs of the virus and are frightened about what’s to follow.
- Those in hospital, that they may be well looked after and given the treatment they need.
- Availability of Oxygen and other drugs and that they may be genuine (there have been cases of fake products being sold to people who are in desperate need).
- Medical Professionals who are working tirelessly to bring healing and comfort to the people.
- Families and people who care for their sick and those who are well, that the virus stays away from them so they can carry on with their caring responsibilities.
- Those coping with the grief of losing loved one(s)
- People of the world and different governments who are stepping in to help with the supply of medical equipment and supplies, vaccines and drugs.
- The government and people in power in India, that they may see the need of the masses before their own greed.
· MYANMAR - front-line medical workers are finding themselves in a precarious position, torn between their patients and working for a military government enforcing a brutal crackdown on the country. The day after the military deposed Myanmar's elected government in a coup on 1 February, the hospital closed its doors. Doctors, nurses and other medical workers all walked out in protest and have not returned. Myanmar's public healthcare system accounts for around 80% of all hospitals and clinics and provides heavily subsidised care to the country's 54 million people. This virtually vanished overnight - and in the midst of a global pandemic.
· 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 – See Vine Trust website for more information.
· MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP, CHRISTIAN AID AND TEAR FUND - as they seek to bring help and 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.