You will see below an update from Scott re the new guidelines for meeting in public. It's good to see things returning to some sort of normaty in our communities and in time that will apply to meeting as a congregation again. With that in mind we have included a link to a good article by Sam Alberry with his thoughts about getting back to church again - worth clicking on the link and having a read. I wonder if you will agree or not.
Over the last few weeks it's been good to hear from Maxwell folk as they share their experiences of lockdown. This week Scott Urquhart shares what is certainly destined to be turned into a 4 part TV drama in days to come.
Enjoy the mag!
Message from Scott
Many thanks to all who helped "hold the fort" when Anita and I were on holiday recently.
It is exciting to hear that from 15th July the Scottish Government has given permission for congregations to open their buildings for worship (limited to 50 worshippers).
As you will realize from your experience of going into shops, hairdressers and restaurants, this is not simply a matter of opening the doors and welcoming each other back into the premises. There are considerable preparatory works to be undertaken. We have already begun these preparations (we have been buying signs, special cleaning products and strategizing how we can most safely move around the buildings). We have a team working on this and they are rightly prioritizing health and safety.
For the time being, our buildings will remain closed and we shall continue online worship . We will keep you abreast of changes.
While we might see other church buildings around us open sooner than our own, I am convicted that it is right we work to timescales that fit our own ability to open in a safe and helpful manner.
With warmest regards in Christ,
Christianity Explored at Maxwell
Our Christianity Explored online course is off to a good start with a very encouraging number of guests for week 1. If anyone else would like to join us for week 2 on Sunday 19th they'd be very welcome - it's not necessary to attend week 1 first. We'll be looking at a very exciting topic, namely: Who Jesus Really Is.
If you know anyone who doesn't yet know the answer please invite them to come along!
Sundays at 7pm - 8pm.
( Zoom joining instructions on request to firstname.lastname@example.org )
Thanks again to Sandra McN who is helping us reflect each week on the questions we have looked at so far in 2020.
Did God create us unable to keep his law?
No, but because of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of creation is fallen; we are all born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature and unable to keep God’s law.
As the UK eases out of Lockdown, whether it’s the crowded beaches of Bournemouth, littering in parks or fly-tipping on the Old Drove Road, I am sure many of us will have found occasion recently to ask/exclaim indignantly, “What is wrong with people?!”
It is a valid question, as is this week’s Question: “Did God create us unable to keep his law?” Clearly, something went very wrong. There is something wrong with people.
This Question is a tricky one. The Answer begins with “No, but…” I think that there was a missed opportunity to dwell for a moment on the first answer “No.” It changes, for me anyway, the meaning of the “us” in the question.
“Did God create us unable to keep the law?” I think that this question is not, in the first instance, talking personally about you and me somehow – this is not the creation of each individual in their mother’s womb – not creation in an individual sense.
The “us” here, that God created was “us” as humanity. That humanity was created able to keep the law, but humanity (who at that point in time were namely Adam and Eve) were disobedient. Therefore we (humanity) are fallen and we, individually and personally are therefore “born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature and unable to keep God’s law.” So, although the “us” in the question is a general “us”, the “we are all” in the question is individual:
“… sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all men, because all sinned…” Romans 6 vs 12
The Urquharts’ Lockdown Experience
2020 already has been quite a year of challenges for the Urquhart family.
We started a 14 week extensive renovation of our home in March and had key times all planned out quite cleverly– or so we thought.
I was looking forward to a good friend’s 40th celebrations in Prague just before the school holidays, during which we were spending a week at our caravan, then a few weeks in Disney World with the entire English side of the extended family and finishing with a few days in Miami with friends – and then back to our caravan for a week. Gemma then had an overseas student reunion in Vigo, Spain.
This was to coincide with key elements of the house renovations, external walls were coming down, utilities being switched off and the roof being off. A few key weeks of work – and we could always have a week or two (definitely no more than that!!) at my parents.
All neatly planned out and very excited children (and parents) ...
And then lockdown came…. No Prague, no Vigo, Disney closed and the family trip cancelled, no Miami and no catch up with friends ….so we packed up and headed for our static caravan...only to get a call en route to say that it was closing too. Our appeals to the site office for a concession given that our home was now uninhabitable fell on deaf ears – so we headed to my parents instead.
There was no school leaver’s prom for Holly to look forward to, although it appears the obligatory Leavers Hoodie must be worn 24/7. S1 induction days were hastily rearranged and cut short. The builder and his team had to leave the site too….
However, 14 weeks later and we’ve all made the most of the time at Granny and Papa’s. Trying to form some routine and being organised has made it easier for the 6 of us (and Belle the dog). There’s been many Zoom calls to friends near and far. Loads of home baking – and the subsequent enjoyment of it, Thursday night quizzes and more Scrabble than thought possible. Much time playing netball in the back garden and some socially distanced fun with cousins, with sunset walks to the trig point at the High School – and rolling down the hill with the midgies whilst waiting for the sun to set.
Home schooling (now known as ‘shouting with snacks’) and working from home has relied much on the’ Pensioner Broadband’ working adequately!! Jessica had her 9th Birthday Party in lockdown – and has the t-shirt to prove it!! Doorstep presents and video messages from her friends and a socially distanced Sausage Sizzle with the cousins in a well-decorated garden made it one to remember.
We feel blessed to have been able to spend time with the extended family. A time we have been able to make fond memories of. On hearing tales of grandparents missing seeing grandchildren, being bored and finding it quiet or missing company – that was certainly not the case at number 95!!
Facebook church services have been great – but will I be able to take my coffee and toast into the sanctuary when we return??!!
Now that the situation is easing, the builder is back on site and making great progress, the family have been able to get to the caravan and also visit the other set of grandparents in Liverpool. Our holiday spirit not dented, a speculative booking of a car ferry to France looks like its paying dividends and we will be one of the lucky few to get away somewhere.
And then until the house is completed, maybe ‘just a couple of weeks’ back at Granny’s – but then we’ve said that before…
Moves on the Board
After over four years of intense and extremely important work our Fabric Convener, Brian Bell (the one without the hat!), has decided to pass on his wee black book of essential contacts. Brian took over from Chisholm MacRae and not long afterwards started a major overhaul of our premises. We now have new windows, doors and fire exits throughout the hall building, a new combi boiler to aid our original 50 year old boiler, renewed toilets throughout, new floor coverings, upgraded lighting and more besides. Brian's last main task involved the refurbishment of the church. A new heating system was installed a couple of years ago and then we replaced our pews and hardwood flooring throughout and topped it all off with the lovely new welcoming door to our sanctuary. Well done, good and faithful servant!
So, who is the new keeper of the wee black book? We are delighted to confirm that Stephen Pryce, who did such a fantastic job project managing the church refurbishment, has agreed to take over as our new Fabric Convener. Stephen oversaw the refurbishment with his typical grace, humour and patience and we wish him well in his new position.
Why I Can’t Wait to Get Back to Church
Sam Alberry is author of 'Why Bother With Church'. In this short article he gives the reasons he is looking forward to things returning to normal again on Sundays...
Well it’s been many months now. March 15 was when my church switched to an online-only Sunday ministry. Since then, it’s been a new rhythm and pattern for Sunday mornings. Church on a screen hasn’t been ideal, but here’s the thing: at least there’s still been weekly ministry for me to receive. For all its drawbacks and limitations, I’ve been taught, fed, encouraged, and inspired by the ministry of my church during Covid. However frustrating this season has been on so many fronts, I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been without having at least this ministry available.
Here are some other things I’ve loved about it:
I don’t have to get out of my PJs
I can pause the sermon for a bathroom break
There’s no trouble parking
There are no awkward conversation
Yet for all this, I can’t wait to get back to church. To be there, in real time, physically present....
Read the rest of the article to find out the three reasons Sam gives for looking forward to being back at church here.
We heard about some of Jack Geddes's work with the Glasgow City Mission last week and if you want to know more their website has a wide range of information. Their ministry to those in need in Glasgow has not stopped with the COVID-19 crisis, they have just adapted. Instead of welcoming guests to the projects they are in weekly phone contact with more than 220 guests. Communication with people who feel particularly isolated is essential. They are also making food deliveries three times a week. As lockdown starts to ease they are now meeting guests for one-to-one walks to provide support and help guests deal with any issues they may be facing.
They also have some job opportunities at the moment and are seeking to appoint a Lead Practitioner for Attainment, early years, and a Nursery Worker for their Child and Family Centre in Govan.. https://www.glasgowcitymission.com/about-us/vacancies
Ladybird Book of Maxwell