Free Church of Scotland
AYR AND KILWINNING
I am glad to be able to inform you that the time has now come when we can open the church building for Sunday worship. This is what we have all been longing and praying for, and I am sure that you will be as happy and grateful as the elders are that this is so, even if we are a little anxious as to what a service under the current restrictions will be like.
The Kirk Session proposes (DV) to resume public worship in Ayr on Sunday 9th August 2020 at 11 am. To begin with there will be no evening service in the church but the Sunday evening Zoom service will continue as at present as will the Thursday afternoon prayer-meeting. Unfortunately, we cannot yet give a date for the resumption of the service at Kilwinning as it has not been possible to have the necessary consultations with the managers of the Playz. This Pastoral Letter is to explain the arrangements that the Session has made in order to comply as closely as possible with the Guidelines from the Scottish Government. It is important that we do so not only in the interests of our own health and safety but also as a witness to the community.
Who can come? Of course, while everyone is welcome to attend church services, there are good reasons why people in certain categories might consider it to be wise to stay away.
1. If you are ‘’shielding’ or have serious health issues you should stay away. While the restrictions on people in this category are being eased, there are still warnings about meeting with a number of other people in an enclosed space.
2. If you are unwell, especially if you are suffering from a respiratory complaint, please stay away.
3. Those in the older age-groups may consider it prudent to stay at home.
4. Anyone displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or who been in close contact with someone who has such symptoms should certainly not attend church.
5. Anyone who feels uncomfortable about attending church and meeting with other people after such a long period of isolation should not feel under any pressure to attend.
Before the service
When you arrive for the service, please remember that the social distancing rule (two metres) applies from that point, throughout the service and until you leave. Members of the same household may come in together and will be seated together. Please wait outside the church building until you are admitted. (If it is wet you may remain in your cars). A steward will admit you to the church in order.
As this process will take longer than usual please arrange to be at the church in good time. If people arrive at 10.55 in a large number (as is the normal practice), the start of the service will be unduly delayed.
When you enter your contact details will be recorded as they are required for tracking and testing. A hand sanitizer will be available in the vestibule. You will be shown through which door to enter. A box will be available for your offering envelopes.
Seats have been allocated for each of our regular worshippers and you will be shown where to sit. Please do not stop to talk to other worshippers.
Remember that we are not permitted to have more than 50 present and anyone coming after that number is reached cannot be admitted.
During the service
As there will be no pew Bibles or psalm-books you may prefer to bring your own. The words of the items of praise will be displayed on the screens as usual.
It is recommended you use face-coverings although you may take them off during the service if necessary.
Please note that although we will try to make the building as comfortable as possible it will be necessary to keep windows and internal doors open.
The service will be conducted from the pulpit and will be as close to the normal order as possible. There will be three pre-recorded items of praise. In order to avoid the possible spread of infection, we are not permitted to sing audibly but we are asking you to follow the apostolic injunction to make music in your heart to the Lord by mentally following the words
If you feel unwell during the service please make your way to the door as unobtrusively as possible.
After the service
Please wait in your seats until you are told to leave and then go to the door and out to the street as quickly as possible. You may use the hand sanitiser in the vestibule. Do not move over to sit beside or talk to another worshipper. Outside you may talk to others while observing social distancing but please stand well clear of the gateway.
Unfortunately we are not allowed to provide coffee and tea after the service. The toilet facilities in the hall are however available as usual and there will be a steward on duty there.
Lifts to church
We are aware that some of our members give others lifts to church. If you do please observe the following guidelines:
CLEAN the car in advance (including door handles, seat-belts and anything the passenger is likely to touch).
Ensure the passenger uses hand-sanitiser before entering car.
Ensure the passenger employs a face-mask and sits in the diagonally opposite corner to the driver. (The driver is also advised to use a face-mask.)
On the return journey ensure the passenger uses hand-sanitiser and puts on a mask before entering the car.
Any second passenger in the car should follow the same procedure but sit directly behind the driver.
The Kirk Session regrets that these arrangements seem so restrictive and likely to prevent social contact to what may appear an inordinate degree. We are sure however that everyone will do their best to ensure that everything we do will bring honour and glory to God and show true brotherly love and concern for one another.
May God bless us all as we seek to gather again to worship him.
KENNY BOYDInterim Moderator