PRIVATE PRAYER TIME

The Kirk Session of Kirkcudbright Parish Church are in the process of formulating plans to allow limited opening of our Church premises for private prayer. The Church of Scotland have issued a 35 page guidance on how to ensure that this and various other church related activities can be safely restarted.

It is hoped therefore to be able by July to open the Church building on a limited basis for private prayer, perhaps on Wednesdays & Sundays, with appropriate safety measures in place.

We will need volunteers to allow this to happen. If you would like to offer a couple of hours of your time on these days to staff the Church, please contact our Session Clerk by email: session@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk or alternatively use the details on our 'Contacts' page.

Thank you for your assistance.

Editor
 

MAILBOX AND E-MAIL ADDRESS CHANGES

Over the next few weeks, our Church e-mail system will be starting the process of migrating to a new series of email addresses, and the address for the newsletter editor, along with many others, will change. Needless to say, this is not just “change for the sake of change”, but part of a well thought-out plan to prepare our Church community in Kirkcudbright for the “new normal” world that we are approaching in which worship will operate and be increasingly presented in innovative online ways, as well as in our more traditional gatherings in church buildings. More Church related I.T. developments are planned as the year progresses, and we’ll keep you informed of these as they are introduced!

Ron McHugh and Paul Rigby-Jones have already generously contributed of their time and I.T. expertise to this ongoing project, and will continue further work on development of the plans which we have for our Church community. Our Church is enormously grateful to them for taking forward this project & turning it into reality.

Most of the new e-mail addresses will end with: “@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk”.  

Eg. “office@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk”; “session@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk” etc., etc.

The new e-mail address for the Newsletter Editor is:

“newseditor@kirkcudbrightchurchofscotland.uk”

I shall of course continue to monitor the editor’s previous mailbox for a few months, as I would hate to miss any of your very welcome contributions!

Editor
 

KIRKCUDBRIGHT PARISH CHURCH - AFTER CORONAVIRUS

Do you remember early 2020? What were you doing? Planning that holiday by a foreign beach, about to head off on that cruise you always wanted to go on. How many of us saw the storm that was brewing on the other side of the planet? Then lockdown, furloughing and social distancing became the words on everyone’s lips. The sad daily review of the deaths caused by a virus that escaped from some wild creature and entered a human race with no immunity to its ravages. All in the space of a few months. The world has changed and may never be the same again. So, like all creatures we must adapt our ways, our lifestyle. We within the Christian community in this town must do the same. It is how successful we are and how prepared we are to make those uncomfortable adaptions that will determine our fate.

When the grandchildren want to speak to Granny and Grandpa, they do so on-line. Zoom and Skype are the way things are done now. And it is the Grandparents that are making the call. Never has there been so many “connected” oldies. It is fair to say that most families in this land are routinely using some form of on-line social media networking. Some, of course, are just not able to connect with technology and that is a serious issue

Covid-19 has also had a devastating effect on businesses, hotels and local economies and will no doubt bring poverty and distress to many. The financial crisis that covid-19 has left us with will haunt us in the UK and indeed throughout the world for years to come. Churches will not be immune to this financial maelstrom. Even before covid-19 most churches in our area, have operated routinely in the red. We have only avoided this problem in recent times thanks to several generous legacies.

The world has changed for many workers too, or at least those lucky enough to have kept their jobs. When my daughter returns to work after lockdown, she will be, like many, only able to physically be at work two days a week. For the remaining days she will work at home connecting into her organisations computer system.

All these changes to lifestyle, how we communicate, financial worries, fears over employment, changes to work patterns, the sheer uncertainty of life that covid-19 has brought is quite a difficult thing to comprehend. Let us face it, none of us has ever, in our lifetimes, seen a world change so dramatically so rapidly.

But, what about Kirkcudbright Parish Church, are we going to survive? Can we adapt to the new way of doing things?

You know the old joke about “how many church elders does it take to change a lightbulb”: change!

Even before covid-19 changes were being put in place that will ultimately affect every Church of Scotland community throughout the land. The first stages of a Church of Scotland Radical Action Plan (RAP) is under way. RAP proclaims as its main banner the slogan “well equipped spaces in the right places.” Does that refer to us you may ask? The events of the last months may indeed hasten the implementation of RAP.

So, what do we need to do and are we up for it?

The Church is after all not closed. Only our buildings are closed. As a Church we are essentially functioning as normal, it is just how we do things that have changed and must continue to change.

Well perhaps the first thing is “do not panic” as a certain Dads Army character would say. We have the technology. If Granny and Grandpa can go on-line, so can we.

Indeed, for those of you in the know, the church has run an 11-30 am on-line Zoom service every Sunday morning since the start of the lockdown. Regularly we have ~ 55 plus connections and thus around 70 attendees. Most attendees are local, but some connections are from quite a distance away. It is a short service, just over 30 minutes in duration. There is a further chat time for half an hour at 12-15pm.

House Groups are continuing and using Zoom. These services and meetings are all about keeping a Christian community together. It is only through social interaction that the church will hold together.

But this is just the beginning. Soon most of the churches business will be done on-line (Zoom). But more important for the church we will need to rethink our whole modus operandi. It will take time, but we must find new ways to play our role within the community.

Is the church fully behind these changes. Sadly, no. The simple reality is that for many, having to change so many “lightbulbs” all at once is taking a little while to sink in. Hopefully, the skill set required to enable the church to survive and adapt will be put in place. If it is left to just a few to soldier on and carry the burden alone then the system will crash and no amount of “switch off and switch on again” will reset the system. We have total system failure.

If we as an organisation cannot adapt, or if there is not a willingness to learn new tricks, the lightbulbs will not get changed, and the spiritual light that has for so long glowed in our Christian community will fade, and the church will fall into obscurity. “Do not panic” all will be well. We pray.

If you read the Church of Scotland articles on its website or read about how Churches throughout the land are coping with covid-19 in the media, there are innumerable stories of Christian communities positively thriving at this time. Some churches get hundreds of connections to their on-line services. Yes, they may not be the same people who normally attend church, but that is the point. At this time of turmoil many are asking fundamental questions that we as Christians need to be able to help with. Some Church of Scotland minis-ters have been using on-line services for years. These services do not replace, but supplement-ing Sunday worship. Perhaps this is the return to the early Christian tradition of house churches all be it on-line.

The Church is not closed, it will never close, it is merely us that need to operate in a different way.

Is our Church in Kirkcudbright fit for the future?

That will be for time and you, the reader to decide.

Are you any good at “changing lightbulbs”?

Will you keep the light of the world glowing in our (virtual) church?

Ron McHugh
 

ONLINE DONATIONS

During the Covid-19 crisis the church has experienced a great downturn in its funding from members of the congregation and general public. We should be very grateful for any donations you may wish to make online whilst our buildings are obliged to remain closed.

This is very easy to do securely via the Church of Scotland website – just follow these simple steps:-

1. Click on this link –  http://cos.churchofscotland.org.uk/donate/ – then in Step 1:-
2. Click on the Donate to a Congregation button.
3. Enter Kirkcudbright in the church identifier box below it.
4. Complete the rest of the page as you see fit.
5. Click on Donate at the bottom of the page.

We thank you sincerely for your support in these difficult times!
 

CHURCH INCOME DURING COVID-19

As I have mentioned before, our income is being severely reduced as the Church is closed, hall lettings have ceased and Summer fund raising activities have been cancelled.

Thank you to those who have continued to support the Church with their weekly offerings by posting me cheques or leaving envelopes in the mailbox.

However the Bank of Scotland is handling only ‘essential’ transactions to minimise contact between customers and staff, and I am trying to comply their wishes.

It would assist greatly, therefore, if members who normally make regular contributions by Open Plate, FWO or Gift Aid envelopes would change their method of payment to a Bank Standing Order.

By this method, the donation is credited directly to the Church bank account, without the need for me to physically attend the Bank.
The payment can be at whatever interval you decide-weekly, monthly or quarterly etc., can be Gift Aided or Non Gift Aided, and can be terminated at any time you wish.

For those using internet banking, there will probably be an option under ‘Payments’ –‘set up standing order’ and if not on internet banking , then a standing order request form can be obtained from your bank.

If you would like to help by using this method of payment, please contact myself: 

Bill Borthwick: “finance@kirkcudbrightparishchurch.org.uk” or Margo Kerr (Gift Aid Administrator): “margo.kerr@talk21.com” for details of the Kirkcudbright Parish Church bank account.

Thank You.

Bill Borthwick,
Treasurer