Saturday 1st August 2020
Firstly can I say I hope this note finds you all keeping safe and well.
It’s lovely to be back amongst you after our fortnight’s break visiting family in Skye. You are all so dear to us.
Attached below is our regular links to our online Worship events for Sunday 2nd August.
It’s been a long journey. Therefore, I have been keen to keep you all updated with all that is happening around the church.
Despite all the limitations and restrictions, the life and witness of the church continues. We have faced many challenges due to the global pandemic, yet there have been precious opportunities!
It has been a sharp learning curve learning how to adapt to an online ministry. I confess that I could be quite dismissive of technology and social media, yet these platforms have now become our mission field.
Since Sunday 22nd March 2020, we have endeavoured to produce weekly worship services online, and an online worship experience for our Sunday Club. I hope and pray that you have all managed to access our weekly Worship Services in some format. Our church website has a dedicated page where we host videos for our Morning Devotions, Sunday Club worship time, and our Evening Devotions - https://stevenstonhighkirk.com/sunday-devotions
Over these months I believe we now broadcast to more people outside of the church than we would normally do within our four walls!
Since May we have established a phone line for people who have no access to the internet - 01294 444336 (local call rates).
We are so grateful to Margaret Durham who has continued with our Crisis Bag ministry, and are thankful to God for the opening of the North Ayrshire Hub which has provided meals and other essentials to local communities, along with the North Ayrshire Foodbank.
We continue to value and thank you all for your financial support and warm hearts of generosity. A number of you have changed to direct giving through a Standing Order, or have taken the opportunity to give online through the Church of Scotland’s designated webpage - https://cos.churchofscotland.org.uk/donate/
You will be aware by now that we are in phase 3 of lockdown. Nationally churches are permitted to open for public worship as long as churches have completed a risk assessment. Due to the work involved in making our buildings ready for public worship, Ardrossan Presbytery gave instruction that churches should not open before 16th August. Stewart McLellan & Iain Wilson, along with others, have kindly given of their time and are currently working through the guidelines.
Over the coming weeks the Kirk Session will be asked to make a decision on the timetable for re-opening, and which buildings will be used in the initial stages.
Physical 2m distancing requirements, the arrangement of our pews, and the gallery being out-of-use, will mean that our church will have a limited capacity of around 20-22 people. With the more flexible seating arrangement, our Hall will have a limited capacity of around 25. Therefore, when it comes to re-opening, we will be considering multiple worship services being held in order to accommodate those who are able to return.
If you are hoping to attend as soon as permission has been granted to open, we will be required to take your contact details and it is recommended that you wear a face covering which you should bring with you. We will not be permitted to sing, therefore, we pray that these times of fellowship will be moments where we can still experience the loveliness of Christ and the fragrance of heaven.
Remembering you all in our prayers!
With every blessing
Rev Scott Cameron
9 July 2020
The Scottish Government has announced churches may reopen for communal worship and prayer from 15 July with continued strict physical distancing and hygiene measures, as the country enters Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions. The latest updates include some relaxation of restrictions for attendance at funerals and weddings and a limited number of people will be allowed in a church building at the same time.
Rev Dr George Whyte, the Principal Clerk to the Church said:
“We welcome the news that worship services will be able to resume on a limited basis after being required to close our buildings earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 emergency. We have been grateful to the Scottish Government for the way in which they have listened to our concerns and worked with us to get to this stage.
“Ahead of today’s announcement, we have prepared guidance to help ministers and congregations as they consider if they should open their church building at this point. As we continue to live with the threat of coronavirus, ministers and congregations must consider carefully whether or not they should return to the church building in these early phases, depending on their own circumstances and the nature of their church.
“Our guidance is designed to support those who will need to implement the changes and restrictions which will need to be put in place so that congregational worship, funerals and weddings can safely take place.
"Parishioners and ministers in high risk groups may be at particular risk from infection and many will prefer to continue with online worship options at this stage. Others will know that with physical distancing and a cap on numbers that there simply will not be room for all those who might wish to attend Sunday worship.
“However, we recognise that for many the buildings themselves are an important sacred space and the opportunity to return to their place of worship, even on a limited basis, will bring spiritual and mental-health benefits.”
The Church of Scotland has created extensive guidance to help congregations as they prepare to return to church buildings. The existing guidelines will be updated in the next week following the latest updates from the Scottish Government regarding phase 3.
6th July 2020
As Stevenston High Kirk enters the early stages of Phase 3, we will still remain closed. At a recent meeting of Presbytery it was agreed that no church within the bounds of Ardrossan Presbytery will be allowed to reopen their buildings for worship until the 16th August 2020 at the earliest. No groups will therefore be able to meet in our buildings for now. We all want to get back together as soon as possible. At the same time we as a faith community are called to care for one another and that may include remaining apart to protect the most vulnerable among us.
During this time, our Kirk Session hopes to be in discussion over the coming months, as we are required to complete a “Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Reopening of Church Buildings Checklist” and “Covid-19 Risk Assessment”.
When the Covid-19 Risk Assessment is completed and all measures are in place for reopening our buildings for worship, the Risk Assessment has to be then approved by a Committee of Presbytery before we can reopen our buildings. We continue to adhere to the guidelines given by the Scottish Parliament & the Church of Scotland Offices.
During this phase, you will now be permitted to see more of your wider family and friends, and therefore we pray that you will continue to experience the peace of Christ and God’s loving presence. We thank you for your patience.
With every blessing
Rev Scott Cameron