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Church Closings

To: all Clergy, Lay Readers, Vestry Secretaries and Treasurers

 

Coronavirus – Cessation of Church Services

The College of Bishops continues to follow closely the developing situation in relation to coronavirus. The rapidly changing picture brings about changes on an almost daily basis. The College continues to hold in its prayers the clergy and laity of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the people of Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole.

The College expresses its thanks to everyone in the Scottish Episcopal Church for all that they are doing to adapt to current circumstances and continue in the provision of care and pastoral support. Clergy and lay readers are encouraged to be in touch with their Diocesan Bishop in connection with any matters of difficulty or concern.

At this time, the College offers further guidance as follows. It should also be emphasised that in a rapidly changing situation, the guidance that follows must be regarded as subject to any public health guidance or direction, which must take precedence.

  • Advice issued last night by the Scottish Government is to the effect that church services should cease. Consequently, the Bishops ask that all gatherings for worship, including small gatherings such as house groups, should be discontinued until further notice.
  • Church buildings can be kept open as a place for people to come and pray. However, if a church is open for private prayer, notices should be clearly displayed asking that visitors wash their hands on entry to the church.
  • The province is working on plans to make worship available online. The bishops encourage participation in the broader Eucharistic life of the church in this way and emphasise the such online involvement is a form of participation in the Eucharistic community, even though participants cannot physically partake of the bread or wine.
  • Clergy and lay leaders must feel free to self-isolate themselves when that is appropriate either to safeguard their own health or the health of others. Again, however, any member of clergy or lay leader needing to self-isolate is asked to discuss the matter with the diocesan Bishop. Where a decision to self-isolate is taken, the bishops expect congregations to be understanding and supportive. Self-isolation, except in the case of illness, does not mean that ministry and pastoral care must cease. Contact and communication can still be maintained over the telephone, by email or other electronic means.
  • The taking of funerals may give rise to specific concerns. It may simply not be possible for family relatives or friends of the deceased's to be able to attend a funeral service as usual. However, clergy can still take a funeral at the graveside or crematorium, even if those present are limited to clergy and funeral directors. Again, in cases of difficulty, bishops encourage clergy to discuss such matters with them.
  • In the light of the public health recommendation that non-essential travel should not be undertaken, it is clearly inappropriate to continue with meetings which would draw people from a wider area – such as regional gatherings. Institutions, licensings etc will need to be dealt with differently from normal, and, again, such matters should be discussed with the diocesan Bishop.
  • In some cases, where local income is dependent on regular giving through the weekly collection or giving envelopes, it is possible that congregations might encounter difficulties with cash flow. Churches are encouraged to consider alerting congregations to such potential difficulties and encouraging alternative ways of giving, for example by standing order. In cases where it is thought difficulty might arise, treasurers are encouraged to contact their diocesan office at an early stage to discuss whether any form of support can be made available.
  • Consideration should be given to resilience planning in current circumstances. As a bare minimum, churches are asked to ensure that they have clear records for detailing those who hold keys for access to churches and halls and of the names of bank signatories and payroll officers, as well as plans on how to deal with circumstances if such individuals become ill or have to self-isolate.

The Most Rev Mark Strange

Primus

From the Interim Bishop: The Most Revd Mark Strange

DIOCESE OF GLASGOW AND GALLOWAY

Scottish Episcopal Church

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From the Interim Bishop: The Most Revd Mark Strange

 

6th January 2020

To the people of the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway:

Can I firstly thank you all for the prayers and kind words offered to Jane and our family during the past four weeks. We were able to hold my Father in Law’s funeral on the Feast of the Epiphany in his home town of Padiham.

I wish to inform the Diocese that there will be a meeting of the Episcopal Synod on Saturday 18th January at twelve noon. The meeting will be in the Cathedral and will be constituted by the Celebration of the Eucharist. All are welcome to attend as observers, the main business will be the Election of the Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway by the College of Bishops.

Please continue to pray for the Diocese and the College of Bishops at this time. I would also wish to record my thanks to the many people who have offered suggestions, support and in some cases themselves into this process; you have been a joy to minister with.

Blessings

The Most Revd Mark Strange

Primus

Rector’s Report for Greyfriars Kirkcudbright AGM Advent Sunday 2019

 

CONTEXT : I am now over three years in post as Rector of Greyfriars Kirkcudbright & St. Mary’s Gatehouse. I am also Interim Priest for All Saints Challoch ( Newton Stewart), St. John’s Stranraer, and St. Ninian’s Portpatrick. In this extra responsibility I am greatly assisted by our own retired clergy Bishop Gordon Mursell, and Revs. Denis Samways and John Martin , and in Stranraer by Canon Nigel Newton. The Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway continue to part- fund our Incumbency, so it would only seem fair to pastorally care for our neighbours . As a member of Diocesan Council I work hard to ensure promotion of local church concerns ( much as I love Clyde-side, we do not want to become Glasgow- centric!) . In November I was honoured to be appointed Chair of the Galloway Regional Council where all of our Episcopal churches between Gretna and Stranraer meet in fellowship largely to encourage each other, often in small rural settings . Sadly we still not have a new Bishop ( following the retirement of our much- loved Bishop Gregor Duncan who visited us twice in recent years). Barbara Hawkesford , our dedicated Lay Rep and I have attended various meetings in Glasgow, Paisley , and Kilmarnock to represent Greyfriars in this process . Her report will also be presented to the AGM . Most Rev. Mark Strange , also Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, continues as our Interim Bishop .

CHURCH & PEOPLE : I have for over 35 years in sacred ministry preached that it is the people not the building that matters . However I have come to the conclusion that the two are inseparable. On 27th. October we celebrated the Centenary Consecration of Greyfriars . Given that there has actually been a worshipping community here since the mid 15th. century we are moved by this beautiful edifice having been a sacred space down through the centuries, including the trauma of civil war, local rebellion , and the horror of two world wars . I am as keen as the next cleric to encourage a modern relevance to our ancient liturgy and biblical truths ; I am not so sure of the national clamouring to “improve” on either for the sake of change in itself . This having been said we once again had a Jazz Eucharist , a Sea Sunday , and a Pentecost Sunday when we hosted an ecumenical service and claimed capacity numbers. We are returning to the system of a joint service with St. Mary’s where there is a 5th. Sunday in the month , and these are proving popular with both congregations. As always Easter, Harvest, and Christmas attendances are good, but general numbers continue to maintain and on average are up on previous years . Smaller services are meaningful when the quiet of our church lends itself to reflective worship and contemplative prayer, and the ever popular traditional Sung Evensong. The prayer tree in church testifies to how much Greyfriars can mean to even the casual visiting stranger . Our contribution to the Arts & Crafts Festival continues to be innovative and we are increasingly popular as a venue for concerts .

CHURCH & SERVICE : We have a hard- working vestry which manages the church and finances. There are no passengers ! Whilst each person “ gets on with it” in exemplary manner , the particular posts of Hon Secretary , Gwen Shaw ( who is also our Child and Vulnerable Adult officer) , Hon Treasurer Anthony Bird , and Lay rep Barbara Hawkesford already mentioned ( ably assisted by Doreen Blackadder who is also Greyfriars ecumenical rep.) , and of course Property Convenor Nigel Davies who died suddenly and is still so much missed , but now “replaced” by the quietly effective Bob Reddaway , and John Boyd who manages Greyfriars House for us . Vivien Dania continues to organise our main fundraiser Winter Wonderland with energy and enthusiasm. A small army of hard – working volunteers including recently appointed eucharistic assistants, readers, intercessors, sides- persons, flower-providers and arrangers, cleaners etc makes our worship more accessible and meaningful for everyone, not leastly the Rector!                                                                                However it has to be sadly noted the passing of dedicated church members who left behind a godly heritage . We cannot fail to mention by name those who have died since our last AGM; Diana Christie, John Wilkinson, Nigel Davies, Mavis Laver , Anna Abbott, and Jose Bird. There are others, with their mourning families , perhaps not so well – known, for whom Greyfriars was a special place. RIP Margaret Rodgers, Margaret Corcoran, Rory Gillespie, William Young , Paddy Hooper.                                                                                        We are most grateful too for the organ talents of Bishop Gordon, David Preston , Eileen Cawthorne , and Pauline Roe, who enhance our worship .                                                                                                             Thank you everyone ---.

CHURCH & YOUNG PEOPLE : Steph Moore and Rosie Main are the present dedicated teachers who facilitate our Sunday School . Drostie Tame had to leave due to family commitments; we also appreciate all she did. It’s hard work keeping alive children’s interest and commitment. We are especially grateful to parents and grandparents who encourage them. As rector I continue to be passionate about the school assemblies we provide in Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse , and Twynholm primary schools, and in Kirkcudbright Academy . A singularly successful link has been with the Stewartry Sea Cadets where I am honoured padre. Not only are they the very smartly turned-out mainstay of our growing July Sea Sunday service ( which also this year had reps from the Royal Navy , Merchant Navy , Coast- guard, RNLI, and Fishermen’s Mission); they were central to the Remembrance Day parade in Kirkcudbright and even televised . On 26th. November I was deeply honoured by the Unit to receive a Commission from HM the Queen to be specifically a Royal Navy Sea Cadets chaplain ( yes she personally signed it !).

CHURCH & COMMUNICATION: We must never underestimate the value of our weekly pewsheet , so ably compiled by Gwen Shaw . For example , the people prayed for are so meaningful to so many, often miles away from us . It is frequently too the first-stop for information about services and church events . For some years both our LINK magazine and website was under the skilful direction of Rachel Inglis, who has also facilitated special reflective services in Advent and Lent . She has had to hand this over . However we have been most fortunate to secure the skills of James Burkitt, a former librarian and reviewer , as the new LINK editor .Thanks too to Vivien Dania and Sheila Catchpole who helps produce and distribute publication, and to SCVS who do so much of our printing . Meanwhile Randy Rushing, with Ken Smyth in Gatehouse , enthusiastically manages our Website. Keep the articles to both publications flowing please !

THE GREYFRIARS of the FUTURE : By 2050 approximately we will have been worshipping in the oldest part of our church for some six centuries. Although I am quite certain I will not be your Rector by that stage , I am fairly sure the church WILL be there by the Grace of God .

Stephen Hazlett

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Posted: 31st May 2018

As you may be aware, the law regarding data protection is changing and the new EU legislation came into effect on 25th May 2018. The GDPR replaces the UK Data Protection Act and is a really positive step towards individuals having more control over how their data is used and how they are contacted.

The rector, vestry secretary and treasurer would like you to know that any of your personal information that may be held for church purposes is kept safely and will not be shared with any third party. This policy statement can now be found on the 'Vestry Matters' page.