Easter Letter from Duncan
Here’s Duncan’s Easter Congregational letter, which includes news about the resumption of physical services in the Church. Read it here or below.
On Tuesday 23rd March , the UK marked the first anniversary of the national lockdown with a minutes silence. There was plenty to reflect on. It’s been a year of great suffering for so many who have been impacted by the Covid 19 virus. More than a 125,000 deaths in the UK, countless millions impacted by the loss of loved ones around the world, economic hardships and social isolation. In the midst of reflecting on these difficult and bleak experiences, we give thanks for the remarkable work done by scientists around the world in producing several approved vaccines. The current vaccination programme offers the World a way out of a constant cycle of misery caused by Covid 19. It also offers us hope that life in Scotland will move towards some kind of “new normal” as the Spring progresses.
In parallel with the wider reflections on the last year, as a congregation we have cause to be very thankful to God for all his goodness towards us during these past 12 months. The Internet has been such a blessing to us in terms of being able to continue to meet for worship Sunday by Sunday via livestream. I don’t think any of us could ever have imagined a scenario where for 52 consecutive weeks, we shared together remotely. Nothing compares with the experience of meeting together in person, but during the last year we have continued to enjoy a strong sense of connection and sharing Sunday by Sunday. It was great to view all the greetings being shared from far and wide, as we led the services from our home. It was also such a blessing to have so many more folk joining us online compared to the numbers who used to meet in the building.
When the lockdown came, we also wondered how we would cope financially without the income which was regularly being given at the Sunday services. The financial projections were looking pretty dire last April! One year later, I am grateful to be able to acknowledge your generosity as a congregation. The Annual Accounts for 2020 indicate that we were able to fulfil all our financial commitments for the year, and have a small surplus. The Stated Annual meeting scheduled for earlier this month required to be postponed, as it’s apparently not competent in church law to have such a meeting online. We look forward to presenting the accounts to the congregation at a meeting later in the Spring, and recognising with gratitude the ways in which we have worked and shared together over these past 12 months.
Earlier this week, the Scottish Executive confirmed that church buildings can reopen for worship. The Kirk Session have decided to continue with our livestream services for several more weeks, and plan to have our first service back in the church building on Sunday 25th April. At this current moment, with only around 40 able to attend the services in person, we don’t have the technology to broadcast services live from the church building which incorporate pre-recorded worship singing. The ban on congregational singing continues. Over the next 4 weeks, we have significant work to do in terms of working out technical solutions, creating an audio visual rota and hopefully identifying some worship leaders to sing and play on a rota basis. I’m grateful to my son Peter who was willing to sing and play live for nearly every Sunday over the past year. I’m also grateful to Iain Ross and Laurence Cload for all their work and planning in relation to a return to the building. Over the past year, a relatively small number of people have carried the responsibility for leading and facilitating the weekly services. Our aim is to widen that base substantially in the lead up to 25th April.
Sadly, we are not going to be meeting in the building until 25th April but there are a variety of different resources available to encourage you during Holy Week. The Moderator, Rev Martin Fair, is posting a video reflection every day from Palm Sunday, and these can be accessed via our website. There is also a joint Inverness Churches service for Good Friday which can also be accessed via our website. We will also be gathering to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday at 10am (via livestream) . I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Dempster for all his work during the last year in keeping us up to date though his work on the Church website. I am also very grateful to Chris Watt for his editing work in relation to the Sunday worship services.
As my various scribblings draw to a close, I look back on the last year with gratitude and to the year ahead with much hope. The church building will reopen soon as will the Anchor Café. We will meet again soon, and we will be able to share in worship face to face.
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.” ( Psalm 122 v1)
Wishing you a joyful Easter
Grace & Peace