Update July 2020
Greetings from Mount Pleasant! We continue in our marathon of lockdown, though we have received some positive movement toward moving out of it recently.
What we haven’t been able to do is to look each other in the eye, smile with warmth, and hug each other and we are created to need all those things in the very depth of our beings. However, we must wait a bit longer for those things to happen.
Something we have discovered during this time is that we can worship together in many ways. “Going to church” can now mean picking up the phone or turning on the computer — because the church is the people, not the place. This has become clearer than ever before and all it has taken is a new virus to show some of us (including me) that we can, indeed, adapt.
Our Kirk Session met 24 June online and by phone to discuss the guidance on church building reopening we received from the Church of Scotland. We talked it over, always remembering what we have learned about being the Church in this time. In the end, we agreed unanimously to wait until the Scottish Government announces Phase Four of lifting lockdown before we consider opening the buildings. Between now and then, a Reopening Task Group will be formed to prepare the sanctuary for that day. All the signs, markings, and safe practice measures that you see in the shops will also be in place so that we can continue to be as cautious as we can be. Being a person of faith doesn’t mean we can be careless of one another — in fact, we are called to be careFUL of one another in living out our love of Jesus by loving his people.
So, we wait. We will continue to meet on Sundays online and via conference call and give thanks that such technology can assist us to do so. The Kirk Session also decided that evening that, even when we do meet again in the building, the online and phone call worship will continue, though the time may be changed. We have learned that many more people can be part of worship when we do those things. In the meantime, we will pray for the researchers who are looking for a vaccine that will enable us to be together and give each other the handshakes and hugs our spirits need.
Continue in faith as you continue to stay safe. Remember that the Holy Spirit of God accompanies us every step of this journey, whether or not we are always aware of her.
Hi, Hope this finds everyone well, so the big question is when can Sunday school return? We really miss everyone! But at this time I don’t have the answer to that question. I know you have all been keeping busy during the lockdown and it’s great we have a whatsApp group to keep in touch. It’s has been fantastic seeing all your pictures of everything you have been getting up to and a few laughs on the way. I know you have also been following Julia’s story time on YouTube. We have to keep positive during this time and I can’t wait to see everyone. Have a fantastic summer break and let’s pray the sun shines.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Take care God bless Alexis xx
1st Armadale Girls’ Brigade
Our Girls’ Brigade company has been on summer break from 19 May which would have been our annual awards/display evening - always a special evening in our calendar recognising the educational, service, spiritual and physical individual badgework efforts of all our girls. We will ensure their efforts for the past session are still recognised when we are able to safely meet again.
Our last Company evening together was 10 March as we were beginning to prepare special crafts for Mother’s Day and Easter and from this time we have tried to keep in touch with our families via our Company Facebook page where activity photographs, prayers and activities - both local/National suggestions have been shared and where updates on plans for the new session will be posted when GB National finalise outline plans and guidance for Companies. The suggestion is for some virtual meet ups early in the new session but we await further information and as an adult team we will have to review how this will work for us.
We have missed all our girls and their families very much over the past few months and have kept them all close in thought and prayer.
We wish them all a happy and safe summer break and Gracie Bee our mascot, and our Adult Team, will look forward to more fun adventures when it is safe to meet again.
Families can contact Tracy with any Girls’ Brigade enquiries here
Keeping the Church in the Community
When we received the news that Churches had to close, it was difficult for a lot of people especially, for those who were shielding or in an at-risk category. But always central to everything we do is keeping a Church community together and also how we keep the Church in our community of Armadale. But in Armadale Parish Church nothing would stop as we thought of different ways of staying together and remaining part of the community even during this difficult time. Much of which has happened online with many people embarking on a new IT learning journey. Something they probably felt they would never do.
We have met weekly for Sunday Worship (if you need access check our website or Facebook page).
We have a coffee and chat time. Times to catch up has been so important. (All are welcome, if you would like to join us the information is on our website and Facebook page)
In Armadale we have lots of talents so we thought about how can we continue to use them but also giving back to our community. Needles have been clicking whilst we made knitted mask extenders for key workers and little love hearts to give people, who have been separated at this time, a sense of being together.
We have had a collection of toiletries which we have donated to local care homes and sheltered housing.
It really is wonderful how in times of need we just all come together and we will continue to do so has we move through lockdown.
Building Committee business as usual
Although our Church hall doors are closed the work of the building committee and Congregational Board continues as normal. We meet to keep our renovation plan going as normal. So we are delighted to say that we are now at the Building Warrant stage, we have chosen a Quantity Surveyor, and once we have approval from Presbytery the application will go to West Lothian Council.
Sometimes a storm arrives without warning. At other times we can see it building on the horizon and we know that we are heading into it.
Yet we do not have to be overwhelmed by the storms of life that we pass through. It may be tough. We may come through with bruises or battle scars, but we are not alone. We can make it!
2nd Armadale Boys’ Brigade Anchor and Junior Sections
Little did we think that when we locked the doors of the hall after our Anchor Boy and Junior Section meetings on 12 March that that would be the last time we would see the Boys, parents and, in many cases, each other, for the session. Since then both sections have made efforts to keep in touch with the boys through text messages, emails and Twitter. Nationally the Boys’ Brigade has produced a very good resource #BBatHome which includes weekly children’s devotionals together with a variety of family friendly activities for children from different age groups. #BbatHome will continue over the summer and new rewards have been produced for those completing certain numbers of tasks. Both sections usually have separate annual awards ceremony in May but because these were cancelled we are liaising about beginning next session with a joint prize giving. Currently the BB nationally is currently looking at ways in which BB companies might be able to relaunch safely after the summer break. When this will happen is still uncertain, of course, but we hope and pray that we will all be together again soon. In the meantime, stay home, keep safe and stay well.
Peter Gray & Marilyn Simpson
Message from Lesley and Marilyn
Who would have thought on our last Sunday together, way back on 18 March that we would still be worshiping virtually over 3 months later. We pray that you have all managed to keep well and avoided this dreadful virus and are now able to see some family and friends face to face albeit maybe not yet able to receive the long-awaited kisses and cuddles.
Over the last 15 weeks we have managed to set up our weekly worship online and via a telephone call. We have had folks share worship and Communion from as far afield as Australia, London and also locally. It has been lovely to see and hear you all each week. Thank you for joining us. Julia has also set up on our Church website and Facebook page a weekly reflection and children’s story. We will continue with these forms of Worship over the next few weeks. If you would like to join us on a Sunday morning at 11.00am, please go to the Church website where you can find details of how to join us through a Zoom meeting. However, if you don’t have internet access you can still join us on a Sunday at 11.00 am by using your telephone free of charge. For more details of both ways to join us please contact either Julia, Lesley or Marilyn.
We are reminded that over the last few weeks we have all faced many challenges but there have also been some positive moments such as hearing and seeing nature, witnessing the wonderful work of people in our local community of Armadale helping each other out and the tireless work of the keyworkers and NHS staff. Although we possibly are fearful of the unknown and what lies ahead we are reminded that, as in the early days of the Church when Jesus sent out his disciples to proclaim the message, they were not alone and neither are we. Through prayer, God will guide us through this difficult time.
Till we all meet again.
Lesley & Marilyn