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Churches join together in prayer on Sunday 5 July

This Sunday (5 July), Christians across Scotland will once again join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Churches in Scotland are once more encouraging people to pray at 7pm on Sunday evening
Churches in Scotland are once more encouraging people to pray at 7pm on Sunday evening.
Acting in unity as they have throughout the health crisis, 14 churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling Christians together for prayer.

Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will be joining Scottish Christians in answering the call to pray together on Sunday evening.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, quotes the Gospel of Matthew:

“‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11: 28 (NRSV)”

The letter goes on to say:

“These are words of Jesus that we all need to hear. We need to hear these words because they speak into the depths of the experience of so many of us at this time.

“The words create a picture in the mind’s eye.

“The picture is of ourselves in the times when we are indeed weary and burdened by the particular loads that we have to bear.

“Alongside this, the picture is of the One who offers to us rest.

“The picture is of human need met by divine promise and finds its context in the affirmation that Jesus is the One who knows the Father and holds in God’s trust all that has been committed to him.

“He holds our lives in his keeping and offers renewal to those who seek his presence. (Matthew 11: 25-30)

“Wherever we are and whatever our load, the promise of Jesus is that we will find his renewing presence.”

Prayer

We pray:
Lord, we come to you as we are
For we can come no other way.
We come acknowledging the burdens we carry
And trusting in your promise of rest.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we come to you
In the sure knowledge that we are not alone.
We come in the company
Of all who know the challenge of these days.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we come to you
Acknowledging that you have already come to us.
We journey to the place where you are to be found
And rediscover that you have always been with us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we come to you
As the One who knows our past and sees our present.
Set us free from that which binds us to our past
And liberate us to serve you in the present.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we come to you
Through the One who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
May he hold our lives safe
As we embrace the future and the promise of his rest.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Financial Update

We trust you are all safe and well. We look forward to Trinity Church meeting and worshipping together again. We appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone in many ways. As a Finance Team we thank everyone who are giving by Standing Order, which is going some way to meet our monthly financial commitments. We know that some of you give by Weekly Freewill Offering have been unable to do so because of the restrictions. If you would like to talk to us, about giving to the Church in other ways, please contact us by phone or email, both of which are on the back of the Topics magazine.Thank You.

The Finance Team

Join together in prayer with Scottish churches this Sunday

 

This Sunday (28 June), Christians across Scotland will once again join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

“The experience of these last three months is one that will remain with us for the rest of our days. We will look back and reflect on the significance of it and undoubtedly we shall ask many questions.

“Integral to that experience for many has been the physical separation between ourselves and our family and those whom we care for. This physical distancing has been necessary in the face of the risks posed by COVID-19. As we see the easing of the restrictions on lockdown, we begin to reconnect and rediscover what it is to welcome one another and to give and receive in a social context.

“Welcoming, giving and receiving are integral to human experience and reflect something of what it is to be made in the image of God.

“In Matthew’s Gospel (10: 40-42), Jesus reflects upon this and points to the truth that in welcoming one another we potentially welcome the presence of God.

“In our welcoming of one another, let us renew the relationships that shape our social community and our communion with the living presence of God.”

We pray:

Living God, the God who creates,
You have made us in your image
That, in our giving and receiving,
We might better reflect your image.
For this gift we praise and thank you.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Living God, the God who gives,
Your gift to the world
Is revealed in your Son,
The image of the invisible God.
For the renewing presence of your Son, we praise and thank you.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Living God, the God who renews,
You call us to renew our relationships with one another
That, in so doing,
We might renew our relationship with you.
For the welcome you offer in renewal, we praise and thank you.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Living God, the God who welcomes,
You welcome us when we return to you
Weary and heavy laden.
Receive us as we are and forgive us when we stumble.
For the love we experience as we are welcomed, we praise and thank you.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Living God, the God who loves,
You offer us good gifts
And invite us to receive them.
In response, we offer our lives and all that we are.
For the sure promise of your love, we praise and thank you.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Amen

The Tartan Pimpernel

A play based on the wartime exploits of the Rev Donald Caskie, known as the Tartan Pimpernel, is available to watch online.

The theatre company, 3 China’s, were supposed to perform the play at the Paris Fringe this year, but this had to be cancelled due to the Covid19 crisis.  The Scots Kirk in Paris had hosted the play’s debut in February.

Now we all have a chance to learn of the  remarkable story of Donald Caskie, formerly the Minister at the Scots Kirk in Paris, who helped over 2,000 British airman escape from France back to Britain in the Second World War.

Church of Scotland responds to misleading column in The Herald

Church members have been expressing their dismay and distress after reading a column in The Herald newspaper that accused the Church of issuing guidance that is cruel to people in vulnerable groups. The opinion piece attacked the Church for its guidance to congregations on reopening buildings, which have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We disagree entirely with the author’s interpretation of the guidance and reject completely her characterisation of our Church and its people.

Empty Church

To set the record straight, the Principal Clerk, the Chair of the General Trustees, the Convener of the Assembly Trustees and the Chief Officer have sent the letter below to The Herald.

Dear Sir,

We write in response to the Opinion piece by Rosemary Goring which appeared on Wednesday 17 June and its utter misrepresentation both of the Church of Scotland itself and of the guidance issued to our congregations last week on the anticipated re-opening of church buildings.

Accepting that Ms Goring is entitled to express her personal opinion, even if in gratuitously offensive terms, we nevertheless take issue with the accuracy of what she has reported. We do not recognise our Church, then or now, in what she says.

She says that parishioners with serious underlying health conditions and those over 70 are explicitly urged not to attend church services, and characterises this as “crass”, “cruel” and “negligent”. This is simply not true.

The guidance in fact suggests that those over the age of 70 should consider carefully whether they should be attending church, and that anyone who is in the extremely vulnerable category, who has been advised by the NHS to shield at home, would be best advised not to come to church for the time being. This follows the clear and unequivocal advice which has been consistently given by the Scottish Government, the NHS and the Chief Medical Officer to the effect that anyone who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable group should stay at home.

It is also consistent with the advice published by all faith communities to their members. With them, we echo the sentiment expressed in the Government guidance:

“We would not ask you to do this if it was not necessary. We believe that it is needed to save lives and protect the NHS”.

Our published guidance is also explicit in expecting congregations to take steps to ensure that those people who are in the vulnerable category must be appropriately supported in their choice to participate in church life in a way that meets their own individual needs and preferences whilst safeguarding their own health, safety and welfare and those of the wider congregation.

It is perfectly legitimate for Ms Goring to express her view that we should all be able to assess risks and choose for ourselves – regardless of age and health – whether or not to follow medical and Government guidance in the current crisis. We do not agree with this view, and we imagine that most of your readers also do not agree with it. Taken to its logical conclusion, it would result in the collapse of the consensual approach to the crisis which has been taken by both Scottish and UK Governments and would necessitate the imposition of legislative compulsion.

We agree with those in government that such an outcome is not in keeping with the liberal traditions which are at the core of our national identity. Whilst our governance through a system of church courts is inevitably hierarchical our mindset and character as a church are firmly focused on individual liberty. For this reason, also, the guidance which we have issued is not prescriptive, and it is risible to present it as a “decree” and assert that “vicious” reprisals lie in wait for those who do not adhere to it.

The fact that the Scottish Government’s evidence-led route map through and out of the crisis only allows places of worship to re-open to extended groups when we reach Phase 3 is a clear indicator of the clinically-assessed risks to the health of those attending church services.

There have been a number of documented cases throughout the world of coronavirus outbreaks associated with church services and it is beyond doubt that unmanaged church attendance can constitute a threat to the lives of those attending, and people in their wider contact circles. We have a concern for the holistic health of our parishioners, body and soul, and we stand by the guidance which we have issued as a proportionate, practical and compassionate tool-kit which respects expert medical advice and enables our buildings across the country to re-open when it is safe to do so.

In the days that followed the lockdown announcement, we have seen creativity across our congregations on a level that has not been replicated in living memory. Congregations have come together, in absence, to support each other and those around them. Many congregations have opened their buildings to those in need, and have provided lifeline services such as foodbanks or childcare facilities for key workers. Along with creativity has come a real sense of loss as, for the first time in generations, church doors were ordered to be closed on government authority. But the church is its people, not its buildings, and we are confident that relationships that have been forged, or deepened, over the past months will serve to allow us to continue to serve our communities in the months and years ahead, regardless of how our public worship may require to be configured. Ms Goring is welcome to join us.

Yours sincerely,

Rev Dr George Whyte, Principal Clerk.

Raymond Young, chair of the General Trustees.

Rev Dr John Chalmers, Convener of the Assembly Trustees.

David Kendall, Chief Officer.

Scottish churches share this week’s Sunday prayer

This Sunday (21 June), Christians across Scotland will once again join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available to read here as soon as possible), states:

“We live in challenging times. In truth, the challenge of these times is one that continues.

“However, the nature of that challenge has changed. In this present moment, we reflect on where we are now and this allows us to begin to try to understand the past months. Equally, we have the opportunity to anticipate what is to come.

“In the Letter to the Romans (6: 1-11), the Apostle Paul reflects on the foundation of the Christian life which is our sharing in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“As a consequence, the life we live now is one shaped by the present reality of sharing in the life of Christ.

“As we journey together in the gradual exit from lockdown, we do so in the sure knowledge that we share in the life of the Risen Christ. We pray:”

We pray:

Faithful God, we thank you
That you are present with us now
As we share in the life of the Risen Christ.
Continue to be present with us we ask.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who inspires faith, we thank you
That you have been with us
In times of anxiety and uncertainty.
Keep watch over our memories of the past.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we thank you
That you will be with us
In the days that are to come.
Journey with us in the days that lie before us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who inspires faith, we thank you
For the life of your Son
Who for our sakes embraced human form.
May his life shape our lives in these present times.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we thank you
For the reassurance that you are merciful and gracious
And that your love abounds.
In your compassion, remember us and those whom we love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who inspires faith, we thank you
For the knowledge that you will be with us
In all that we now face.
Go before us and provide for us we ask.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen

Join Scottish Churches in prayer this Sunday

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be attached here later), states:

“The experience of being powerless is one that will resonate with many of us.

“There are times throughout our experience when we sense that we are not in control of what is happening in our own world. Indeed, there will be occasions when we sense that the wider world is afflicted by the seeming absence of a guiding hand.

“The Apostle Paul expresses the reality that God acts through Jesus Christ, for us and our salvation, at the very moment in time when we are unable to act on our own behalf and we are powerless.

“The action of God in Jesus Christ is a demonstration of the love of God (Romans 5: 1-8, NIV). As we know ourselves to be powerless and, at the same time, to be those who have received the renewing and empowering love of God poured ‘into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’, we turn to God, and we pray:”

We pray:

Living God, you demonstrate your love for us
Though our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we are powerless,
Stand with us in our weakness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, you demonstrate your love for the world
Through the self-giving of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We remember those who are powerless in our world
And stand with them in their weakness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, as we stand with others
May we understand more fully the life we share in common.
In understanding more fully
May we embrace the richness of the life you gift us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, your Holy Spirit
Is the Lord and Giver of Life.
May your love be poured into our hearts
And our lives renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
Embrace us, and all Creation,
In the love you demonstrate through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Church of Scotland online donations

Support Renfrew Trinity Church with the new online donations system.

The Church of Scotland has launched a new online donations system to allow those wishing to donate to an individual church or more generally to the Church of Scotland.

Whether you are a church member who wants to continue to give your regular offering to your own congregation or a friend to the Church who is moved to contribute for the good of your community, we want to help you support the Church in whichever way you feel led.

To find out more about this initiative, please go to the Church of Scotland website and click on donate.

Weekly Freewill Offering

If any members with Weekly Freewill Offering envelopes wish for them to be collected, could they phone the Manse and the Finance Team will then arrange with you a suitable time to call.

Join us in prayer this Sunday at 7pm

 

CALL TO PRAYER: SUNDAY 7th June (Trinity Sunday) Prayer @ 7pm

 

This Sunday (7 June), Christians across Scotland will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are familiar with the words of Scripture that remind us that ‘now we see in a mirror dimly’ and we might think that these words are especially applicable to our present times. As our society continues in the journey out of Lockdown, there are many things that we know only in part. We trust that greater clarity will be given in times to come. That said, there are some things that are clear and which our faith affirms to be so. In the Gospel of Matthew (28: 16-20), the disciples gather in the presence of the Risen Lord who assures them that in all they now face: ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’. The Gospel affirms that the life of God has been shared with us in the revelation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and that our lives are to be lived out in the enduring presence of God.

 

Knowing this to be so, we pray:

God whose name is Love,
You make yourself known to us
As the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sustain us in the knowledge of your love through the times in which we live. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
May we hear the words of your Son
That echo down the ages:
I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is generous,
You gift to us your Holy Spirit,
The very giver of Life.
Renew our lives and the life of the community in which we share. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is steadfast,
You know us as we are for you have made us.
In your compassion, be with all who struggle and grieve at this time. Remember them and hold them safe in your keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is from everlasting to everlasting, Give strength to the weary and power to the weak, That we might renew our strength
And soar on wings like eagles.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

God whose love inspires,
May we love you with all that we are
And love our neighbour in response to your love. Through our service of others, may your love be revealed. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

 

Moderator to host Church-wide Pentecost Service

 

Congregations across Scotland will be joining together-remotely-for a special Pentecost service on 31 May.

Rt Rev Martin Fair will be hosting the service which will include worship, prayers, music, a sermon, Bible readings, and will close with the Moderator’s wife Mrs Elaine Fair singing The Blessing.

The Moderator is encouraging congregations and people of faith across Scotland, and beyond, to join together in worship as a whole church.

“Pentecost Sunday is an opportunity to rejoice in the birth of the church and to celebrate our togetherness as a church family,” Dr Fair said.

“It was the coming of the Spirit upon those first disciples that brought the church to life, with power and passion – and the same Spirit unites us still.”

“Even though we cannot be together in person, we can be together in spirit. We can share in the same worship, pray together using the same words, be inspired together by the same Bible verses and affirm our unity as the body of Christ here on earth.

“Ordinarily, the worship of the Church is offered locally, rightly so. But it seems to me that in these present circumstances there is merit in giving over one Sunday to come together.”

For full details, please visit the Church of Scotland website