Due to a flood in the church we are unfortunately unable to print our normal Contact magazine. So, the Kirk Session and Board decided I should write a letter to inform you of our latest news. This letter will be available to listen to on the church phoneline from Monday 8th February until Monday 5th April before the weekly service.
On Monday 11th January at 11am a discovery was made of a burst water pipe above the kitchen. The leak caused considerable water damage in the toilet area, kitchen, new hall cupboard, new hall flooring and the rear corridor. The damage is extensive and consequently we will be unable to use the church halls, kitchen and toilets for the next four months whilst work is carried out. Obviously this will also affect worship in the sanctuary as we will be unable to hold public worship with no toilets available. Meantime Sunday worship continues on our church website page, Facebook page, Twitter page, Church YouTube channel and also our 24/7 church phoneline- 0141 255 0382 to enable all members to access regular worship from the comfort and safety of their home.
FUTURE OF MINISTRY PROVISION AT LENZIE OLD
As you are aware, our church was reviewed by the Strategic Plan Committee and it was decided that we would not be closing and going into a union with Lenzie Union at the end of the five-year tenure this June. We are delighted that we are staying open, but this does not mean that we will be allowed to continue with one full-time minister. The national church is presently exploring the concept of ministry hubs where four of five churches in an area would share a ministry team comprising of one or two full-time ministers, perhaps a youth worker and part-time non-stipendiary ordained local ministers. This is due to a reduction in income over the last decade which has sadly escalated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each church within our denomination will be affected, but this reduction in full-time ministry need not be a negative. Moving to a team ministry within a hub concept will allow all the people of God to develop their gifts in worship leading, pastoral care and mission. As a result, more people will be reached and touched with the good news of God’s love.
Many of us are struggling at the moment due to this pandemic. We never imagined that we would be in another lockdown and we are all missing contact with loved ones and not being able to meet physically to worship and attend church groups. My own mother contacted Covid at the start of the year and ended up critically ill in intensive care. Thankfully, she recovered and came to stay with us for a while and recently returned home. But it brought home to me how virulent this new strain is, how careful we all have to be and also just how awful it is not being able to visit loved ones in hospital.
Our church is doing our best in very difficult circumstances to keep connected with people during this time of pandemic and to provide regular accessible worship through a multitude of means. Our dementia friendly singing group and our coffee time after worship on a Sunday now meet on zoom. The prayer group, Bible study, and our Congregational Board and Kirk Session meetings all continue on zoom.
Many of us find ourselves ‘zoomed out’ but we are so grateful for this technology which allows us to meet up and continue the work of our church. The Thursday Club and Auchinloch Thursday Club continues to care for its members. Every membership household should have received a beautiful tea bag gift at Christmas lovingly made by our crafting team and many other volunteers. Special thanks to those who took the time to do this and a surprise Easter gift for all our members is planned for Easter. Please remember that if anyone would like a chat with me, whether member, someone who lives in our parish or further afield, then please pass onto them my number- 0141 573 5006.
Despite the present struggles, mission is still happening and there is much hope and many shoots of new life. We are privileged to have our student minister Julie Campbell with us for her first placement and she has been assisting with worship on a Sunday. We both have been learning and making mistakes together as we grapple with editing, downloading and filming!
One of our younger members – Gavin Flannagan has offered to become our new Treasurer and he will be mentored by our present Treasurer – Kenny Campbell over the next year. We are thrilled that our church Facebook page has 269 members and is enabling our church to provide support to many more people. The Facebook page is also helping us reach younger people and young families with the message of God’s love.
Some of our young mums post children’s stories and crafts on Facebook and Anne Bell has written her own children’s stories about the ‘Lenzie Old Rainbow Mice.’ Several people have approached me over the last few months expressing a desire to formally become a member of Lenzie Old when lockdown ends and I look forward to the day when we can meet in church and support them as they profess their faith and take their vows of commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ.
A “Music from Lockdown” CD is available featuring our organist Jane and our own members and friends of Lenzie Old who sang, played piano and guitar for online worship during lockdown. This CD is available from Mary Calder. Flowers have continued to be delivered and small yet dignified, socially distanced funerals have taken place for members and those within our wider parish.
Life carries on albeit so very differently. We are all living through a period of history which future generations will read about and learn from. Online worship has proven to be a huge learning curve but it is allowing us to reach more people with the love of Christ than we could ever have imagined, so even through this pandemic, God brings hope and new life.
May I finish by asking us all to be kind to ourselves during this pandemic. We are all doing our best despite some of us having to shield, contracting the virus, caring for loved ones, working from home, being anxious and perhaps even at times feeling very low. After the pandemic we will be able to reflect as a church family upon what we did well and also how we could have done things better, but meantime we all do what we can, with the energy and limitations we each have, knowing that God has called us and is with us.
I finish with a prayer which I would ask you to pray in the comfort of your own home. A prayer for us all, as we continue to journey on in faith and hope amidst this pandemic. Perhaps as you pray it you may wish to light a candle symbolizing Jesus – the light of the world, whose light shines in our darkness.
Let us pray:
Thank you for our faith in you,
At times fragile and vulnerable,
At other times strong and sure,
But whether great or small,
Our faith is a precious gift,
And we thank you for this gift,
Which gives us an eternal hope,
Even in the midst of this pandemic.
We pray for our church,
We thank you that we will be allowed to stay open,
And we pray for our denominations’ future,
where there will be reduced full-time ministry for all churches.
Help us to remember that each one of us is called to ministry,
each one of us a disciple of your Son,
called to show your love to others,
through our words and actions.
We pray for our student Julie,
As she shares in worship and ministry with us,
May she know your presence with her and her family,
Guiding her and strengthening her,
Enabling her to manage her studies and placement,
For your glory.
we pray for each one of us,
whether member, elder, parishioner, adherent.
Grant us the strength to cope with these final months of lockdown and restrictions,
be especially with those who will be working in our church,
Over these next four months,
To repair the damage of the flood,
and restore our church and halls,
into a safe and welcoming space.
When we struggle
When we are anxious,
When we feel disappointed,
Help us to reach out to others,
Whether friend, family, neighbour or professional,
And ask for the help and support we need.
And may we in turn,
Offer that same help and support,
When others approach us.
may we forever know,
the deep truth,
that you are with us at all times,
As we rise and as we sleep,
In this life,
And in the life to come
Each one of us infinitely precious to you,
And loved with a love which knows no bounds.
And until that glorious day,
When we can meet again,
As a worshipping community,
And sing praises to you,
In our beloved sanctuary.
Keep us forever safe,
Cradled in the warmth and security,
Of your strong yet gentle embrace,
In Jesus name,
God bless and keep safe,
Your minister and friend,