Pastoral letter from the College of Bishops – January 4, 2021

On behalf of the College of Bishops, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church writes:

To the Churches and congregations of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Many of us have watched, with growing concern, the rise in the number of those testing positive for Coronavirus. This rise has been seen right across Scotland during the past few weeks and may get higher still as the effects of the recent holidays become clearer.

Many of our churches had already decided to remain closed or to suspend face to face worship as this situation unfolded, limiting the numbers to 20 people had given an added headache to our larger churches while sustaining the weekly opening regime had become exhausting for some of our smaller congregations. The awareness of the speed of transmission in the new variant had made it quite clear that the position of Places of Worship was becoming more and more difficult to sustain, a situation made clear by the First Minister today.

The reclosing of our churches is difficult, especially for those who have had the privilege of meeting together over the past few months, yet it is now what we must do. The provision of Provincial online worship will continue and many of our churches will meet together via a variety of platforms. We must continue to pray for each other, for the communities we serve and for the authorities charged with protecting the nation.

The full implications of today’s announcement and the answers to the questions we all have will become clearer as the government documents are produced this week and meetings between us and the government take place. Information will then come from the Advisory Group.

Please continue to pray for the College of Bishops as we will continue to pray for you until with the help of science and our health service we can once again have the freedom to meet together.

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