In common with every other type of organisation, the last 15 months have been very difficult for churches and the activities and people that they engage with. Now, as restrictions are gradually being withdrawn, things are becoming rather easier.
The majority of church buildings are now open again for worship and for both funerals and weddings.
This past week I have been able to conduct a marriage service with 28 guests in a church, for the first time in two years and although I have conducted quite a few funerals, until this week, they had all been at the graveside with a severely restricted number of mourners. These constraints have been difficult for couples wishing to get married and also for the families and friends of those who have died. There is still a cap on the numbers at weddings and funerals which is currently (in level 2) set at 50 or the distanced capacity of the church, whichever is smaller. The number at services of worship however, is simply based on the distanced capacity with no upper limit.
The Scottish Episcopal Church also meets in community centres and hospitality venues and these are governed by different sets of rules and so we are not able to restart services at the Kyle of Sutherland Hub or the Crask Inn at the moment, but we are hopeful that this will change in the near future. Episcopal services are now being held in Tain (11am on Sundays and 6pm on Wednesdays), Dornoch (11am on Sundays and 10:30am on Wednesdays) and Lairg (8:30am on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month) – by kind permission of the Kirk Session of Lairg Church of Scotland. As I mentioned above, our churches are also available for weddings and funerals, as are those of the other denominations.
As we continue to journey slowly towards a post-pandemic world, may God keep you and those that you love safe and well. Blessings, James.
by Rev James Currall, Priest-in-Charge of the Scottish Episcopal Church Congregations in Tain and East Sutherland
Last Updated on 10 June, 2021 by Kyle Chronicle