I hope everyone is keeping well and managing to stay positive and active in these unusual times. Many people will be missing the fellowship we find within the Church walls, whether this be at Sunday Services or at other times throughout the week. Although the building is closed, the work of the Church continues. Here are some notes regarding a few of our current activities.
We have been using our website to provide information on Church matters and to allow members to access Sermons, Prayers, Reflections and Intimations. The website also carries recent issues of Columba News, including the April issue which was published on the website only. A number of new pages have been added to the website to provide a wide raft of information from how to access home delivery shopping to creative ways to use your time! There has been a lot of activity on the Facebook pages with members exchanging views on a variety of topics and distributing information when this has been available. The Stained Glass Window jigsaw puzzles have been popular! There are also posts on the Facebook page which give access to outside items, including daily messages from the Moderator. You can visit the website at www.ayrstcolumba.co.uk and the Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/ayrstcolumba/ and https://www.facebook.com/lochsidemission/. You do not require a Facebook account to access this page and you are not required to log in any personal details.
Irene and Norman are planning a further edition of Columba News which will be printed and posted out to members in the coming weeks to keep everyone up to date with what is going on.
The Midton Road building has been closed, though John Stewart has been making the essential checks to ensure that no problems have arisen. The Minister has conducted several funerals and has produced a fine series of sermons which appear weekly on the website. He has been keeping in touch with members whom he knows are vulnerable, have been in hospital or people whom Elders have brought to his attention and is in regular contact with Irene to ensure that such work as can go ahead is being done. Irene continues to work from home, putting in many hours to keep in touch with members, to handle enquiries, to manage the Facebook page and to arrange items for the website.
The Lochside building has also been closed, except for the Food Bank which continues to provide a much needed service. Michael Hall is keeping an eye on the building and is opening it up for the Food Bank. He has carried out a deep clean of all areas and is very frustrated that there is not more that he can do! The new kitchen will be installed there in the coming days with the contractor observing all necessary safety procedures and following social distancing rules.
We have received the memorial plaques for our former Ministers, Bill Christman and Fraser Aitken. These will be placed in the Sanctuary in due course. Thanks to the expert assistance of Alastair Swan, we now also have the framed photographs of both Ministers which are to be placed in the Carrick Park Vestibule. We are looking forward to an appropriate ceremony to mark these items once the Church is operational again.
At this time it is not possible to say what the future holds for us. The Government will eventually announce some easing of restrictions, but how that will affect us is unclear. What is clear, however, is that our Church continues with strength and resolve. The more people can keep in touch, the more they will feel that they are a continuing part of the Church. The more information they can access, the more they will realise how much they are valued. At the most fundamental level, it is the members who form the Church and who make it what it is. Our work has not stopped.
With best wishes for a safe and happy summer,