Letter from the Minister (July 2020)

Dear friends,
Well, after four long months, here we are opening up the church again for worship! Some of us had feared that it might be even longer than this, so we need to be grateful that we can start on Sunday 19th July
If you wish to worship with us you will need to register beforehand. Send an email to:                          worship@churchofscotland.beState your name and telephone number. If you live at the same address as others who are coming, please just make one booking for everyone, but tell us all the names.Please do this by midnight on Thursday 16th July for the service on the 19th; and midnight on Thursday 23rd July for the service on the 26th.  Please do not register if you’re not sure of coming, as this would prevent someone else attending. We are allowed no more than 40-50 people in the church. If you know of someone without internet who’d like to come, send us their telephone number and we’ll contact them.
You’ll receive more details about the service when you register.
We won’t holding church services in August – too many key people are away – but we’ll start up again (God willing!) in September. Look out for details of that later.
But meantime, the online services continue: they’ve been a great success for all sorts of people in all sorts of places, so we have no plans to stop them. If you would like to take part in a service, please let me know: volunteers are always welcome. 
Covid-19 has been a medical and social crisis for us, but for some it’s also a financial crisis as their work has dried up, or they have fewer hours’ work, or they have even lost their jobs. So please continue to offer support to those who need it, and remember that as a church fellowship we also seek to give help if we can. 
It’s been good to get to know more of you: our weekends have been fairly busy with visits and meetings… As I suggested online, in the good weather outdoor rendez-vous in parks etc are very pleasant, so if you plan one and would like me to come along, let me know: this is a great way of building fellowship and just getting to know one another. We love the big Bois de la Cambre near the Manse, but we can travel too.
Covid-19 has been a horrible experience and one which we pray we won’t have to repeat. But there have also been positives – the wonderful commitment of (often poorly-paid) care staff and nurses, neighbours and friends reaching out to the vulnerable, and a shared sense of common crisis, like in a war. The improved provision for cyclists is one positive that’s close to my heart: Brussels has done a “not bad” job of pop-up cycle lanes in various places which were previously dangerous. It’s a reminder – if one were needed – that we are still in a very major environmental crisis. Who would have thought that parts of the Arctic Circle could see temperatures of 40C? We need to put the same commitment, discipline and inventiveness into that crisis, as we did for Covid-19. Whilst we wait for a vaccine for the virus, we know there’s no such quick fix for climate change.   
Finally, church offerings are down, but our outgoings are little changed. We’re grateful to those who have changed to online giving; that’s very much appreciated. Some of our members need to prioritise their own – and their family’s – needs ahead of those of the church. If that’s your situation, I would ask you not to feel bad about not giving to the church. On the other hand, if you are able to do so, please review what you give, to make up for those who can’t. 
I look forward to seeing dozens of you at church or in a park somewhere: let us give thanks and rejoice!
With every blessing,
Eric Rev Eric Foggitt