Notices for week 31 July - 7 August

31st July 2020

The online service from our group of churches can be found at
BBC1 this Sunday.  At 9.30 am Sean Fletcher and Angelica Bell take a look at the week's talking points and explore the ethical and religious issues of the day. Alongside lively chat, the show also shines a light on inspiring, unique and occasionally unusual stories and people.  At 1.15 pm in Songs of Praise Aled Jones visits London’s Olympic Stadium to explore the links between Christianity and sport, and J.B. Gill meets the former Premier League goalkeeper swapping the pitch for the pulpit.
On Radio Scotland, at 7.30 am, an act of worship led by Rev. Lezley Stewart, the Kirk’s Recruitment and Support Secretary.
If possible please could you phone anybody you know who does not have the internet and advise them so that they will have the opportunity to watch or to  listen  these TV or radio programmes.
Rt Rev. Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, has a series entitled “It’s a Fair Question” which can be found at
From Isobel and the Pastoral Group
Fladda, a little tidal island, lies off the north tip of Raasay, which in turn is just a short ferry trip from Skye.  Exploring the now uninhabited north end of Raasay, we walked up the handmade, stone by stone, Callum’s Road.  There is a sharp descent, and a chance to look across the short distance to Fladda.   We wondered if the natural causeway would be exposed or awash with waves.   Could we reach the inviting wee island or not?
The final stretch of the journey was down a steep, stony path, narrow, and cut into the cliff.  Then we came to a cave hollowed into the rockface, just room for two or three people to stand close, shelter from wind and rain, and watch for the tide to clear the raised pebble causeway.
Standing in the cave, I imagined islanders waiting and watching for the time of safe dry-shod passage to their cottages on Fladda.  I thought of children from the wee school (now a derelict bothy) pushing and chattering as they watched for the waters to recede to get home for a welcome snack.   It is all over now, across on lonely Fladda, a few reminders of cottages, sheep, sea birds and wind.
There is an old Hymn for every occasion – “Rock of Ages, cleft for me.   Let me hide myself in Thee”.  I know you understand the power and comfort of these words that come back to me, when I think of the steep rocky path down to the Sound of Fladda.
Pray that we can ease gradually and safely towards a more normal lifestyle.
Keep Faithful, Keep Safe.
Best wishes from the Pastoral Group, Joyce, Moira, Gill and Isobel
Meeting of Kirk Sessions
There will be a meeting of the Kirk Sessions of MNMT with Auchterhouse on Tuesday 4th August at Whitfield Parish Church at 7.30 pm.  This is being held to bring us all up to date. It will be held at Whitfield Parish Church to enable us to comply with social distancing measures.  Please send any apologies (MNMT) to Lynn’s email.  If you’re able to pass this on to anyone not on email, that would be great, thank you.
Reopening of Church Buildings (from MNMT Session Clerk)
Recently you may have noticed that a few church buildings (including in Dundee) have begun to reopen, some on a trial basis to see how easily the guidelines we have to follow can be implemented.  All congregations should refer to the Church of Scotland COVID-19 policy using the link below:
At MNMT we have to ensure our buildings are safe, secure and welcoming to our regular congregation and any visitors, or to quote 121:
“Congregations should ensure that those in the extremely vulnerable category will still be able to participate in church life during the Covid-19 pandemic without the need to attend church. Congregations should also ensure that those in the vulnerable category are appropriately supported in their choice to participate in church life in a way that meets their own individual needs and preferences whilst safeguarding their own health, safety and welfare and those of the wider congregation. Individuals may find the assessment tool in Appendix 4 helpful when deciding if they should be attending their church buildings or participating in church life by other means.”
The assessment tool referred to is a checklist where certain factors are given a number. For example, your age is given a number (your number can be between 1 and 6), then it goes on to list conditions such as asthma, diabetes etc. If your total score is under 3 it indicates a low risk, 3-5 suggests a greater risk and 6+ indicates that the individual should continue to work/participate in church life from their home. (Scoring is based on an article from the BMA website.)
You may have heard about building capacity, again let’s turn to the guidelines from 121:
The requirements for physical distancing mean that it is unlikely that any church building will be able to reopen to the same capacity enjoyed before the closing of church buildings. The Scottish Government has stated that the maximum number of people allowed in a church building at any one time is 50, regardless of the building’s size. Congregations must also ensure that the 2-metre physical distancing rule can be safely followed in all the areas of the church building that will be open. This rule applies to anyone standing, sitting or moving in or around both inside and outside the church buildings. We also have to consider amongst other things for example, how will people arrive at our buildings, what do we do if too many turn up at once - where can people wait safely if it is inclement weather? Many churches have implemented an online or telephone booking system – but who will take that on and how will it be implemented? Can people ring anytime or a set time and date? How will people know where to go and where to sit - and again who will be the people volunteering to doing this?
And not least 121 state: Congregations must ensure that there is suitable support available to those people who do decide to attend church or visit your church buildings. This may involve asking elders and church volunteers to assist on a rota basis. However, any elders or church volunteers who fall within the extremely vulnerable category or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 or displaying symptoms should not volunteer. Those who are isolating as a result of being contacted via contact tracing also must not volunteer or attend church (see section 7.1). All elders and church volunteers must demonstrate good hygiene practices at all times and ensure that they wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand gel before entering the church building and at regular intervals thereafter.
The specific role that elders and church volunteers could be asked to undertake will depend largely on the congregation. For example, they could be asked to participate in the following:
•         Welcome members of your congregation and visitors to your church
building. It is important to remember that shaking hands or other form of
physical welcome would not be appropriate.
•         Explain what precautions are in place and indicate where alcohol-based
hand gel can be found and request that they use this before progressing in
to the building.
•         Confirm that those attending your church buildings are well and not within
the extremely vulnerable group (see section 7.1). This should be done discreetly and may be achieved by pointing to a notice or poster advising individuals that if any of the factors listed applied to them, then they should not attend church.
•         Direct members of your congregation and visitors to a safe place to sit.
•         Assist with any enquiries, questions or concerns that those attending
church or visiting your church buildings may have.
•         Assist with the cleaning and disinfection of the building before the building
opens and during and after the session has ended.
Congregations must ensure that there is a system in place to keep a temporary register of those who attend or visit their church buildings for a period of 21 days to support contact tracing as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect programme. This extends to visitors, contractors, volunteers, and employees. Congregations should collect the names, contact telephone number and the date of when individuals attend or visit their church buildings.
I hope this gives you an indication of the huge amount of work that is involved in the reopening of our buildings and what the Property Group has been working on throughout the lockdown alongside ever changing guidelines from the Govt. and CoS.  To this extent the Property Group  are well advanced in adopting and setting in motion all actions required by 121, even taking possession of the hand sanitiser stands which arrived on Wednesday to go with the hand sanitiser, not to mention floor tape for social distancing and signage, plus the correct cleaning materials. When the Kirk Session believe we have all the correct strategies in place to provide a safe, secure place to worship in our buildings, we will communicate this by printed newsletter and by email to those for whom we have addresses. Please think about and hold in prayer all those in the Property Group who have been maintaining our buildings whilst they have been closed and are now tasked with making them safe for us to worship in and to hold other activities in. I feel confident in saying I know you will do this, but I say it because,  as I’m sure the Property Group will not mind my pointing out, they are all over 21 and it is a big ask of them, so your thoughts and prayers would be gratefully received.
Thank you.  Keep safe.
From Auchterhouse Session Clerk
There is no update to give you on the opening of the Church, except that it is going to take time to do so safely and correctly.  Insurance companies are insisting opening is done within the letter of the law or we will not be covered should anything go wrong. There is a meeting of the two Kirk Sessions on Tuesday 4th August, so next week we hope to be able to give you a more definite date for opening.
Some of you were asking for an update on our cygnets. Well it is not really good. I had family here for the weekend, and we drove through the hay field to the pond and came across 3 cygnets in the middle of the field. They were so tired it was very easy to drive them over to mum and dad who were still within the pond enclosure. Again how did the they get out. Dad (well the biggest swan?) tried to go for us, he hissed and flapped his huge wings, so my daughter dropped them over and ran and yet again they were not too bothered about getting their offspring back.  Now considering a cygnet is 6 months old before it can fly and 3 years old before it leaves its parents, why would it want to escape?  But then on Sunday we again drove to the pond and only 2 were swimming with mum, which at least is something.  (My granddaughter thought that dad may have taken the other on a male-bonding day. Just like her dad and brother were doing - they were golfing). This is so disappointing, hope it is not Mr Foxy that has got them. If they had only stayed in the pond enclosure, then dad would have given him a right run for his money as they say.
10 years ago a pair of swans hatched one cygnet, then flew off leaving the ducks, of which there are many, were left to rear it. It was so cute up until it started to look a bit silly.  So do you believe in fairy tales? I have done since then.
Take care, stay safe.
Elizabeth / Biz
From Bob Taylor
May the God of hope go with us every day
Filling all our lives with love and joy and peace
May the God of justice speed us on our way
Bringing light and hope to every land and race.
God will be our shepherd as we go our way
And will not forsake us when we go astray
Even though the load of life is hard to bear
We must not forget that God is always there.
Other pastoral and administrative matters
Any items for inclusion in the weekly news sheet should be sent to Bill by noon on Friday.  Help to keep the congregations informed of any events or happenings in the life of our churches during this time of isolation. 
Please do not forget that we as a church are still functioning and if you need anything, please get in touch.
Church Office: Caroline is working from home, generally on a Thursday, and can be contacted by email:
Stewardship – Ongoing Offerings.  For more information, please see details on the news sheet for 30th May.  You can donate to our churches through the Church of Scotland website by means of PayPal which is easy and secure.
Tealing Community Helpline - tel  07340 476007
Please circulate this number to neighbours, family and friends in the village.
It’s NOT for medical advice about Coronavirus, but is here to help anyone in isolation at home who needs some support, for example with shopping, prescription collection, someone to talk to etc. Please also get in touch if you can offer or need any help. Take care in these challenging times everyone. Many thanks to our hardy (all local and reliable) volunteers for making this possible. 
Sandra Burke (for Tealing Community Council)
Starter Packs are taking donations again but by appointment only for now. If anyone would like to drop things off, their phone number is 01382 223977.
Please keep supporting Taught by Muhammed Food Bank.  There is still a donations box in Sainsburys, Broughty Ferry.  If you are in Lochee or the DD4 postcode area, you can donate at Iffys, 63/65 High Street, Lochee DD2 3AT (8am-7pm) or Iffys,17 Baffin Street  Dundee DD4 6HB (8am-8pm).
Phone a Friend
There are lots of people in our congregations who would love to have a chat, especially those who are on their own and finding the days of lockdown particularly long.