The following message has been issued by the Rector

My Dear Friends,

I write this pastoral letter to you on the same evening (December 22nd ) as we have held a Zoom Vestry Meeting.

As a Vestry we have decided, given the heightened Covid 19 restrictions, and advice by the Scottish Episcopal Church that the Church should close for public masses this weekend. Our Christmas Services will take place as advertised but the Mass for St Stephen on Saturday at 12.00 noon will be the last public Mass at St Margaret's whilst the current restrictions obtain.

The Vestry felt that given the proposed reduction in permissible numbers of attendees at services in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines and also with the increased concern for the spread of infection due to the mutant virus, that this was the safest and most sensible way forward. Obviously this will be reviewed at a later date.

I personally cannot thank all of you enough for the help and support you have shown up until now as we have navigated our way forward through this crisis. On this Feast day of the Holy Family we rejoice that this congregation is very much a spiritual family held together in common faith and belief. Our return to church over the past few months has allowed us to express our resilience and resolve in these difficult times. It has been good and for that we must be grateful.

We will as of next weekend begin all our on-line liturgical activity again on the Website and on Facebook. Those who were contacted by surface mail during the last Lock-down will receive similar communication again.

We look forward in anticipation to 2021 and hope that it will be a better time for all of us.

I take this opportunity in wishing all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year.

Kindest Regards,

As Aye,

Fr. Emsley


                                         

The Rector's Letter for December 2020/ January 2021

Dear Friends,

We are now firmly in the Season of Advent which is a particularly wonderful time in the Liturgical Kalendar with its promise of new beginnings… “Drop down ye heavens from above and let the skies pour down righteousness”… so runs the beginning of the Advent Prose which is a classic piece of word-painting. The readings for Advent are as challenging and thought provoking as always. Unfortunately on account of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions all that characteristic music that we normally anticipate in this season will neither be sung nor heard. However we make the most of it that we can.

I thank all of you who have managed to come to church for your diligence in observing all the regulations that have been put in place for making attending church as safe an experience as possible. It has been good that folks have faithfully turned up and that this has allowed us to maintain the usual round of masses. At Christmas there will be the customary diet of services and I have added an 8 a.m. Low Mass on Christmas Day to allow the anticipated number at Mass to be spread out over services. This should mean that there will be no need for ‘booking a seat' at Mass which is something I have tried to avoid as it somewhat jars with my sense of what the Gospel is about. Unfortunately due to the pandemic I will not be able to offer the customary hospitality in the Rectory this Festive Season. However, this social restriction at Christmas may be opportunity for us to take time to reflect on what Christmas is really all about. Opportunity to think about the true spiritual meaning of this Holy Season and the hope and the peace that that offers humanity. I pray that the situation will be kinder at the end of March and the beginning of April 2021 and that we will have the prospect of a proper Holy Week.

On behalf of the Vestry and myself I would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation to all of you for your generous response to the St Margaret's Tide Gift Week Appeal. This has at time of writing realised over £4000 and will go a long way in helping us to balance the budget in this time of financial stringency. Our income has been considerably reduced since March, but I am pleased to say that we are just ‘ticking over'. Hopefully by Easter and with the advent of a vaccine that will deal with this contagion we will be beginning to slowly ‘claw back' with our usual fundraising activities. In the meantime I can only thank you for your continued support in these trying times.

On account of the Pandemic the AGM will be postponed until Sunday the 31 st of January at 2 p.m. this allows us more time to get organised. It will have to be a Zoom meeting and that because voting will be difficult I would suggest that the elections to the Vestry be deferred until we can meet in person at the next AGM. I am therefore advising that we keep the present Vestry members in office and that we ‘roll-over' our 1% Charitable giving as well.

My thanks to all who have been working, cleaning and sanitising in and around the Church, the Church Hall and Church Grounds during this time of re-opening for public worship. St Margaret's is a good working team and a strong Community.

There is to be no parish Christmas card this year. It was decided that the parish card should be incorporated into the magazine and that people would receive that either in the on-line mailing or in the hard copy which is sent out. Details of Christmas Services are as advertised in the magazine.

With all sincere best wishes for Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours wherever they may be,

As Aye,

Fr. Emsley