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Welcome to the URC Synod of Scotland monthly e-news.
Welcome to Synod of Scotland Enews.


Remember, this is YOUR Enews so please tell us what your church is up to. 
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Synod Prayer Cycle 2020

Prayers for churches around the Synod and the world are on the synod website and Facebook Page.  Please join with the rest of the Synod in prayer, and pray for the following congregations
 

May

24 East Mains, East Kilbride
East Mains URC – contribution to Synod Prayer Cycle 2020.
There are usually eight adults and two young people who gather for worship at  East Mains. As the lockdown continues people are missing the opportunity to worship together and to see one another, but, as with many congregations, people are keeping in contact by phone and are appreciating the worship resources provided locally and nationally by the URC. Everyone looks forward to when we may worship together again.

We invite you to pray with us and for us.

Risen Christ,
Your word to anxious and bewildered disciples was ‘ Peace be with you.’
In these days of pandemic when we also often feel anxious and bewildered, speak your word of peace to us.
May we live with gratitude for all  those in our communities ensuring essential services are continuing to function.
May we live with appreciation for the kindness shown to each one of us by family, friends and church fellowships.
May we live in hope, that the coming together of communities in this time of crisis, will not be forgotten once the crisis abates, and that we may play our part as we ‘walk the way, living the life of Jesus today’. Amen.


31 Essenside Drumchapel

June

7   St Columba's Day

9th June is marked annually as St Columba’s day, commemorating the day of his death in 597 on Iona. On Sunday 7th June our designated online Synod Service, accessed via the home-page of our website www.urcscotland.org.uk is going to tell some of Columba’s story, reflect on his legacy and ways in which it may inspire us today. Our worship will draw on the lection readings from the Great Commission, Matthew 28: 16-20 and Psalm 8, and will include the blessing of St Columba, which may also be found on the inside front cover of the URC Rejoice and Sing hymnbook, and which is for each us to use, whether for this Sunday, or daily:
 
Be thou a bright flame before me,
be though a guiding star above me,
be thou a smooth path below me,
be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today, tonight, and for ever.


14  Fraserburgh
Fraserburgh had only one service during its new vacancy before the lockdown was declared. So very little has been done on how we work without a minister. But this was probably never going to be a “normal” vacancy. Since all the mainland North Link churches are now vacant and the three CoS churches in the town are in the same position. Please pray for the church in Fraserburgh as it faces its non-normal vacancy, and the churches it works with locally and within North Link, as we pray for you all at this non-normal time.

Prayer
Re-birthing God we give you thanks for the gift of our first breath and also new life through Jesus.
Re-kindling God ignite in us a desire to worship you afresh, even in pyjamas in front of a screen.
Re-focusing God help me to see beyond my own needs to see the needs of people in my community, our country, your world.
Re-educating God help us to learn new ways to show our love for neighbours in a time when we cannot even give a bosie.
Re-normalising God remind us that normal never existed, change is constant. Be it slow or at pace, planned or accidental, hoped for or feared.
There is one thing that never will change, your love for us which is unending. And for that we give our unending thanks.


21  Giffnock
Gracious God
we lift up our hearts to praise you.
We miss worshipping together;
so we thank you for those whose skills
beam worship into our own homes.
May your encouraging Spirit support us,
and all who need your strength and healing.
Let Christ’s presence carry us through these days.
AMEN


28   Grahamston United

30   Granton United

GUC is a small, faithful, mainly elderly, community of believers – most of whom live local to the church. As a caring community, we are surrounded by Sheltered Housing complexes including, a Methodist Home for the Aged (MHA) and a Council run Care home. During Advent and Lent there are shared Bible studies with St David's SEC. It is hoped to further develop this relationship.  There continues to be interaction with the community through coffee mornings, etc

Prayer
Gracious God, we give thanks and pray for our ecumenical partnership.
We thank you for the community you have placed us in to serve our neighbour.
Help us to use our energies in ways that reflect your light and hope.
Teach us what it means to live resurrection.
In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College
 

Annual Service with Valedictory 

The annual college service will be streamed live at fb.me/ScottishCollege

Sunday 14 June 2020 at 11.00

This service will be the College community's valedictory for Susan Henderson as we commend her to the church for ordination as Minister of Word and Sacrament.

We will be joined by the Revd Nigel Uden,
Moderator of General Assembly.
The Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College and National Synod of Scotland Office closed on Friday afternoon, 20th March until further notice.
 
The office phone number 0141 248 5382 will be answered – all our emails will be working as usual.

Deadline for next e-news
is 12 June 2020. 

All the latest news from See Me is available here...

See Me have launched a new resources for young people - "It's Okay". This includes: a video (clean version), a downloadable "What's on your mind" card for young people suggesting ways to explain how they're feeling and places can turn for help and tips to identify good listeners to approach for help and resources for adults and linked to curriculum for excellence including activities that could be used with groups of 11-18yr olds in the 'What's on Your Mind?' pack.
Adventures in Faith
To receive the newsletter email adventures@dioceseofedinburgh.org or visit www.facebook.com/DioceseEdinburgh
Scottish Churches Housing Action newsletter
 
To sign up to the Eco Congregation Newsletter click the link below

http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org

 
JPIT
to receive the Joint Public Issues Team newsletter http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/whats-new/newsletter/
Christian Aid
 https://www.christianaid.org.uk

We hope you are safe and well in these strange days. 

[The woman pictured is Florence Muthiani.
Florence is supported by one of our partners in Kenya.]

Coronavirus has changed how we give, act and pray for ourselves and for the world. As you know, Christian Aid Week will look very different this year. But even though we can’t meet together in person, we’ll be joining together in spirit for our global neighbours.
You will find all our resources for a virtual Christian Aid Week on our website: www.caweek.org. And if you’d like a fundraiser quiz or some worship resources for your online service, you’ll find those here.
Remember that your safety is of the greatest importance to us. Make sure to follow our Coronavirus guidelines this Christian Aid Week.
 
Coronavirus impacts us all but love unites us all.
Our partners across the world are adapting how they support the most vulnerable communities. You’ll find prayers for our neighbours here.
As well as praying, we’re calling on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to broker a debt relief deal for the poorest countries who will be impacted in so many ways by Coronavirus. Will you add your name to our Debt Jubilee petition? https://www.christianaid.org.uk/campaigns/debt-jubilee-petition

Thanks for all you do to support Christian Aid. We would appreciate your prayers for our staff, our partners and the most vulnerable communities at this time.
And don’t forget to stay in touch with us on social media. We will be updating Facebook, Instagram and Twitter regularly.
The latest newsletter from the Scottish Churches Disability Group is available on their website
Sign up for Interfaith newsletter:-
https://interfaithscotland.org/news
For more information visit: http://www.placeforhope.org.uk/events
 
URC Update and Newsletter
Please click here to join the URC Newsletter.

Supporting Communities Safely 
from Public Health Scotland


The website gives advice for Community Groups, Organisations and Volunteer Networks fighting Covid-19
 
https://www.scdc.org.uk/supporting-communities-safely

URC Children & Youth Newsletter

The bi-monthly newsletter can be downloaded here.
WEST GLASGOW PASTORATE
BIDS FAREWELL AND GOD SPEED

 

Revd. William Young who ministered to West Glasgow Pastorate left the charge on 31 March 2020. Both churches record their appreciation in their own words, but the sentiments, as you will see are remarkably similar.
 
Morison Memorial URC     
It’s with sadness that we say farewell to our minister Revd. William Young.  The church’s plans for its farewell to William had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus lockdown.  William came to Morison Memorial as a student, back in 2010/11 and then immediately accepted the joint post as our minister, along with Drumchapel Essenside forming West Glasgow Pastorate
William brought new ideas to the church and over and above his inspirational preaching, one aspect we will miss of his ministry will be his spirited leading of hymn singing, it will be a hard act to follow.
Everyone here at Morison values his friendship and wishes William every success in his new post in Washington DC.
 
Drumchapel Essenside URC       
How does a congregation say thank you, good luck and farewell in these difficult days?
 
That was the situation Drumchapel Essenside URC found themselves in at the end of March, as our minister Revd. William Young prepared to leave us after seven years, to take up a new appointment in Washington DC.  We had prepared for a social evening where we could share a meal and reminisce.  Over eighty individuals from congregations and community groups were supposed to meet and celebrate the times we had shared and wish him well. We were also supposed to share in a final worship together. But Covid-19 had other ideas. William was even deprived of the opportunity of meeting colleagues and friends at Spring Synod to say a face to face farewell.
 
We’ve used phone calls, e-mails, WhatsApp and shared in online services but it’s not a satisfactory way to say farewell.
 
All we at Essenside can say is thank you William. We thank him for his service not only within our church but also the service and support he showed to those within the wider community
 
We’ll remember the music, fun, laughter, compassion and caring that he showed to, and shared with, each one of us.  We’ll also remember the very many hugs given freely every Sunday
 
Thank you William and may God bless you on the next step along the path of your ministry.

NEWS FROM RUTHERGLEN ...........

Like everyone else in the country ‘lockdown’ has challenged us in many ways.

Our prayer railings outside the church have been a focal point for members and neighbours in our local community. We have been invited to tie a ribbon on to the railing whilst we pray for someone or something during this time of uncertainty.

John, our minister has issued a weekly ‘Reflection’ to all members and friends.For those who do not use email a small group of volunteers hand deliver the reflection sheet to their homes.

The reflection sheet also contain news of our fellowship.

We have also embraced Zoom and have used it to continue with some of our church meetings.

Our Bible Study group is now meeting using Zoom, who'd have thought it?

We held our first ever ‘Stay at Home’ Coffee Morning last Saturday to mark the end of Christian Aid Week.

Using Zoom, 23 households from our church joined in all the usual chat of a coffee morning.

John used the breakout room facility on Zoom which meant that we could chat to each other in small groups of four or five then swap over to another room.This let us catch up and share news with church friends.

We watched a short Christian Aid film together which reminded us of the importance of continuing to support their work overseas particularly in the midst of this pandemic.

A group of us had baked and delivered a wee bag of goodies to our members who have no access to the internet.We asked them to phone a friend for a chat whilst the Zoom event was taking place.

Whilst we are obviously missing meeting in person and worshipping together, we are making the most of technology to keep in touch with one another and stay strong as a church family.

Stay safe and well everyone

Cathie Lees, Secretary, Rutherglen URC

NEWS FROM ESSENSIDE DRUMCHAPEL ..................

Before lockdown, our church Drumchapel ran a weekly lunchtime event known as Friendship House, which was a space where asylum seekers and others could meet to share food, information and provide support. We are unable to continue at this time, but one of our elders continues to collect food from the local Foodbank and deliver it  weekly to 3 families of asylum seekers  as the parents have young children and find it difficult to collect and transport a week’s worth of groceries themselves. The same elder and others in the congregation continue to support the local foodbank through donations of food, toiletries and money and one of our congregation collected food from neighbours (at a safe distance) and delivered a car load of donations to the foodbank. In addition members are shopping for neighbours who are shielding and also cooking and or baking and sharing with neighbours.
PROGRESS AT FORMER EAST KIRK
OF ST NICHOLAS SITE

 
On 5 December 2019 workmen removed the former General Session Safe which had been housed in St Mary’s Chapel at the former East Kirk of St Nicholas since 1857 (Picture right).  These areas are an integral part of the present Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting site, but are owned by the OpenSpace Trust, a stand-alone body charged with completion of the ‘Mither Kirk Project,’ originally conceived in 2003 as a church-related project for development of these areas as spaces which can be a focus and gathering place to be enjoyed by both the people of Aberdeen and visitors.
 
In January 2020 members of the Trust Board were delighted when prolonged negotiations with Aberdeen City Council concluded in the signing of an agreement between Council and Trust and the award of £390,000 to the Trust under the Town Centre Fund, to enable commencement of works and projects itemised by our Project Leader, Dr Arthur Winfield, to enable access and entrance to St Mary’s Chapel, improvement of interior floor levels and replacement of heating boilers for the building.
 
The Project is one of several featured in the City Centre Regeneration Masterplan and the whole site constitutes an iconic building which is a key heritage area in the heart of the city.
 
The Trust raised and expended over £2.5m in delivering a major archaeological dig and enabling Phase 1 of the works necessary to restore stained glass in the East Kirk and in St Mary’s and render the former East Kirk wind- and water-tight by re-furbishing the roof and exterior of the building.  The Trust also raised £50,000 to provide a crypt to house the human remains uncovered by the archaeological dig.  A contractor had been appointed for this work and we hope to start this and access to and restoration of St Mary’s Chapel after the current lockdown.
 
The archaeological investigation of the East Kirk which took place in 2005/ 2006 is recognised as one of the most significant ecclesiastical excavations in Europe because of the completeness of the record and the timespan involved.  It also uncovered the oldest wall visible in Aberdeen with remains of child burials in front.  In total the remains of more than 2000 individuals were uncovered, with nearly half of these complete burials.  The dig also uncovered many artefacts and materials and conservation and post-excavation study have been facilitated by the Trust in co-operation with local archaeologists at a cost of over £1m to the Trust.  Such artefacts and materials will be on regular display to the public in the new building – from jewellery to shroud pins, from pilgrim tokens to broken pottery, from coins to gold pieces and from leather to stained glass fragments.
 
We have a detailed Business Plan and are approaching potential further donors to enable the full Project to be completed, which will entail construction and fit-out of a four-storey building within the building shell and then operation of the completed building as rental property.  We anticipate community use will include improved access to City Archives both on-line and on display; space for meetings and for commercial and charitable use; a café franchise and display facilities for heritage/ archaeology, artistic, performance and other purposes.
 
Ordinary Membership of the Trust is open to individuals aged 16 or over (or organisations) ordinarily resident in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who support the Trust’s Objects, while Associate Membership is open to those further afield.  New members welcome.
 
The Trust Board, currently numbering 9 individuals, still includes 5 Kirk members including Mr Forbes McCallum, Chair and Elected Elder, Dr Hazel Thom, Treasurer and Appointed Trustee for the Kirk and Dr Jim Merrilees, Appointed Trustee for the National Synod of Scotland.  All Trust Board members deserve credit for sticking with the Project through difficult times, but none more so than Dr Arthur Winfield, Project Leader, for whose hard work and perseverance through difficulties we are indebted.
 
We currently seek to widen Board membership with a view to appointing people with a business background and suitable gifts and skills and potential donors are always welcome to contact us.  Our website includes some very useful information with a regular blog and Facebook Page: www.openspacetrust.org.uk.  
Rising to the Challenge of Covid
 
It’s easy to become despondent with the lockdown continuing and many of us having to be shielded but it’s heartening to see how many of our churches are rising to the challenge – offering worship, care and community outreach.  I am lucky that, as Secretary to the Pastoral Committee, I receive the reports from each Link about how our churches are doing.  The most recent set of reports were incredibly moving. 
 
Many of our churches are using the URC’s Daily Devotions Sunday Worship service which I organise.  Preachers from all over the URC put a service together and record the introduction, sermon and blessing.  I then find volunteers, again from all over the URC, to record the other parts of the service and then mixes in hymns and some pre-recorded segments from Barrhead (this means the URC is learning the Lord’s Prayer Scottish style!)  I was pleased to include a piece written and sung by Jo Baird from Nairn URC in a recent service and many people have asked for the words and recording of this.  If there are other singers in the Synod who might like to be included in a service please contact me.  Whilst these are sent out electronically on Sunday mornings to over 4,000 people, some churches have joined the Early Bird list and print off the orders of service to send to members and/or burn the recordings to CDs.  This happens in Annan, Nairn, Aberdeen, Hamilton and East Kilbride and in my own churches.  Park Airdre do this and print out the Daily Devotion daily booklets of Bible studies which are also sent out well in advance for people to print off locally.  Others, like Port Glasgow and Greenock West, have signposted people to the daily Devotions’ email list.  People are commenting on how much they life the variety of the services and hearing different voices from all over the URC.  I have also made the services available by telephone so people can call into a local number to hear the Sunday service.  I already have Glasgow, Cumbernauld and the Lake District phone numbers up and running.  Contact me via RevdAndyBraunston@gmail.com if you’d like me to set up a number for you (it’s incredibly cheap) or for any other details of the Devotions.
 
Greenock East are exploring if a phone number would work for them and the Rev’d Lindsey Sanderson has used the same system for people in her churches to dial in to hear a service.  She’s now exploring how it might be possible to do a telephone based Holy Communion service. 
 
Of course many of our churches have worked quickly to broadcast live services over the Internet.  The Rev’d David Scott continues to offer two services on Sunday mornings from his study – one for Duke Street and one for Saughtonhall via Facebook.  If you find the churches on Facebook you can watch, live, every Sunday morning.  Interestingly the services are drawing members who had fallen away in recent years to return to church.  Both congregations are impressed not only by the services but by the colourful array of clerical shirts that their minster wears.    
 
The Rev’d Alan McGougan uses Facebook for services and for daily reflections which are also emailed and posted out to his members.   St Ninian’s Stonehouse also streams Sunday worship via Facebook, YouTube and their website, as well as occasional services using Zoom, whilst Grahamston United uses YouTube and Livingston uses the online video conferencing software Zoom.  Zoom is very versatile and lets people phone in, via an Edinburgh number, if they don’t have access to the Internet.  Augustine’s Facebook services are getting lots of visitors from all over the Synod with folk from Fraserburgh being, possibly, their furthest flung new participants.   The Rev’d Craig Jesson is experimenting with his churches hosting Zoom worship.
 
Rather older, but no less useful, technology is being used in Orkney where the Rev’d Sue Kirkbride has been instrumental in setting up Sunday services on BBC Radio Orkney along with her ecumenical colleagues.  These are widely appreciated and are heard down in Thurso by our people there too.   Thurso folk are also enjoying a local band lifestreaming hymn tunes on the Internet on Sunday afternoons. 
 
In Rutherglen the Rev’d John Sanderson produces a weekly reflection which is both emailed and hand delivered to those without the Internet.   North of the Clyde worship has been live streamed by the Rev’d Mitchell Bunting and the Rev’d William Young and pre-recorded devotions were produced for Holy Week.  They have, like many of us, discovered that life streaming singing (and communal prayer)  only works if the participants mute their microphones!  Oakshaw Trinity in Paisley produces weekly Orders of Service and notes for the Rev’d Gordon Armstrong’s sermons putting these on Facebook and the church’s website.  Their organist plays the hymns on Facebook too.   The Rev’d Steven Manders life streams services on Sunday evenings, having signposted his congregation to the Daily Devotion service in the morning.  His services, from Morningside, include pieces from their organ scholar Max and these are reaching an incredible 500 people each time. 
 
Technology is helping the life of the church in other ways.  All Synod meetings are held by video conferencing and we’re learning to keep meetings shorter and more efficient – this might be new way of working in the future.  Augustine are making full use of Zoom for Bible Studies,  St Ninians have used Zoom for a Family Quiz with 34 families, Sunday school meetings, café church looking at a book by Rob Bell, as well as morning prayers with coffee.
 
Whilst we can only make minimal use of our buildings at the moment St Ninian’s have been pleased to host the Stonehouse Coronavirus support group and Rutherglen, Shawlands, Stewarton and Priesthill have all invited local people to tie a yellow ribbon to their railings as a sign of love, prayer and support for those they are missing. The response has been huge with the railings of the churches being decorated with a blaze of yellow ribbons.
 
Giffnock wanted to mark Easter in their community so put up Easter posters and had their Easter cross covered with flowers placed outside the building where the community could see it. 
 
Churches have been offering practical help to their own members and the wider community.  In Bathgate, one member bakes and then leaving baked goods on people’s doorsteps, in Livingston cards have been sent to local nursing homes and they are keeping the foodbank open, to support good mental health the Rev’d Lindsey Sanderson is keeping her mindfulness group going via podcasts.  All our churches have been managing the pastoral care of our people through phone and written contact.  Many of our ministers have sent letters and hand written cards out at regular intervals despite managing an increasing funeral load.
 
In the gloom there are signs of hope: a  carehome in Helensburgh which Bungie would normally visit is using his online material,  Priesthill received over £13,000 in grants for a new kitchen and to expand its weekly activities, and despite being broken into during Holy Week, Shawlands has renewed its kitchen and was touched to receive a gift to cover the insurance excess on the break in from a sister church.
 
We don’t know when the lockdown will end, what the so called “new normal” will look like nor what our churches will look like on the other side of this time of pestilence and patience.  We do know, however, that the Holy Spirit continually calls us to and empowers us with creativity to meet the needs of our world and to glorify God.
 
Andy Braunston
Secretary, Synod Pastoral Committee

 
There is always movement in the life of the church which is good as we bless folk on their way as they go to pastures new and as we welcome others in.  
 
The Rev’d Catherine McFie says Goodbye


 
“I will be swapping the North East Coast for the suburbs of Liverpool. My new ministry will be varied. 50% for my time will be split between the congregations of St Columba, Hunt’s Cross and St George’s, Maghull. The remaining 50% will be split between a role as Pastoral Officer for the Liverpool area and undertaking Synod Directed Ministry as required by the Pastoral Committee. This is an exciting change for me – new people to get to know, new congregations to walk alongside, a new city to explore and it has the added bonus of being geographically much closer to family and friends.
 
Of course, saying hello to a new charge means saying goodbye – goodbye to the folks at Fraserburgh URC, the wider community and the Synod.  It has been my privilege to serve the congregation in Fraserburgh, who welcomed me as an ordinand and as I have been reflecting on the last few years the overwhelming emotion is one of praise and thanksgiving. We have grown in our faith together as we have pondered Scripture and watched films, as we have shared fellowship and been creative, as we have tried new things and taken comfort in the familiar.  The people of this congregation will always have a special place in my heart.
 
I have also had the privilege to share in the wider life of the Synod and this has given me an appreciation of the wider challenges that face the Church but also have given me the opportunity to hear the stories of other congregations which has been encouraging. Thank you to Fraserburgh and thank you to the National Synod of Scotland.”  
 
We all wish Catherine well as she journeys on in her ministry.
 
The Rev'd Alan Poolton,
new minister at Annan


 
Alan is our latest arrival in the Synod coming to us from the North Western Synod.  After training in Manchester on an ecumenical course, Alan was ordained to Hallwood Ecumenical Parish in the Mersey Synod in 1998 as a Non-Stipendiary minister.  At the time he was as a Senior Principal Housing Officer with the City of Salford.  After 18 months of trying, and failing,  to do justice to both roles adequately he left his secular job and started working half time for the church whilst studying for a Masters Degree back at Northern College.  This is a time he looks back on with huge fondness and gratitude.
 
In 2003, having gained his Masters, he replaced the study time with a 50% post in Westhoughton in the North Western Synod and was one of the few ministers in the denomination that worked for two Synods simultaneously.  He worked in these two part-time posts until 2008 when he and his family moved to Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme in Stockport (just south of Manchester) - again in the North Western Synod.   Alan left full-time ministry last Summer to do other things  - especially being a grandad!  He has been called to a 25% role to work with Annan URC. 
 
Alan already has some links with the Synod of Scotland.   Whilst in Westhoughton, he encouraged his exceptional church treasurer, Alan McGougan, who was thinking of doing some lay training to broaden his horizons and train for ministry.   Alan was ordained to Annan URC in 2011.  Alan (Poolton) is proud to follow in Alan (McGougan's) footsteps as minister there.   Before leaving the North Western Synod Alan was asked to act as interim minister for the Metropolitan Church in Manchester after Andy Braunston left it to undertake his short period of training to acclimatise to the URC.  The church was already a URC Mission Project and Alan helped guide it to unite with its host congregation, Wilbraham St Ninian's, continuing their pattern of afternoon worship with a particular ministry to LGBT people.   Alan describes his ministry there as "two years at a remarkable church in where I had the pleasure of welcoming into URC membership the amazing folk who, with Andy Braunston, had formed the previous Metropolitan Church. I still hold the 50+ folk I took into membership as a high point of my ministry."  The congregation has a vibrant ministry with asylum seekers and refugees who have fled their own countries for fear of persecution because of how they love.   
 
Alan didn't want to be a drain on the denomination he loved and so,  many years ago,  he and his wife elected not to join the URC pension scheme.   Instead they invested the money that would have been paid into his URC pension as a mortgage for a flat in the place they love the most - Dumfries and Galloway.   This arrangement allowed Alan to explore working part time with Annan whilst living for the bulk of his time south of Warrington in Cheshire.  Alan comments: "If you think the arrangement of living and working in Scotland part time, and living in Warrington part time,  sounds odd and complex, yes it is, but it is also glorious."
 

On 1 April I began service as pastor of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Southeast Washington, DC, and preached my first sermon to them via Zoom on Palm Sunday, 5 April. The pandemic has created a unique situation for myself, Covenant and my sending Pastorate, West Glasgow. So the manse in Clydebank has effectively become an international preaching station, with me leading Livestream worship for Clydebank and Drumchapel on Sunday morning, and preaching to Covenant in the afternoon. I am grateful for the borrowed time I have been given in Scotland. Perhaps when life can be lived beyond lockdown, we can all say goodbye in person.
 
Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ has a unique story: it started in 1945 as an all-white Southern Baptist Church in the southeast suburb of Congress Heights. In the 1960's as the social dynamic of the community changed to largely African Americans, the all-white church was facing closure. The dwindling Covenant decided to stay in the community and it became one of the earliest multiracial congregations in the USA. In the 1980's in the heat of the AIDS epidemic, it was one of the first majority Black churches to openly accept LGBTQ Christians, and in the past decade has been instrumental in the support of equal marriage in the church and in the city of Washington. Now denominationally bound with the United Church of Christ, it is well known as a progressive activist church where the most educated and the most vulnerable are welcome. My predecessors are a husband/wife team who led the church for 30 years. The global perspective my ministry in West Glasgow and Scotland has given me has been a great stepping stone to this new assignment. 
 
The URC has been a spiritual home for me for 15 years. It was just the kind of faith community I had been looking for: theologically progressive, socially, globally and ecologically concerned, and diversity orientated. In all of roles that I have been privileged to represent the URC over the years, I have learned where we lack in numbers we more than make up for in an influence that reaches the uttermost parts of the earth. In my new charge with the UCC, I am very never far away from the deep history and theology shared with the URC.
 
I pray you will continue to be YOU. For somebody like me, you are just the kind of community they will be looking for!
William T Young
 
 

 
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