The Manse : Trafalgar Day, 21st October 2020
My dear friends​​,

Life, like our faith, is never static. Connections: new expressions : adaptability : change : are our watchwords as we move from one ‘season’ to another: towards Remembrance: Remembrance Sunday being just around the corner. Since these Covid times began for us all in March, with much ebb and flow as each week passes, there has been much activity in the life of both Congregations and at the centre has been our Worship, available online every Sunday since Mothering Sunday.

Since 30th August there has been live Worship from St John’s every Sunday at 9:30 and I am now very pleased that in addition there will be regular Morning Worship in St Leonard’s in the Fields as of All Saints’ Day, 1st November at 11:15.

The newly painted pictures of both Churches, now on both Churches’ websites, tell the story of Church life being at the heart of daily life: of joy, new life, Baptism and Marriage within ‘the communities of the Baptised’, expressing the ongoing life of our Congregations as they serve the community of Perth.

The oil paintings have been donated, together with printed cards and postcards, by Stella Kinread, a member of St John’s, whose wish is that her endeavours can enable the funds of both Congregations to benefit. The paintings show stunning views of St Leonard’s in the Fields after a Baptism and St John’s Kirk after a Marriage. I will give further details in the November letter of how you can purchase the cards and how the original paintings will benefit our Churches.​We are so very grateful to Stella and thank her very, very much.

While it has been a delightfully uplifting and joyous challenge to minister online for the past seven months it is very different to assembling in our Church buildings for Divine Worship. For these online Services to be made available, the Rev’d Alex Stewart’s son-in-law, Paul Smith, has given his skill, experience and time to draw together the many strands within every Service for delivery to our websites and on YouTube. We cannot thank Paul enough.

However, now is the time for CHANGE and with Morning Worship happening in both Congregations, the online recorded Services will cease with the last one being on 1st November, alongside Morning Worship taking place in both Churches on that day. One week later on 8th November, Remembrance Sunday, the Services in both Churches will begin at 10:45 am, with limited attendance you will appreciate, as we are not able to have more than fifty persons inside a building.

With St John’s being the venue for the Civic Service, the attendance I am afraid is limited to those who have been specifically invited from a cross section of those who have been attending since 30th August. For St Leonard’s in the Fields, if you wish to attend, please phone Mrs Pat Giles on or after Monday 2nd November to reserve a place: 01738 625805. I will conduct the St John’s Service and Alex Stewart will conduct the St Leonard’s in the Fields Service.

Change has been the ever present theme as the seasons have come and gone: Harvest Festival, All Saints-tide, Remembrance Sunday and Advent are very different this year and in my letter next month I will give details of how we will celebrate Christmas this year – a changing experience for us all, as in every sphere.

Change: May I thank all who have collected the Jars of Change since February for Water Aid: if you wish to bring your jar to Church, please do so during the month of November and the Treasurer of each Congregation will be very happy to relieve you of those jars in order that we might send away vital monies to the charity which we have supported during this year as in the past.

I send you and your families every possible good wish and God’s Blessing as we all walk by faith, with prayers that this virus may be defeated and that our society will recalibrate and realise the fragility of life and all that life means on earth; as Christian people we give thanks for all the many opportunities and blessings which have caused us to change our attitudes and be changed, as we look to God and be unafraid for all that lies ahead.

Grace and Peace to you all.

My very best wishes.