Love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12)

We welcome into the life and worship of our congregation all people whatever their ethnic origin, gender, background, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability.  We affirm our diversity and the dignity of each person.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7)

After having been closed since Christmas 2020, Wellington will re-open for Sunday worship at the usual time of 11am, starting on Easter Sunday 4th April 2021.

We are not yet able to return to “normal” worship as we must continue to observe the guidelines of the Scottish Government and the Church of Scotland. So for the time being, there is no “live” service in the church and, instead, the congregation will be able to participate in the online service, shown on the video screen in the sanctuary. While clearly not ideal, we hope this will provide a collective experience which many will have missed during the long months of lockdown.

This is a transitional arrangement which will allow us to monitor the practicalities of opening the Church for worship while complying with all relevant guidance and regulations.  Although the service will still include music, unfortunately the guidance means that there can be no singing in the church buildings at present, and any prayers  and responses should be spoken very quietly, so as to minimise the spread of (potentially) virus-carrying droplets.

Everyone is very welcome to join us in worship but please think about your own health and circumstances before deciding to come to church. You can use the Church of Scotland assessment tool to guide your decision. Please also keep up to date with Scottish Government advice about Covid-19 and follow the guidance on hygiene and physical distancing.

If you or anyone in your household shows any signs of infection – new continuous cough, fever, loss of sense of taste or smell – within the last 14 days, you must stay at home and contact NHS Test and Protect.

For now, the following procedures will be in place for Sunday worship:

  • Doors will be open from 10:30am, and you are asked to enter by the side door on Southpark Avenue. The main doors on University Avenue will remain closed.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times in the church buildings, unless there is a medical reason for not doing so.
  • You will be welcomed at the side door and will be directed to the far end of the ground floor corridor for hand sanitising and registration.
  • As required under the Government’s track and trace procedures, we need to take the names and contact details (phone or email) of everyone attending the service – for couples or family groups , one contact name will suffice, These details will be held by us for 21 days and then destroyed.
  • Hand sanitisers will be available, and you are asked to sanitise your hands before registering and entering the sanctuary.
  • You will enter the sanctuary by the east door, at the far end of the corridor, and be shown to a seat.
  • Seating arrangements will comply with physical distancing guidance, and notices and hazard tape will show which areas are to be used and which are to be kept clear. There will be two vacant rows of pews between each occupied row.
  • Couples and family groups can sit together but otherwise 2 metre distancing should be observed.
  • For hygiene reasons, we have had to remove the cushions from the pews, and hymn books and bibles will not be available. If you wish, please bring your own bible – though the text of any readings will be printed in the order of service as usual.
  • The order of service will be available on a table in the sanctuary. If you take an order of service, please remember to not leave it behind in the pews but take it home and dispose of it as appropriate. We will not have as many copies as usual. If at all possible, please print this at home or bring an electronic device on which to view it.
  • At the close of the service when the video has finished, we will allow for five minutes so people can just sit and reflect for a short while. After that, you will be directed by the stewards to swiftly leave the sanctuary – by the west door in an orderly, distanced manner and then to go out of the building via the side door.
  • At present, there can be no tea or coffee or indoor socialising before or after the service. Once in the open, people are of course free to chat and socialise in the garden area provided 2 metre distancing is maintained between individuals/family groups – and obviously handshakes and hugs are to be avoided for now.
  • Toilets will be available but please use only if absolutely necessary and please also comply with all relevant notices about access and use. Access to the toilets will be through the Woodlands Hall and exit through the corridor past the creche (creating a one-way system).
  • There will be no collection during the service but the pedestal near the side door will be available as usual for donations.
  • Unfortunately, if anyone becomes unwell and is unable to get home unaided, we will be obliged to call an ambulance.
  • At present, there is no creche and no Sunday School.

We realise that these first steps are still a long way from our familiar Sunday service, but they do at least allow for a degree of communal worship within the Wellington sanctuary.  Our online services will continue to be available for those with home internet access, as well as in Wellington itself, and we appreciate that, for now, this may continue to be the preferred option for some people.

We need hardly add that all of these arrangements will remain under regular review in the light of our own experience as well as the official guidance from the Scottish Government and Church of Scotland. Our aim is to resume live worship in the near future and we will keep you advised as we move towards that goal.

If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact our church office who will refer you to one of our ministers, the Rev Liz Johnson Blythe and the Rev Dr Roger Sturrock.

We hope that by broadcasting the same service simultaneously in church and at home, we will generate a sense of community but do please continue to keep in touch with each other – by phone, email, zoom, letter or however you have been managing this during the lockdown period.  We look forward to welcoming everyone, in both settings, to our services.

Claire McDiarmid

Session Clerk