Greetings to all our Scottish Mission members
As I write, we have just reached the significant milestone of six months since the initial Coronavirus lockdown began. During this time Covid-19 and its effects have well and truly entered our consciousness and become a living reality. Six months on and the virus is back, as we hear disturbing reports of a second wave, resulting in fresh restrictions to help suppress the spread of the virus in Scotland.
During this time we have become a church without walls, with so many creative weekly services, online Days of Fellowship and virtual e Camporees, to mention just a few. We have learned to readjust to what has come to be known as a new normal.
After six months we had hoped to be a church physically gathered once more, but instead by necessity we remain scattered in our own homes, united by prayer and through technology. We regularly review the situation from the Scottish Mission Office and in our weekly pastoral meetings and will start back to church as soon as can be practical and safe. In so doing we must bear in mind the current restrictions around services that include two metre social distancing, no singing, the mandatory wearing of face masks and stringent health and cleansing requirements that require detailed Risk Assessments. The situation isn’t easy and seems to be getting harder as the virus resurfaces approaching winter.
Understanding this reality, there is an important message that I would like to share today. I believe it is vitally important that as a church family we “Press Together” through this difficult time and as we go forward. By this I mean to work unitedly in the cause of the gospel. The phrase “Press Together” is one often used in the Spirit of Prophecy writings and seems extremely pertinent to today’s situation. “We are coming to a time when, more than ever before, we shall need to press together, to labour unitedly…” (SM 2 p 374) That time is surely now and despite all the difficulties around us, our purpose remains undimmed and the Mission Statement of the church unites us all.
Mission Statement (Revised 2019)
To “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ who live as His loving witnesses and proclaim to all people the everlasting gospel of the Three Angels’ Messages in preparation for His soon return.”
This is our firm ground on which to Press Together. In unity there is strength and our challenge is to find new and innovative ways to make this a reality, both corporately and individually, within the context of Scotland.
Physically we must socially isolate, but spiritually, prayerfully and in accord with God’s leading we must press together in proclaiming the everlasting gospel.
The world church has formulated a new Strategic Plan that has been set for the period 2020-2025, which gives impetus and follows on from the previous theme of Reach the World.
Theme and Strategic Plan
I Will Go is the new General Conference Strategic Plan. This is one which I believe we can all commit to and memorise easily. This fits very closely with Total Membership Involvement and we will hear much more of this in the weeks and months to come. Firstly, by virtual means during lockdown, and then together as the churches reopen. Together we will seek the Lord’s guidance as to how this can become an ongoing and dynamic aspect of our life and ministry here in the Scottish Mission.
For the present we are continuing with local district online and broadcast services. The next Scottish Mission Executive committee meets on Sunday 11th October and will again look at the best opportunities for moving ahead to the next step towards reopening the churches. This will be done carefully and prayerfully as we seek to be responsible and safeguard all. We seek your prayers as we do this.
As a pastoral team we are also in the planning stage for a Mission-wide online Week of Prayer (November 7-14) and further details will be made available as plans progress. This will be in addition to plans for the children and youth that will include another Youth Day of Fellowship and possibly an online Pathfinder Investiture and banquet.
Brothers and Sisters, thank you for pressing together. Your commitment and faithful giving to the church, through the online mechanisms, has been so inspiring. Thank you too for your patience and support through these undoubtedly difficult times. We have also greatly appreciated all who have joined with our ongoing Friday evening prayer meetings and other local church Zoom and Conference Call programmes. These will continue as long as needed.
As I write the immediate future is, humanly speaking, not yet clear, but our faith in God remains undimmed. May God be with us all as we press together towards His soon coming Kingdom.
Pastor Paul Tompkins
Scottish Mission President
25 September 2020