Following up from the six-month Covid-19 review statement, “Press Together”, of 25 September 2020, the Scottish Mission (SM) wishes to express to the members of the Mission, the following:
It is the understanding of the ministerial team, that a return to church would be welcomed by some of the members of the SM. This has caused some to want to start back summarily and as such, the following sentiments are expressed:
- As stated in the Church Manual, Church organisation is based on God’s principles. “Never allow anyone’s ideas to unsettle your faith in regard to the order and harmony which should exist in the church… The God of heaven is a God of order and He requires all His followers to have rules and regulations and to preserve order.” 5T 274
- That the church family of the SM shares the values and respect of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as it exists in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Therefore, the SM acts in unison along with the British Union Conference (BUC) and, in our case, the Laws of Scotland, in order to ensure that the members of the Mission remain safe from Covid-19.
- That the different churches in the SM work together with the SM Executive Committee, in order to enable members and entities within the SM to remain as safe as possible.
- Currently churches are holding either online services (Step 1) or Broadcast Services (Step 2) and the Executive Committee will give careful consideration as to moving forward to Step 3 and some limited reopening of churches.
- That the leadership of the Mission will continue to work within the framework of both the government, and BUC guidelines. Both the laws of the land and the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s guidelines are important for the safety of all.
- The BUC/SM guidelines are quite clear and before reopening can be considered there must be Church Board approval, signed by the pastor and the designated Risk Assessment sent from the Church Board to the SM. This must be officially considered and accepted or modified. Then and only then can authorisation be given.
Please note this statement from the Church Manual. "In Seventh-day Adventist Church Structure, no organisation determines its own status, nor does it function as if it had no obligations to the Church family beyond its boundaries." (Church Manual, Organisation and Authority p 27)
The process of reopening our churches is constantly under review and the next SM Executive Meeting, which is due to take place on 11 October 2020, will consider this matter further. The best course of action will be decided upon for the churches that have submitted their Risk Assessments and have followed the guidelines that are in place for the safety of all.
We know that the Coronavirus is resurfacing and the infection rates are climbing sharply here in Scotland as well as throughout the UK. It is the wish of the trustees of the SM to see the members back in church, and this will continue to be approached cautiously and carefully. We pray that the Mission will benefit from possibilities in the next few weeks, and the long-awaited return to church will become a reality, for those who wish, so that we can become a Church gathered once more. We will continue to work with and through the Church Boards, and the pastoral team, to this end.
Pastor Paul Tompkins, Scottish Mission President