Why Pancakes?

Why Pancakes?

Why do we make Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Find out with URC Synod of Scotland ministers Susan & Stewart.  Featuring some furry friends in the background!

 

Prayer for Peace

Worship leaders across the Church are being encouraged to use a special ecumenical prayer for peace in Ukraine as part of their services this Sunday.

It has been produced by the Scottish Church Leaders Forum in response to the invasion and they stand in solidarity with all those who face the perils of war and the fear that ensues when the bonds of peace are broken.

Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly and one of the signatories, said: “All of us have looked on in horror as Russian forces launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine in the last 24 hours.

“We urge President Putin to cease hostilities and call on all parties to agree a ceasefire and return immediately to the negotiating table.

“I would encourage all worship leaders across the Church of Scotland to consider incorporating this prayer in their services this Sunday as we continue to hold the Ukrainian people in our thoughts and send them our full support.”

 

Living God,
Creator and giver of life to all people:
We ask that you would hear our prayer for peace amongst the nations
And for ending of conflict in Ukraine.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who shall judge between the nations:
We ask that that you would lead the nations in the paths of peace
And that the dividing wall of hostility would be broken down.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who has inspired faith across the ages:
Grant peace in the midst of war
And bring harmony to the commonwealth of nations.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who gave his only Son that we might have life:
We ask that you would pour out your Holy Spirit
And inspire in us hope that peace will be renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

 

 

Signed by:

Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day: “Women – Breaking Chains, Nurturing Communities, Planting Seeds of Hope”

An online event organised by The Council for World Mission Caribbean and Europe Regions

“This will be a Zoom event on International Women’s Day, 8 March, 11:30 a.m. Jamaica time/4:30 p.m. UK time as they join with churches and communities worldwide to celebrate the strides made by women in church ministry – in pews and pulpits, classrooms, and centres of care and nurture.”

For more information follow this link

Covid update from the Scottish Government

Faith & Belief representatives

Wider Stakeholder Group

Dear all,

As you may have seen, a short time ago the First Minister announced some changes to the existing regulations around Covid. The main aspects of her announcement with regards to Covid certification, face coverings, and Regulations applying to Places of Worship are that:

  • The COVID certification scheme requiring certain venues and events to check the vaccine or test status of attendees will come to an end next Monday 28 February. The app which supports the scheme will remain operational, however, so any business that wishes to continue COVID certification on a voluntary basis to reassure customers will be able to do so. As you will be aware, acts of worship are currently exempt from the certification requirements.
  • As of 21 March – assuming no significant adverse developments in the course of the virus – we expect that the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings and on public transport will be converted to guidance. We will continue to strongly recommend the wearing of face coverings in shops and other indoor public places, and on public transport
  • We also expect on 21 March to lift the legal requirement for businesses, places of worship and service providers to have regard to guidance on COVID, and to take practical measures set out in the guidance

Over the coming days, and prior to 21 March, we will be assessing any changes required to our current guidance, taking into account the anticipated changes above, and taking cognisance of any changes to the threat level and data, which may or may not alter the intended changes in the intervening period.

We will discuss the changes, and anticipated alteration to our current guidance, at this week’s meeting of the Faith and Belief representatives on Wednesday.

In addition to the announced changes to measures today, the updated Strategic Assessment has been published, and the link is below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland’s Strategic Framework Update – February 2022 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

As ever, if you have anything to raise about the changes or other matters, please let us know.

Many thanks,

Dean

Dean Pennington | Senior Policy officer |Faith & Belief Team | Connected Communities | Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights Directorate | Scottish Government |

Distance Aware

Distance Aware is a UK-wide initiative launched by the Bevan Commission which enables individuals and organisations to politely prompt ongoing distancing and respect of individual social space. The scheme is symbolised by a shield with arrows; indicating the desired space. The scheme has previously been endorsed by the Welsh, Northern Irish and UK Governments.  The Scottish Government has confirmed Distance Aware will launch in Scotland on 26 January and is investing to promote the scheme and the products across Scotland.

www.gov.scot/distanceaware

The shield icon is worn as a badge or lanyard to allow individuals to indicate that they would like to have space around them. Because this icon is universal, it means that is open to anyone that wishes to indicate they’d like distance around them.

The Scottish Government has worked with the Bevan Commission to adopt the Distance Aware scheme and adapt it for Scotland.   We believe the initiative can support people in adapting to live with the virus in ways that are less restrictive and can help overcome anxiety people may feel in returning to public settings including places of worship.

Existing sources where individuals can access badges include UK wide partner ASDA, or online through a small number of partner charities listed on the Bevan website.   The Scottish Government has also procured badges and lanyards for distribution free at libraries throughout Scotland. This is to ensure that people across the breadth of Scotland can access the scheme, and is not reliant on digital sources in order to receive a badge.

We will be promoting Distance Aware in the coming days on our website, through a press release, social media content, SMS messages, and through a letter to around 180,000 people on the Highest Risk List.

However this scheme, which is completely voluntary, is available to anyone who needs it for any reason, to make sure everyone benefits as restrictions are reduced and we return to a more normal way of life.  This will be a big step or change for some for many reasons, and we hope will make more people confident and comfortable in public places and work.  It also provides an opportunity to discuss with staff, customers or members what living with the virus and returning to a more normal way of life means for everyone, and how we can do this in consideration of those who find it harder to adapt.

To ensure success of the scheme we are asking businesses and organisations to help us raise awareness of the Distance Aware symbol and with staff, customers and members.

The stakeholder pack provides information on Distance Aware, and includes suggestions on ways in which business and organisations can participate in the scheme, and resources to support them with this. These include suggested social media content and posters that can be printed for display.  These are provided in high resolution (A4) pdf format, and have also been provided as an open file to allow organisations to re-size where required.

As part of our ongoing evaluation of the scheme, we are keen to gauge how widely the scheme has been promoted and to understand how organisations are using the resources in the toolkit so will be very grateful for any feedback you or faith groups are able to provide, and will be in touch in the coming weeks for this.

Living Safely for us all – Scottish Government

Please find attached a copy of the latest Scottish Government Coronavirus toolkit. This is for dissemination throughout your organisations and contains links to adverts and materials for display.  Some information on the campaign is detailed at the bottom of this message.

As most of you will have seen today, the First Minister announced some further changes to Covid restrictions. This included changes to working from home, working with children and face covering exemptions. For Places of Worship, the current exemption for the use of face coverings was that for a person leading an act of worship and for performers/choirs, a face covering did not require to be worn provided that the person was either behind a screen or at least 2 metres from other people. This will now revert back to 1 metre, and the change will take effect from Friday 28th January. I am currently updating the guidance for publication, and will let you know once this has been done

Toolkit – Coronavirus – Living Safely for Us All

Living Safely for us all Campaign

Today we wanted to give you an update on our COVID-19 ‘Living Safely for Us All’ Campaign – please find the updated Stakeholder Toolkit attached.

With Omicron cases declining and restrictions easing, yesterday saw the re-introduction of the ‘Living Safely For Us All’ campaign. Messaging has been updated to reflect a more positive tone, while still covering the COVID-19 safety behaviours. Living Safely For Us All illustrates that by keeping up with the key behaviours, it helps keep life moving elsewhere. Living Safely For Us all will run throughout February across TV, radio, outdoor and digital advertising channels.

Ø  View the ‘Living Safely for Us All’ TV ad via YouTube here

Key Messages

The ‘Living Safely for Us All’ key messages include:

  • By living as safely as we can with COVID around, we’re helping others, helping our NHS and helping Scotland’s recovery.
  • Get vaccinated (1st, 2nd, 3rd or booster)
  • Take an LFD test before socialising, mixing with others or using public transport
  • Wear a face coverings in indoor public places
  • Self-isolation and testing has now changed to reduce isolation periods in certain circumstances.
  • Report LFD test results, even if negative
  • Let fresh air in regularly if meeting others indoors
  • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly

 How You Can Help

  • Please use the updated assets moving forward
  • Please discontinue use of any ‘stay at home’ materials and previously shared TV advert to ensure the latest self-isolation guidance is being shared
  • If you don’t already, please follow SG channels across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share and retweet content

Stakeholder Toolkit

The ‘Living Safely this Winter’ Stakeholder Toolkit contains the following, with all download links available within the toolkit:

  • Campaign overview and key messages
  • TV ad and 10 sec social cut-down films
  • Stakeholder Posters – Key COVID Protection Measures and Flowchart of Self-Isolation Changes
  • Editable Stakeholder Posters for Local Test Centres
  • Social media assets with suggested copy
  • Email signature and web banner
  • Useful links

URC Synod of Scotland Big Christmas Quiz! 🎄

URC Synod of Scotland Big Christmas Quiz! 🎄

How well do you know your Christmas Trivia?

Test your knowledge of silly and not-so-silly festive facts against a panel of church ministers from across the United Reformed Church in Scotland.
  • Discover Christmas traditions from around the world.
  • Laugh as Jess and Matt get the questions wrong!
  • Groan at our cheesy Christmas Cracker Jokes!
Starring Reverends David, Sarah, and Stewart, with your irreverent hosts, Jess and Matt! Edited by the very talented AJ Mills www.thesoundestguy.co.uk.