The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has brought with it new hope, but also new scams from criminals looking for ways to profit off the pandemic. Sometimes it is hard to identify, as many scams look real and very convincing. This is one that’s going the rounds. If you see a text like this, just delete it.
The link isn’t harmful in itself, but clicking it leads to this page, which looks extremely convincing, and asks for personal identification:
Don’t be a sucker! Remember that:
- The vaccine is offered for free, so NHS will never ask for your bank details or payment in order to offer you a vaccine.
- At this stage, NHS is offering vaccine to the three priority groups identified (residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, people aged 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers). If you do not fall into one of these groups, and someone offers you an early access to the vaccine, it is likely to be a scam. More information about the vaccination schedule can be found from the NHS Inform website.
Do have a look at the special page on the Holy Trinity website for information on what’s happening over Christmas and available to us on-line. There are special live-streamed services each day from Monday 21 December to Thursday 24 December, as well as a Christmas@Home service on the joyous day itself.
The Church of Scotland has posted a news item from which this has been adapted and shortened:
This Sunday (1 November), as new tiered restrictions have been announced across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7.00pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As in previous weeks since 22 March, leaders of 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including our Primus, have co-signed a letter calling for prayer, and Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week.
Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part. He said: “There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them.
“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.
“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.
“If Sunday at 7.00pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”
The prayer for the coming Sunday is updated each Thursday/Friday, and you can find a link to it on our home page.
As described in Kenny’s letter of 18 September, our worship together in these COVID-19 days has had to be adapted to comply with the required guidelines. The main things you need to know are:
- In advance: There is a strict limit to the numbers that can be accommodated safely in our building, and it would be helpful to know that you intend to come, so that we are able to accommodate as many as possible – email Sandra at email@example.com.
- When you arrive: The only entrance to the building is by the door in the car park, and you should follow the one-way system as directed.
- Face coverings must be worn when in the building, and should only be removed when receiving communion.
- Physical distancing must be maintained when in the building and throughout the service. To make this easier, a sidesperson will guide you as to where you should sit.
- Guidance as to the use of hand sanitisers must be observed.
- At the end of the service you will be guided when to leave in order that physical distancing can be maintained.
- To comply with ‘Track and Trace’ requirements, personal details will be requested at all services.
We will be meeting in unusual circumstances – while music will be played there can be no congregational singing; the Peace cannot be shared; you will receive Communion in one kind only (the bread) – but every effort will be made to make it as prayerful and enjoyable an experience as we can.
Realising that all this is difficult to visualise, you might find it helpful to watch this video produced by the Province, which gives a flavour of what to expect when you next come to St Margaret’s.
Churches can now open for public worship subject to additional rules laid down by the Scottish Government, and revisions have been made to the guidance issued by the Advisory Group of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the pastoral guidance issued by the College of Bishops. Should you wish to read them you will find the latest version of the guidelines on the SEC website.
Updates with slight modification on previous guidance include a strict limit on numbers permitted to worship, with physical distancing remaining in place at 2 metres; a recommendation on collecting details of those attending to facilitate contact tracing; and limited singing by just a single voice.
The rules are challenging to say the least! All must abide by the Government guidelines and cannot take shortcuts. And, of course, as we worship in Methodist premises, we are also bound by their implementation of the rules, which at present means that we will not be worshipping at Rosyth until at least 1 September.
[Updated 17 Aug] The SEC website used to link to a short video ‘walk through’ of the preparations and practices needed for public worship, which demonstrated in an easy-to-assimilate form what may well become the new normal. Unfortunately, this useful video had to be withdrawn as it didn’t show worshippers wearing face masks as required by a latest guidance. In consequence, expect it to feel even less like things were when we last met on 15 March!