Transitioning out of lockdown
Update 1 

24th May 2020

In this first update we set out the process the Elders will follow to plan Chalmers' exit from lockdown in line with government guidance.  

On 21/5 The Scottish Government published its route map for leading the country through and out of the coronavirus pandemic.  It is an excellent document, clear and easy to read.  You can access it here.  

The government will follow a phased approach to lifting current restrictions.  There are five phases.  We are currently in the Lockdown phase.  This will be followed by phases 1-4. Movement from one phase to the next is dependent on a number of criteria being met.  The clear message from the government is that these criteria will be met only if we follow the rules in each successive phase.  As Christians we are called to set an example to others in obeying those God has put in authority over us. Moreover, it is good to speak well of those in authority over us, recognising their job is extremely difficult.  Living distinctively, setting an example in these areas may give opportunities to speak of our faith in Jesus.

The Government’s route map sets out clearly what moving through these phases will look like in different areas of life.  That includes church life.  We welcome the inclusion of Church in the Government’s plan.

The move to Phase 1 will mean very little change to the way we are currently functioning as a church under lockdown.  Staff will continue to work offsite.  Sunday services will continue through livestream with small groups, children and youth work and other church activities continuing via Zoom.  The only change in Phase 1 that will affect church life is the ability to meet up with one other household outdoors with physical distancing. 

What are we doing as a church? A small of Chalmers’ elders and members of the Redeemer Leadership Team, facilitated by Fiona MacKenzie, Administrator, will do the work.  The members of the working group are Andy Buchan, Colin Fishbacher (Redeemer) Graham Gibb, Alan Mackenzie, Sam Orr (Redeemer), Jay Parsons and Robin Sydserff.  At this early stage, the working group has set out a number of principles that will guide our decision-making on planning Chalmers' exit from lockdown in line with government guidance.    

  • Meeting together physically as a church family is a biblical mandate and therefore something we want to be able to do. 
  • Compliance with government policy as a church is also a biblical mandate.  We comply not because we have to, but because we want to.  Moreover, complying will ensure that we are protecting the health of others, as well as ourselves. 
  • Recognising that a hybrid approach will be necessary through the different stages of transitioning out of lockdown.  For example, looking much further ahead in the latter phases when some of us may be able to gather together physically in the church building, those of us who are in vulnerable groups may not be able. 
  • Decision-making guided by the church’s vision to reach, build, train send (keeping evangelism as a priority). 
  • Keep things simple – focus on Sundays, small groups, children and youth programmes.  
  • Maintain unity among the elders and congregation, conscious that there will be a range of views. 
  • Conscious of the principles we learned in the Motto Series on 1 Corinthians 8-10, we want to make decisions mindful of people’s salvation (both believers and unbelievers).
  • Working with other churches, particularly in areas where guidance needs to be interpreted.
  • Working with individuals in the congregation with particular expertise.
  • Involve ministry leaders in decision making at key stages.  
  • Communicate clearly with the whole church family.
  • Communicate clearly with the community mindful how they will interpret what we decide to do.

Good communication is key – short updates, whenever there is a change in what we are able to do as a church.  We’ll determine what the best time for that is. 

In all the planning we do to transition out of lockdown, we depend on God.  Planning is important, but praying to a sovereign God in a crisis more important.  So, keep asking the Lord to bring the pandemic to an end.  He is able.  He is powerful. 

Please contact Fiona MacKenzie if you have any questions or comments.