The apostle Paul often begins his letters to the Christian diaspora saying, ‘Grace and Peace to you from God and from our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Like the epistle letters of Ephesians, Corinthians, and Romans, I begin each worship service using these words at the font. It is first to welcome everyone in our midst, for all are welcome at Portland Parish Church. Second it is to remind us that in and through creation and our baptism we are named as God’s own beloved children and are always already at home with God. I don’t know that anyone ever expected lockdown with a pandemic to last as long as it has here in Scotland and the United Kingdom. We thought surely this would be finished by Easter of 2020. Throughout lockdown Portland members continue to BE the church. As we now begin to look toward planning for Christmas 2021, we know that things will look different. We don’t know what the future holds, but we understand that God’s abiding presence will accompany us into the future whatever shapes it takes. When I began this Locum, I committed to be your pastor for 6 weeks, 1.5 years later, I find this calling in my life fulfilling, challenging, and comforting. Thank you for allowing me to be your pastor during these extraordinarily odd times. Grace and Peace Rev. Mary Elizabeth Prentice-Hyers (mel)
I begin each worship service with pouring of water to remind us that first and foremost, we belong to God. In and through the waters of creation and baptism we are named and claimed as God’s own. I say, ‘Welcome Home,’ so that we know as a community all are welcome. On 22 March 2020 we began doing church differently. We went from minimal staff at the church recording worship to now recording from my home with the help of technology and faithful members of the congregation. We hope during this period of church building closure, whether it is your first time to worship virtually or you join us each week, know that you are welcome. These are strange times. Nothing about this time in our lives is normal. We minimise human contact to maximise human life. It is counter cultural to what we are called to do as a community of followers of Christ, but we trust in the science and hold all key workers in our prayers. We also hold you in our prayers. While we might not physically meet at the church, we can still be the body of Christ together. If you have need of a pastoral visit or questions regarding faith, please let me know at: minister@troonportlandchurch.org.uk You can find a link to the weekly sermon in our website: www.troonportlandchurch.org.uk The website also contains links to the monthly church magazine (The Parishioner) which we are unable to deliver due to current restrictions. There are other links which you will find useful and interesting. Keeping in Contact If you are unable to access our website, we would still like to keep in contact with you. The Elders of the Church will contact you using telephone or email (whichever suits you better). We are aware that we do not have a complete contact list with everyone’s telephone number or email address. So, if you have not received any contact, please get in touch with me and I will pass the information to your district Elder and John Reid (Session Clerk), Mobile Number: 07528 180515. At the start of Lent, we buried Alleluias to symbolise that during Lent we do things differently. We certainly have done things differently during this season of Lent and will continue to do so as long as public health restrictions remain in place. At this time, I feel called to remain with you all as your Locum and I look forward to the day that we may gather together to dig up the Alleluias and worship together. Christ is Risen!