RELIGION: Churches in Helensburgh and Rhu have re-opened for worship after six months.

Helensburgh Parish Church with its ministers, the Rev David T. Young and associate minister,the Rev Tina Kemp.

By Democrat reporter

The congregations of Helensburgh Parish Church linked with Rhu & Shandon began a phased re-opening on September 23 with Sacred Space – a time of prayer, music and reflection.

The buildings will be open again on October 7 and 21 at 11am for Sacred Space, with the first physical worship services on Sunday, November 8 – Armistice Sunday. Physical services will thereafter resume weekly from Sunday, November 29 – the first Sunday in Advent.

Throughout closure, minister the Rev David T. Young and associate minister the Rev Tina Kemp have been providing weekly online worship on a dedicated YouTube channel. Contact has also been maintained with members through virtual coffee mornings, weekly e-bulletins, a Whatsapp support group and online meetings.

The decision to re-open came only after careful consideration and planning, with the health and safety of the congregation the top priority. Numbers are restricted and a booking system is in place, as are all the required safety and social distancing measures.

Mr Young said: “We are delighted to be back in our buildings, even though we are not able to worship or have fellowship the way we did before. We are doing everything we can to make the experience as enriching as possible for those who attend and will be continuing to produce online services for those who feel unable to come at this time.

“Advent and Christmas will be challenging without the usual services and celebrations we enjoy but we hope we can still capture some of the spirit of the festive season with what we have planned.”

The Bridge halls complex at Helensburgh Parish Church, which normally accommodates more than 50 church and community groups every week, plans to re-open to limited groups on October 19.

For more information about services or how to make a room booking, visit the Facebook and website pages of both congregations.

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