Lockdown Update

Our three Kirks are still closed until we can muster  all the safety requirements  which are legal. All three Kirk sessions are due to make an updated decision 7-9th September.   Also, St Leonards still has builders materials blocking a critical fire exit as I write this. I would like to see some form of Sunday worship resumed before the end of September if the Kirk Sessions feel they can organise deep cleans before and after, as well as monitor facemasks and hand cleaning at the doors with a register for “contact and trace”.  We are also obliged  to conduct a deep clean before and after services,  which will be seated and void of Hymn singing. Meeting  for teas after the service will not be possible until future notice. However,  we do plan  to continue with weekly online  services , during  which  people have been able to sing hymns  at home. Donald Prentice ( Minister)

Pastoral Care and Telephone “Visiting”

Donald loves the fellowship of a phone call and also your news so please keep in touch. The Minister  has been conducting “Telephone Visiting”  during Lockdown. If you have not  received a call and would like one please contact us here to arrange a call. If you already have the phone number then please feel free to call. This is still a time to be careful but we can  keep in good fellowship via email and telephone.

Blog & Online  Services – will continue even when we return to partial  services in the Kirk building. This is to enable  anyone who is unable to attend for whatever reason to take part in worship. This will be almost the same service as will be held in Church. Please help anyone you know who has a computer or tablet, to access the services online. Simply type stleonardschurchforres.org  in the browser box,  then click on the Worship menu on the top line or visit our YouTube channel. If anyone without a computer, who has a DVD player would like the current or previous services, John Carson our Reader/ Elder will deliver a dvd recording to you.  This replaces the cassette tape / cd  home service.

Virtually Keswick


The Keswick Convention is this year having 5 days of “Virtually Keswick” – 27th to 31st July, which should be worth a look. The theme is “Hope” and the Bible readings are from Psalms.

The morning session is at 10am, there are seminars at 11:15am and the evening session is at 8pm. There are also sessions for children and youth. The speakers are always first class, it’s all free, and you can watch as much or as little as you like.

Full details at – https://vkc.keswickministries.org/

Lockdown Rules – Update

Phase 3 Update.

Due to the list of requirements by ScotGOV and with the majority of our office bearers still “guarding”, we are unable to open the Church buildings for Congregational worship, so our Online worship services will continue as the new normal for Sunday worship.

The Kirk Sessions of Dallas, Rafford and St Leonards are looking for ways to open for funeral services but these will have to be carefully co-ordinated, recording attendees, cleaning before and after and with seat spacing. Other risk analyses and health and safety issues have to be achieved and recorded first. Hymn singing is also not permitted until further notice.

The situation may change by early September when the Kirk Sessions hope to be in a position to open the Church buildings. BUT… remember the Church is not the building! It is the people of God called out to serve in the community.

May God bless you in your mission.

Rev Donald Prentice

The Guild

The Church of Scotland Guild or simply The Guild (formerly known as the Woman’s Guild), is a movement within the Church of Scotland.

Historically it was, and often in practice it is, an exclusively woman’s movement. It has groups, organised at a congregational level, in most of the parishes of Scotland. The aim of the movement is “to invite and encourage both woman and men to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and to enable them to express their faith in worship, prayer, and action”. The associated motto is “Whose I am, and Whom I serve’ 

St Leonard’s Church Guild

The Church of Scotland Guild is so much more than it appears at a glance.  Over the years, the guild has taken great risks in its work, often leading the church into ideas and service that it may otherwise have found too challenging or even too frightening to pursue.  Here are  some of our projects and themes, the building of a girls school in Kalimpong in 1888,  working with alcoholic women in early 20th century , sending gifts to German women after the war, post-natal depression, domestic abuse, challenging apartheid, addressing human trafficking and many, many more.

Fellowship is probably the main reason why most people attend Guild Meetings. Yes, we go to learn more about the Bible, to pray, to worship and to learn from speakers but mostly it is because of the friendship and support we enjoy with other members.

We have had lots of fun and interesting talks eg project Uganda, Moray libraries, Quiz (with members from other guilds), different crafts, Salvation Army and afternoons of entertainment by members.  The Guild members are also invited to different guilds for evening/afternoons of entertainment.  We also have a Scottish night which is a great success and everyone seems to enjoy, Christmas Party with the ladies all doing the Hokey Cokey and we have out usual Summer Lunch or Afternoon Tea at a local hotel. So I am sure there would be something of interest there for everyone.  New members are always made very welcome.  We have had several men visiting but no men have ventured to join the Guild. All are welcome, if you are interested in joining or would like more information then please use our contact form.

June Machray  Guild President

Church Access For Prayer

Scottish Government “Phase 2” rules for places of worship – allow individual access for prayer from 22 June 2020.
As most of our Office bearers are themselves still isolating, access to the Church can be arranged by appointment by contacting the Minister through our contact form.

Any further opening of the Church and or Hall will be subject to Scottish Government ruling and further decision by the Kirk Session of each Church.

Inclusion / Exclusion

From the early writings of St Paul and St Luke ( author of Acts) we can see an ongoing conflict in the early Church between people who saw themselves as the privileged “insiders” and the Loving Inclusive drive of Jesus and His Gospel to share Love and Goodness with all God’s children. Indeed Jesus taught His disciples to share the love with all creation, plant life, animals, etc. All creation. What a magnificent broad and inclusive Gospel we have to share. Sadly, on this Sunday the issues of Exclusion for people of different race and colour loom large across our cities.

Windrush Day Observance was introduced, mainly by the Churches in the UK in 2018. It was on 22 June (1948) that several hundred people arrived from the Caribbean on board the HMS Empire Windrush to start a new life in Britain. Caribbean people who had served in the British armed forces were encouraged to come to Britain to work. More people followed. It is estimated that around 500,000 people living in the UK are part of the Windrush generation. Windrush Day celebrates these arrivals and seeks to honour the diverse contributions the Caribbean community has made to British society. This is a particularly noticeable today in modern pop music and in a vibrant movement of Gospel Choirs making worship fresh and lively.
Like many migrant stories, those who arrived were full of hope. Over time, many faced racism and discrimination. Children were picked on at school and jobs were difficult to obtain. Hence Windrush Day can be broadened to include reflection on forms of exclusion, including insensitive rejection of LBGT people, women in promoted posts, which some Church congregations have been guilty of. What would Jesus think?

This Sunday, we are invited to reflect on what it means to be a hospitable community, welcoming and loving all God’s people and celebrating our glorious technicolour diversity with each other and with the whole of creation, as Jesus taught.

If you have felt excluded in any way, even just given a frosty greeting in a Church, then please feel free to share this with your Minister or Elder.

Rev D Prentice MINISTER

Covid-19 Response

At St Leonard’s we are being very cautious for our older members as well as following guidelines set out by the Scottish Government. The Lockdown has prevented us from meeting together in worship. However we will continue to provide an Online act of worship, Sunday by Sunday. You can access this via Facebook or YouTube sites under St Leonards Church Forres. At present there is no fixed aspirational date when we may return to worship when we can safely Congregate. However look out for updates on this website at the end of July for further notice. In the meantime, let us love one another, let us hold each other in prayer and  may we prayerfully remain open to the Lord’s blessings in our lives.

New Website Launch

Welcome to St Leonard’s Church of Scotland new website. Congratulations! You have successfully tracked down  our website and we hope you enjoy surfing through our pages and links. Thanks to Emma, our able web manager, we hope to provide links to articles and official Church  notices . You are invited to make suggestions to how we might better include relevant information by using our contact form. In the meantime please be patient with us as we continue to build up our new on line outreach. Rev Donald Prentice

You can stay in touch via our ‘Contact Us’ page, get information about regular groups on the ‘Groups at St Leonard’s’ page. View online content and our full calendar on the ‘Worship With Us’ page. You can also volunteer or donate to the church on the ‘Support St Leonard’s’ page. We really hope you enjoy the new site and hopefully we will meet in person soon. Please also don’t forget to join our mailing list to receive the latest news.

Lockdown News

During this period  of Lockdown, and indeed the absence of Church building based services,  we currently rely on Online Services. During the week, Donald, the Minister, and the Elders are conducting, “Telephone Visiting”  as part of the Church’s ongoing Pastoral care. If you have not received a call, then  we do apologise. Do please contact  one of the Elders or let Donald know via our contact form. Hospital visiting is not available to Donald or the Elders, but Dr Gray’s Hospital, Inverness Hospitals and Aberdeen all have resident Hospital Chaplains who can provide Pastoral support and prayers within the Hospitals.