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Banff area churches offer online services after lockdown imposed

By Kyle Ritchie

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Banffshire churches have changed their arrangements for services after the new coronavirus lockdown was introduced.

Some of the places of worship in the area had welcomed people back by following the relevant safety precautions, while also continuing with online services.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that churches would have to close for worship as part of new restrictions introduced.

The only reason they can open is to broadcast a service or conduct a funeral, wedding, or civil partnership.

Up to 20 people are able to attend funeral services but wakes will not be possible.

A maximum of five people are able to attend wedding or civil partnership services.

Churches in the area have halted in-person services and moved them to online only.

Macduff Parish Church is holding its services and other sessions online.
Macduff Parish Church is holding its services and other sessions online.

Banff and King Edward parish churches are hosting services on the internet.

Rev David Locke said: "In many ways these have proved very popular across a spectrum of people, existing church members and many newcomers from far and near.

"Although some older folk do not access the online services because of the technology involved, our service offering audio access via any phone has been quite popular and will also continue.

"Likewise, we have adapted our children and family activities considerably putting up a lot of activities and music online on our website and Facebook. We have also distributed a lot of material and activities by hand or post.

"Most churches, like Banff and King Edward, hold their organisational meetings by Zoom, and that is likely to continue."

"Many churches are informally working much closer together than previously. The leaders of Banff's River Church, Macduff and Banff parish churches will continue to work together offering worship services and thoughts for the day for Deveron FM to broadcast."

To access the online services for the churches in Banff and King Edward visit www.banffparishchurchofscotland.co.uk or its Facebook page.

Macduff Parish Church is also offering its services online to worshippers.

Its Midweek Studies and Zoom Coffee and Chat sessions will also be held on the internet. Visit www.macduffparishchurch.org.uk or its Facebook page for details on how to access the services or sessions.

During the new restrictions Portsoy Church will be putting a weekly service on its video page on the church's website at www.portsoychurch.org

River Church in Banff has moved back to an online only format and its Sunday services can be accessed on the church's YouTube channel at 10.30am or through the links on its Facebook page.

Gardenstown New Church has suspended all physical gatherings in the church building in line with the new restrictions which have been introduced.

Rev Robin Gray said: "Our services will for the time being be live-streamed on the church's YouTube channel and over Zoom. We have four such services per week - on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings and evenings.

"Whilst it is not quite the same thing to worship together online, it is still something we are very grateful for, and for many who are lonely and isolated, it is a lifeline."

Deveron FM will also be broadcasting messages from some of the churches.

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