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Church during COVID

Our response to the Coronavirus pandemic

In this unprecedented time, St Machan’s Parish Church has taken steps in response to the pandemic.

A letter from Alastair was sent to all our church members in the middle of September advising we were considering re-opening the Church for Worship.

To help us choose the right option and prepare accordingly, a response sheet was enclosed asking each member to register his/her intention to attend the worship services at St. Machan’s, even if present circumstances meant they could not come to church from the moment it opened. A great response was received indicating a approximately 100 members wished to return immediately whilst 40 wished to delay their return until the Virus situation settled down a bit.

The Kirk Session met on Thursday 8th October to discuss and approve the re-opening plan then, having secured permission from the Church of Scotland together with approval of our Risk Assessment, plans and procedures by Hamilton Presbytery, the Church re-opened for Sunday Worship on Sunday, 18th October. 

In order that we maintain social distancing we are restricting the numbers within the Sanctuary to 38 and so to be able to accommodate everyone 3 short services will be arranged over a 2 week period. There will be 2 short services, the first beginning at 10.30a.m. and the second at 11.45p.m., on every 1st & 3rd Sunday and 1 short service beginning at 10.30a.m. on every 2nd & 4th Sunday. Members, regrettably, being only able to attend every 2nd Sunday.

All Government requirements have been put in place regarding sanitisation of the Church.

To avoid queueing outside and to maintain social distancing, the arrival times will be staggered at short intervals between 10.15 and 10.30a.m. and 11.30 and 11.45a.m.

Worship will be somewhat different to what we are used to and so the following procedures have been put in place for the safety of each member. Please be assured we have taken every step possible to ensure your wellbeing.

Sunday Worship Procedures

  • If you have been experiencing symptoms, have been in contact with a carrier or you feel unwell generally, you should not attend.
  • Temperature will be taken on arrival and should it not register as normal we will, unfortunately, be unable to allow access to Worship.
  • The main front doors only to be used for entry into Church. There will be no access via the rear door from Marshall Street or the side hall door.
  • The front gates will be open and the rear gate from Marshall Street will be open to allow access for those parking their car in Marshall Street.
  • Folks should arrive at the Church as per their allocated time but no earlier than 10.15a.m. or 11.30a.m. depending on which service you are attending.
  • Remember to bring an umbrella to avoid getting wet should you have to wait a minute or two before entering.
  • Please ensure a mask is worn at all time when in Church. Should anyone forget to bring one, spares will be available at the front door. Should you be unable to wear a mask on medical grounds, proof of this would be required.
  • When arriving at the front doors, the welcoming elder will confirm when you may enter and a duty elder will guide each person to a seat.
  • As you are being seated, you will be asked for your name and a contact number. We are required to keep a register of all who attend each week for Track & Trace purposes. 
  • Regrettably, no physical greeting of any kind, at any time, is allowed. 
  • Every second row will be taped off as will the chairs not to be used.
  • Regrettably, there will be no choice of seat for anyone. The rows will be filled from front to rear thus ensuring folks are not passing each other to access a seat.
  • Couples and families of no more than 4 can sit together and the side seats will be allocated for those folks.
  • Once in your seat there can be no leaving it to go speak to anyone, but speaking is still most certainly allowed and encouraged!
  • The offering should be put in plate on the way out. A plate will be available at each exit door. Please ensure all money and envelopes are to hand before leaving your seat thus avoiding any queue when leaving.    
  • Exit after Worship will be via the side doors to the left and right of the Chancel. From the right-hand door, you will exit into the small corridor and then via the outside door immediately to the right. No exit at all via the back door.
  • The toilet in this small corridor and the disabled toilet will be the only ones available for use and should only be used if absolutely necessary.
  •  For the foreseeable future, the balcony will be closed off.
  • There will be no tea/coffee after Worship.
  • You are asked not to gather in groups once outside.

We hope and pray that you stay safe and healthy and if you would like to return, but have not already registered your intention, please contact Mrs Linda Turnbull by email at or call or text on 07866 454737 when she will be happy to reserve a seat for you.


Worship is somewhat different 


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