Glasgow, SCOTLAND (BNC) by Jon Galloway — In was a day of thanksgiving in East Kilbride on Sunday, 28th March. We were thankful that we were able to resume worship after being in lockdown for eleven weeks. It was good to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ once again. But we were also thankful that this was the day that the two congregations in East Kilbride joined together to become one family of God.

We had been planning for this event for over a year. It was in March 2020, before the first lockdown, that Alex Gear and Jon Galloway met to discuss the possibility of merging the two congregations. Alex approached Jon but both had the same thought: for the Lord’s people to survive in our town we needed to join forces.

Alex spoke to the West Mains congregation and there was unanimous approval for the merger. Once everyone was back and worshipping in person at the congregation in Greenhills in the late summer/early autumn, they began discussions which took place over a number of weeks. By the end of the year unanimous approval was given for the merger to take place.

The plan had been for the merger to happen just after the beginning of the year, but due to the surge in Covid-19 cases, this was delayed until there would be sufficient room for both congregations to be able to meet together.

A few weeks ago it was announced that worship could resume in Scotland for Easter but, as Covid cases continued to drop, this was moved forward to the last Sunday in March with fifty being able to meet together. So we planned that this would be the day of the two congregations merging.

In consideration for this event we had several things to prepare. First was the building. Thanks to the help of several the storage at the back of our auditorium was condensed so that we could fit in sufficient seating to allow fifty to worship together with social distancing between family groups. We also wanted to begin to live-stream our worship for those who live a distance away. WiFi was put into the building and a camera purchased.

Last Sunday we had 18 who met physically in our building and an additional 13 who joined us live on Zoom. Both congregations still have several who are vulnerable who are waiting for their second vaccine before venturing out.

Our prayer is that together we can more effectively reach our town with the good news of Jesus.

This story was published Apr. 1 in Christian Worker magazine, which circulates among congregations in the United Kingdom.