We are, as I write, stil enmeshed in Phase 3 of the Government‘s “Road Map”out of Covid19 lockdown, and life remains
far from “normal”. All over the world, folk are re-examining how they “do Church”; some have created new concepts, others
are hunkered down, longing for the return of the old familiar ways. Many of the “new” ideas, however, are actually only
reinventions of even older ways, recognisable to New Testament readers as characteristic of the early church, as it
reacted to the apparent catastrophe of the murder of Jesus and the nascent internal divisions between “Jews and Greeks”.
Those that saw the world of the Gentiles as alien to their creed clung to the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. Those
who were first recognised as the emergent “Christian” community arose, went to Antioch, and formed their new religion
from what many of them would have seen as the ashes of the old (Acts 11). In Forres we are faced with all too similar
choices, some 2000 years on. Leaders will emerge; new practices will develop; new communities and movements will form.
How and when is uncertain. What we can anticipate with certainty is that the post-modernist confidence in human
self-sufficiency will have taken a bit of a knock. Where people then turn for their comfort and confidence will in part
depend on how they see “church” people react and respond. Pray, then, for guidance, discernment and strength in all those
who would lead the church and its people &dquo;to Antioch” in the post-pandemic “phases” that lie ahead. Do stay in contact via
the new Facebook page and the Website, both of which are designed to help St. Laurence‘s church community remain together
and move forward into the future, whatever it may hold. News items and developments will be posted on those sites, and you
can make contact with friends and neighbours in ways that will become more “ordinary” as Covid19 continues to direct our
daily life down strange and unfamiliar paths.


There has been a good response to my concerns expressed in the last Newsletter about the Weekly Freewill Offering and Open Plate.
A good number of you have either sent cheques or changed to Standing Orders, or both.

We are getting a grant of £10,000 From the Central Fabric Fund of the Church. This will go a long way to covering the
£17,000 which we have to find to replace the church boiler. Our reserves will cover this in the short term
(and we must have reliable heating), but next year is going to be difficult.

Dr. Douglas Murray (tel 672545)

A series of Zoom meetings to form a Bible Reading Group will take place for a first session at 4pm on Thursday 8 October.
The initial aim is to read Mark‘s Gospel in the context of studies by Rev. David Palmer, a Methodist minister and biblical
scholar whose work challenges views on the literary structure of Mark in the light of his dependence on established norms of
rhetoric which would have been well known to him. Although this work delves deeply into the original documents, fortunately it
requires no knowledge of Greek to test the general plausibility of David‘s arguments by group readings which cover the whole
gospel in four sessions each lasting an hour. Hopefully there may also be some appeal in reading large chunks of the gospel at
a time rather than in Sunday snippets.

If you feel that you might be interested in coming to these sessions please send an e-mail to  so that appropriate invitations and preliminary material can be sent.

Norman Thomson

For some years I have combined my main duties as Treasurer with the role of Acting Session Clerk. I now need to reduce the range
of my responsibilities and we are looking for someone to become Session Clerk.
You do not need to be an Elder, or even a member of St. Laurence and it is the kind of job that is grown into.
Importantly for the Vacancy, possible applicants will always look at the Parish Profile, which includes a list of all the
officeholders (check on our website for our current list). The lack of a Session Clerk is not a good sign!

Please speak to me if you think you can help.
Douglas Murray (tel 672545)

Little did I think that as I start my 50th year as organist at St. Laurence we wouldn‘t be singing hymns. Music plays an
integral part in our worship and can elicit all sorts of response, whether happy or sad, so be assured it will continue to do
so even if that doesn‘t at the moment include singing. When services restart I will probably include some tunes you know
but please do not be tempted to sing along - that will come later.
I have been visiting the church occasionally for 30 munute slots (as allowed by the CoS Law Department) to make sure the
“kist of whistles” still works. I confess that not being able to practice much has been a wake-up call! It has made me realise
that more regular practice and study is required. I suppose is the same for church attendance and our faith. Regular attendance
and practice can only improve our lot.

Alistair Hardie Back