Fort minister says Duncansburgh MacIntosh church not reopening yet

Easter Window in the Duncansburgh Macintiosh Church. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F15 Rev Baxter and window 01
Rev Richard Baxter is minister of Duncansburgh Macintiosh Church. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F15 Rev Baxter and window 01

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Despite the latest relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules that means this week places of worship in Scotland can reopen for individual prayer or contemplation, Duncansburgh MacIntosh Parish Church in Fort William will not be one of them.

So said the church’s minister, Reverend Richard Baxter, who was commenting on the reopening of places of worship as of Monday of this week, subject to physical distancing and hygiene safeguards.

Rev Baxter told the Lochaber Times: ‘We could now open this church building for private prayer – but we won’t.

‘Why not? Because if you came here to pray, we’d have to make you wash or sanitise your hands at the door; instruct you to wear a mask; ask if you had COVID symptoms, underlying health problems, or got a flu jab – and turn you away if the answer to any of those was ‘yes’; tell you which seat you could sit in; warn you not to sing; make sure you left by a different door, then clean and sanitise every surface you touched.

‘Alternatively you could sit in an armchair with a cup of tea; sit on the Parade watching the birds; walk along the sea front and talk to God just as easily.

‘You don’t need special words, a special place, special objects or special people to talk to God. He loves you and He’s listening. So just do it. This church building is still shut. The ears of Heaven are not.’