Donations of toiletries requested to help prisoners

The new chaplain at Perth Prison, Rev Margaret Shuttleworth, tells PACT that she is desperately short of toiletries for prisoners who arrive with nothing. 

Could church members please consider donating items like shower gel, toothpaste and deoderants? 

Such donations must be in plastic bottles and sprays are not acceptable.  If you can help or wish to donate.

Contact details –

Wilma Coleman:  01738 449028

Jean Hendry  01738  623603

Moira Laing   01738 634588

Mary Wright   01738 635881

Stella Cranwell    01738 636842

The Bield     01738  583238

Prayer Shawl ministry

Perth’s Prayer Shawl ministry continues, and there are a number of shawls available, which they are keen to distribute. If any church knows of someone who would appreciate a shawl, please contact either Moira  or Mary Wright – the shawls have been kept safely and have been quarantined!

Starter Packs works through the pandemic to support people trying to set up a new home

Starter Packs is still open and responding to referrals;  donations of household goods (excluding furniture)  can be handed in to their unit (22) at Friarton on a Wednesday morning from 10 – 12 noon; donations will be quarantined then sorted by the volunteers on a Friday morning. PACT link person, Jean Hendry, specifically asks that donations are not handed in on a Friday, to avoid confusion.

Perth City Centre Community Hub

Perth City Centre Community Hub has been set up in Perth city centre to help tackle food poverty. It is run as partnership for groups already offering support in the city, including Giraffe, North Church, the Salvation Army, Perth Street Pastors, Perth City Centre Community Hub, Letham4All, TullochNet, and Perth and Kinross Council.

The base also direct beneficiaries to other support networks within the voluntary and statutory sectors.

Sally Bonnar, who helped create the new initiative, said the idea was born out of work they were doing to help those in need during the current pandemic.

She said: “We were originally just doing shopping and prescriptions and support but we realised that there was a lot of people in the city centre in food poverty at the moment.

“This is for people that don’t meet the foodbank criteria but are struggling for food food for themselves or for their families.

“Because a lot of the agencies are closed people can come here. It’s a response to the struggles people are having as lockdown goes on.”

The Mill Street hub follows similar ventures set up by community groups, including Letham4All, to help tackle growing food poverty issues within the area.

Last year a child food poverty study revealed that one in eight households in Perth and Kinross are classified as being amongst the most socially and financially challenged in the UK.

Perth City Centre was the worst affected area for child poverty within the local authority’s boundary, with 25% of children suffering as a result.

The Fairer Futures: Tackling Child Poverty Action Report showed that 4,000 children within the council area were living below the breadline, a number which could rise in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Mill Street hub is operating from the Giraffe premises will be open from 10.30am until 1.30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the first instance.

Skinnergate

Fraser Hunter reports that Skinnergate House has been busy; unusually there are 11 residents preparing to move into their own tenancies.   

He also said that there is currently a real problem with unsafe drugs in the Tayside area, with deaths and overdoses increasing; prayer is requested.

Church doors re-open in Perth

St John’s Episcopal Church recently re-opened for services, and are delighted to be back.  The service is also live-streamed on the website and Facebook for those not able to attend.  They also have a service on Wednesday mornings at 8.30a.m.

St Leonard’s in the Fields will open again for worship on 1st November.

The Kirk of St John’s has been open for Sunday worship since the beginning of September, and Rev John Murdoch has also been pe-recording a service each week – this will stop when St Leonard’s reopens.

Remembrance services:  The Poppy Scotland event at the Mercat Cross will not happen this year; there will be a service on Sunday 8th within St John’s but with limited capacity, and on Wednesday 11th, the church will be open for the laying of wreaths but again, numbers will be strictly controlled.   On Friday 6th November,   the new Veterans’ Memorial outside the East Door of St John’s will be unveiled.

The Salvation Army has also been open for worship since the beginning of September, with 50% of  the regular congregation attending and the other half receiving CDs of the service.  War Cry sellers are back on the High Street, and hot drinks and rolls are being served to homeless and vulnerable from Mondays to Thursdays.  Kathryn and Andrew are exploring the possibility of a take-away service on Christmas Day.  Info about their annual Toy Appeal will be circulated shortly, for those in other churches who wish to support it.

The Society of Friends has been meeting virtually since the beginning of lockdown – the advantage of using Zoom has meant that members in more remote localities (like Colonsay!) have been able to join in.  From this Sunday, some will return to their Subud premises and blended meetings will be held, with Zoom attendees joining those physically present.

St Matthew’s has been open for a number of weeks;  attendees are asked to book via Eventbrite or phone beforehand, as numbers are limited to 50 (as are all churches.) Services are being taken by two locums, Rev Anne Brennan and Rev Barbara Quigley.  A fortnightly newsletter is also circulated to members, and there are weekly meditations on a Wednesday morning and Coffee and Chat on a Monday (both via Zoom.)

The Bield at Blackruthven has been trying to keep open, but because of the restrictions on travel in parts of Scotland, there are not as many guests as usual.  They are now planning a virtual programme, including a Celtic Advent on 15thNovember;  details of all events will be circulated soon.   Worship has been conducted in the chapel, out of doors and also in the Barn space.   Marianne requested that we keep the Bield in our prayers as they discern their way forward.   Once again, she invited any of us living locally to use the Bield.

The Methodist Church got very close to re-opening but decided against as their congregation is mainly elderly.  Nik Wooler continues to record You Tube services which can be used for all the Methodist churches in Dundee, Angus and Perth areas.  She acknowledged the debt to her son who has been her technical guru!   Letters and cards continue to be sent to members and friends.   She is exploring with the Congregational Church what might be possible for virtual Christmas Eve and Christmas services.

The Congregational Church  continues with its weekly phone-in services.  The Church has been prepared for opening, but given the elderly congregation and the inability of offering lifts, they have not yet reopened.  Contact is also maintained via e-mail and newsletters.  Gordon Campbell also reflected on the impact which the lack of opportunities for meeting in their usual activities is having on people who find it hard to see any light at the end of this current tunnel.   There are discussions re the opening of the church halls for youth groups, but this is not proving very easy.

The North Church has now been open for 4 weeks, with prior booking.  Rev Ken Stott is also preparing a pre-recorded service, the Sunday service is live-streamed, and help offered to others by telephone.  There is a weekly pastoral letter and a fortnightly coffee and chat.  They are currently planning a Christmas newsletter.  Tulloch Net is still very busy, and the North Church is also helping with the City Centre Support Group.  

St John’s RC Church has been open for some time, providing daily masses from Tuesday to Friday, an evening mass on Saturday and 5 masses each Sunday.   “It is strange, different and very organised, but lovely to be able to gather together” said Jenny Dawson.  She also recommended www.churchservices.tv

The Baptist Church has been streaming services via You Tube each Sunday.  Barbara Saunders reported that Euan Johnstone, who had addressed PACT last year about Young Life International, has now moved on to study for the Baptist Ministry.

Saying Goodbye (Mariposa Trust)

Saying Goodbye, (part of the Mariposa Trust) are coming to Perth in September with a brand new Baby loss support remembrance and support service (part of a Nationwide chain of events). Due to Covid-19 this is not the original service we had planned but we are happy to be able to bring bereaved parents across Perth a service.

The Mariposa Trust’s core objective is  to support people who have lost babies at any stage of pregnancy, at birth, or in infancy. It was founded in 2012, by Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates, who saw a critical lack of support for people like them, who had gone through baby loss. With over 258,000 babies being lost yearly in the UK alone, the charity needed to be able to offer not only a comprehensive package of befriending and support but also national baby loss remembrance services (called Saying Goodbye Services), for people to join together and remember the children they had lost. 5 years on over 120 services have taken place at Cathedrals and churches across the UK, US and France, and 2020 will see services across the England, Wales and Scotland, Covid-19 permitting.

On the 6th September in Perth Cathedral, we will be offering two back to back services : 3pm til 3.30pm and 3.45pm til 4.15pm.