Rest & Restore in Cathcart
By Karen Gurling, Cathcart BC
Just towards the end of 2019, conversations arose within Cathcart Baptist Church around the possibility of opening up the church each week – to be a place for people to come and find a quiet space, a time of peace and an opportunity for individual prayer. In our community, we have very close links with the other Cathcart churches of different denominations, and so as we initiated “Rest and Restore”, this was made known to those within these churches, as well as being advertised into the local community. This offer into the local community has not been taken up as yet, but this came to become a very special hour, on a Monday morning for a number of people across the different churches in the area. Of course, this was then halted in March 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and then as the Scottish Government allowed the opening of churches for private, individual prayer at the end of June, we felt it was right to take the steps of re-opening “Rest & Restore”. We didn’t take the decision to open up lightly, and a variety of measures have been put in place to ensure that this opening of the premises has been done safely and by taking on board all advice provided.
As we opened up again, those that had been attending regularly have very much appreciated having this quiet space available once again. It has been interesting, as this time of being away from “Rest and Restore” has perhaps given us an opportunity to reflect on why this short time on a Monday morning has become so important. Although we know that we can pray anywhere and that God doesn’t just hear prayers in a church building, there is something incredibly meaningful about this time of enforced peace and stillness within the church sanctuary. Sometimes, especially in the busyness of life (which of course has perhaps been significantly reduced during lockdown period), being still and at rest is something that we find hard to do. Initially I had thought that this time of prayer would be most of benefit, as it would give me more time specifically to pray for particular people and situations, but I have found that this time offers much more than this. This time very much allows stillness, and to reflect on God and who He is…and who I am in His eyes. These moments of reflection and prayer, even when there may not always be many words articulated, helps to refocus on Jesus, and perhaps then be better equipped to carry His presence into the rest of the day…those hours where we may very well be able to bring light into dark places around us.
As the others and I have reflected on “Rest & Restore”, we have recognised how much we appreciate this time – for the peacefulness; the sense of fellowship (even as we are sitting quietly in private prayer); the atmosphere of worship as music plays quietly; the rhythm of stillness built in each week; and the feelings of true sanctuary as we pray.
We are hoping to advertise “Rest & Restore” within the local community again in the near future. Perhaps as a result of the significant challenges of Covid-19 and the life questions that people may have been asking, there may be a new interest in prayer and spending time reflecting quietly. Our hope would be that we would be able to welcome others to come and find peace and rest in the church sanctuary at the start of the week, and that this may be a helpful time and would form part of faith journeys, wherever that may be just now.
“Rest & Restore” has very much become a place of coming to rest in God’s presence and leaving feeling restored, ready to face the day whatever it may bring and we are so grateful for being able to open the church up for this again at this time.