As the weeks have progressed throughout lockdown, many of us have experienced every possible range of emotion. Some have found it manageable, even easy; while the reality is that for many this period has been challenging, isolating and lonely. As Christians, who would normally gather weekly at church or in small groups, we have felt the loss of fellowship and community. Although we are grateful for online services and Bible studies, it has not always been a smooth journey. Here at the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland we have keenly felt this, and this is what has kick-started our new series: Stories of Hope.

We have been gathering stories of encouragement and community care from up and down the nation to show a tangible demonstration of how God is not restricted by our worldly circumstances, but is active and on the move in towns and cities – even in lockdown.

Our first story comes from a church in Edinburgh, which was featured on BBC Scotland at the beginning of lockdown. Dave Richards, who is the Rector of St. Paul’s and St. George’s Church in Edinburgh, shared his experience with us:


Lockdown has been an interesting season for us as a church – as many churches have, we have had to move our services to an online format, which was a challenge initially. We weren’t used to working with cameras and livestreaming services and were suddenly reaching significantly more people than we had previously. This meant, for me as the Reverend, that the style of teaching has to be adapted to cater to Non-Christians, or people who had fallen away from faith who were engaging with our services. 

We have seen a really good uptake on the online alpha courses, as well as the children’s ministry, which has been really encouraging. We typically provide a counselling service which is run by trained and accredited counsellors, and they have seen an increase in need for this service. We have partnered with a local care home and have been able to provide support both for staff and those being cared for. One of the most encouraging aspects of our ministry through lockdown has been our weekly Saturday meal, which would typically see 100 – 120 people attend. 

The idea is that marginalised, lonely people can come together and share a meal with others around a table. Initially, it was quite a concern how we could keep this ministry afloat with lockdown and social distancing measures. We are now collaborating with SocialBite and have been able to deliver sandwich bags to people who are in need and have seen some great engagement with that, which has been encouraging both for us as a church community, but equally for those around us. The biggest challenge we see coming up in the future is the return of rough sleeping once lockdown measures loosen and hotels are no longer standing empty and unused, so that is a real point of prayer on our hearts going forward.”

We were really encouraged to hear first-hand about their experience, and are excited for the stories that are still to be shared! 

If you know of any encouraging things that are happening in your community, please do get in touch. As we are called to be the united Church, we are called to support one another. We believe that during this season, we must be uplifting and encouraging one another, as much as we must pray for one another. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)