Church of England Diocese of Blackburn Samlesbury Saint Leonard the Less

Easing restrictions in Church

22 Jul 2021, noon

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Easing Restrictions in our Churches</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">With the Government decision to end legal restrictions on 19</font></font><sup><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">th</font></font></sup><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3"> July and in taking into account the Church of England Guidance</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">The Standing Committees of each of our parishes met together with the Vicar via Zoom to discuss what this may look like across our Benefice and what measures we should take in light of this. This was a good opportunity to discuss in detail how we should ‘unlock’ and to come to a shared consensus that allows us to move forward and regain aspects of our worship which we have missed; but at the same time, proceed cautiously as we continue to work to keep one another safe.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">The following measures were agreed in light of our local context, nature of our church buildings and our wonderful congregations who have had to be flexible and deal with so many changes these last 18 months. Should there be any major changes nationally or with local rates of case numbers these measures will be reviewed immediately, otherwise we will review again in a months’ time, taking into account the current situation and any feedback.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">If you wish to ask any questions or raise any issues, please do either speak with your Church Wardens or Rev’d Karen, who will do their best to help. This has been a difficult time for all, and any easing is no less difficult as people will hold a variety of viewpoints, but all our conversations and actions should reflect the grace of God and that we are told by Jesus to </font></font><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">‘Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these’</font></font><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3"> (Mark 12:31) </font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Capacity & Social Distancing</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">There is now no capacity limits in churches and the 1 metre+ rule has been removed. Any tape or rope that has cordoned off pews will be removed, with the exception of St Mary’s Mellor, which will keep a side aisle free for those who wish to maintain a safer distance. People should continue to make use of the whole of the church space and kindly be aware of other’s personal space.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Face Coverings</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, although the Government recommends that people continue to wear them in crowded and enclosed spaces. If you are, and many will be, more comfortable in continuing to wear a face covering in church, we encourage you to feel able to do so.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Choirs and Singing</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Mellor will continue with the Choir to which there are no longer restrictions of numbers and Balderstone will reinstate their Choir. Hymns can now be sung by the congregation if they so wish, but we are advising for now that the congregation will remain seated to ensure that until we get again get used this important part of our worship, that singing should be less ‘robust’ than normal. This, we hope will be a very welcomed step forward, but one to which we need to manage carefully. Again, face coverings, as in wearing them in church are encouraged as a precaution.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Holy Communion </font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Given the continued potential risks to health it is permissible for the Priest to receive the wine on your behalf, we will continue as we have been doing, receiving in one kind and at the altar steps. This will be reviewed in due course.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Ventilation / Hygiene</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">The churches should be well ventilated with doors / windows open and we continue to encourage good hygiene and ask people if they would continue to sanitize their hands on entry and exit. Although, there is no longer a legal requirement to scan the QR code or register, we will continue with our current process for the time being</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">Refreshments</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">In order to keep movement and gathering together closely to a minimum at this stage refreshments will not yet be served. This will be reviewed in due course.</font></font>

<font face="Arial, serif"><font size="3">IMPORTANT</font></font>