Good afternoon everybody and I hope you and all your family are well.
This week saw the Church of England’s Recovery Group issue its advice and guidance on how to conduct public worship, following the Government’s statement the previous week. I touched upon this in my email last week. There is a lot to work through, as I am sure you would expect, and the Facilities Team, who look after the operational side of the building, have begun to get things in order. Those of us who lead our worship have also started work on how we can worship together again.
Although it’s early days, the following points have become clear: -
1. We are going to have to limit the number of those who come to Church for a service. To be safe, respecting social distancing etc, we think we can safely accommodate 30 people and depending upon whether households/family groups come maybe 40;
2. To control numbers and to try to arrange seating as fairly as possible, we may need you to reserve a seat, either by telephoning the Vicarage or using an online booking system.
3. All of us feel uncomfortable about limiting seating, but we see no alternative within the constraints and layout of the building. Not only do we have to consider where the seats are but also how to safely come in and go out, as well as maintaining social distancing in all directions.
4. For the time being, the content of the service will be along the same lines as that we have been using for the last 3 months on the Facebook live stream. We shall be continuing to stream at the same time. We have built up quite a following, and the firm advice is that it should continue. The Standing Committee has agreed to use the grant from the Diocese, which I mentioned some weeks ago, towards buying the necessary equipment (the Diocese clearly stated that the grant must be used for mission and evangelism, not to meet general running costs).
5. Once we are in Church regularly, we eventually hope to have a Holy Communion service but this will depend upon many other safety factors being met. It may be not weekly.
6. We are well aware that there will be many of you who would still feel uncomfortable about coming to Church whatever the arrangements. We hope the streaming will help you to keep in touch with your Church. The video of each Sunday service is always available on Facebook, where you will also find the daily services, and the Church’s YouTube channel.
7. Don’t forget the version of the service that is available through the telephone (01925 568220) from 2.00pm on Sundays, and throughout the week. The quality of the sound unfortunately varies because of the variable quality of our home internet connections but do keep listening on through the difficult bits.
8. Also don’t forget our weekday services at 10.00am and 4.00pm. These will continue one way or another, even after the Church reopens.
All this, of course, is for the future and we will keep you fully informed as we go along. At the moment we are working towards starting services in Church the end of July or the beginning of August.
You may be wondering how our children fit into all of this. We are already sending out weekly emails to their parents and carers with worksheets etc. to use during the week and there was a Zoom session of the Sunday Group the other week. We hope to do more.
We warmly welcome all children. They are part our Church community, and once the services begin again we shall need make special arrangements for them. Following the guidance, we will need to close off the children’s corner and remove all shared toys, books and pause group activities, but we hope to be able to use the individual liturgy boxes.
There is a lot to take in here in what is an ever-changing situation. We appreciate your thoughts, support, understanding and prayers as we journey forward with God together. The text of this Sunday morning’s service is below. The Daniell Chapel will be open again this Sunday from 2.00 – 4.00pm. You can enter only by the external door. Please follow the advice about social distancing and using the hand sanitisers.
With God’s blessing,