I hope you had a good week and that you and all your family are keeping well.
As I mentioned in my note at the beginning of the week, the national Church issued its updated guidance late on Friday afternoon. As you would expect, it’s quite detailed and I have yet to take in all its implications. However, one or two things have become clear.
First we will continue with the cautious common sense approach that we have used over the last 18months. It seems to be clear now that the virus is transmitted by aerosol we should try to keep the risks as manageable as possible. It is crucial that as many people as possible feel safe when they come to Church even though there may be others who take a different view. It’s a question of social responsibility and looking after our neighbour
So, we would like you to continue to wear masks during the services. The government ‘ expects and recommends’ that they are used in crowded and enclosed settings. This is to protect yourselves and others.
Singing is back from 19<sup>th</sup> July! Both singing and speaking are perfectly possible from behind a mask. Arrangements for the choir can be slightly different, but I will need to discuss this and other advice with Claire first, who in turn will be, and has been, discussing things with the Choir
Secondly, although social distancing rules no longer apply, we intend for the time being to keep every other pew vacant. This will have little or no affect in limiting the numbers and will help to keep and develop the culture of reassurance for all. It may be a minor inconvenience for some but helps the greater number.
To this end we will continue to encourage you to reserve a seat through Eventbrite or by ringing the Vicarage. This has always been the case. It helps us to continue with track and trace as is recommended. Again, this is for the benefit of all. The QR codes at the doors will still be available and there are forms to fill out if you don’t have a smartphone. Ensuring that there is a safe number of those coming will become more and more crucial as restrictions ‘ease.’ The approach we are taking is based upon the safe use and consistent management of our Church, and this will change and develop as things around us change and develop.
There will now be no limits on numbers for baptism. I never understood why this was so. Again, the only limit will be around the safety of those attending.
Thirdly, we shall continue with our practice in the distribution of Holy Communion from the chancel steps with the bread only. All the other ways we have been doing things over the last year will also continue, and that includes the many ‘behind the scenes’ preparation that happens.
We hope slowly to be able to use the building for other events and meetings. Whether we will be able to open the Church more fully as before, remains to be seen. This, and many other of our previous activities, will have to be looked at gradually and maybe adapted for the future. This week the Church Fellowship will be meeting on Tuesday at 2.00pm and Crafters on Wednesday at 10.00am both for the first time in the LCC.
However, unfortunately it is not now going to be possible to have a Communion service this Thursday at the Milner as I had hoped. A number of individual circumstances have made it impractical and we will be making alternative arrangements.
There will be more to follow once we have had chance to digest the guidance fully. More will be coming out during the week and next weekend regarding the arrangement for my last Sunday service on 25<sup>th</sup> July. In the meantime tomorrow’s service is attached.
With God’s blessing,