Church of England Diocese of Liverpool Wigan North East

Churches open for Morning Worship & Private Prayer

24 Aug 2020, midnight
News_about_our_building Notices

Dear friends,

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you all on the further progress we have made as regards worship in our buildings in the NE Hub as we seek to navigate our way during this pandemic.

Update on progress so far

We continue to take a cautious, staged approach to resuming activities in our Hub, since the infection risks remain real, and we have a duty of care to all members of and visitors to our churches.

We also remain limited in what we can provide, both by the availability of volunteers, and the capacity of our clergy and other licensed leaders.

We are small in number, elderly in years, and also have many key people with health conditions.

As we have discussed before, this is why we have had to move more slowly than other Hubs, and others churches nearby.

Our staged approach has been, and remains, to open each building first for Private Prayer – this gives our volunteers and leaders space to prepare our buildings, and practice operating in Covid-safe ways.

St Stephen’s has been open for a few weeks, St David’s opened last week.

We hope that St Elizabeth’s will open for private prayer within the next couple of weeks.

St John’s have begun writing their risk assessment – we hope to open for private prayer soon after this has been approved.

Beginning Morning Worship in our buildings:

It has now been agreed by the PCC to begin a short service of said Morning Worship, initially at St David’s on a Sunday and at St Stephen’s on a Wednesday. These will be weekly, if leader capacity allows.

We are still firmly committed to our Online worship (Zoom) and this will continue, but at a slightly later time (see below).

Sundays (from 30th August onwards):

9am Morning Worship at St David’s

10.30am – online worship on Zoom

Wednesdays (from 2nd Sept onwards)

10.30am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s, from Wednesday 2nd September

Once the other churches have “practised” opening in a Covid-safe way for private prayer, as St Stephen’s and St David’s have been doing, we then plan to rotate these Morning Worship events around each of our churches.

These services will follow current Government legislation and CofE guidelines for Covid-safe worship.

Seating will be as for Private Prayer – 2m distanced – limiting the capacity to 40 for St David’s and 30 for St Stephen’s.

There will be no singing, face masks will be mandatory, no refreshments will be served, toilets will not be available, and socialising (including chatting!) must happen outside, beyond the church grounds.

We do want to be able to offer services of Holy Communion, but we will move to this once we have established safe processes for meeting for morning worship.

As you will recognise, the risks associated with sharing communion (even in bread only) need to be carefully managed.

Booking System

With limited seating in our socially-distanced buildings, we will have to operate a booking system, via the Hub Phone (07759 252501), with places being allocated on a first come, first served based, and available to members of any church, and to visitors too.

Of course children are welcome, but unfortunately at this stage we aren’t able to provide children’s groups.

We will use waiting lists as needed, and will ask those who have attended once, to then join a waiting list before attending a second time.

We also hope that those who have been able to join us on Zoom for worship, and those who have worshipped in other church buildings recently, will allow others to book in first.

We’re grateful to Peter Walker for being willing to “man the phoneline” which will operate from 9am-4pm.

Contact details will be taken on booking, and these will also be used for the required Track and Trace process.

Bookings for 30th August and for 2nd September will open at 9am on Monday 24th August

These details will be circulated on email, Facebook, and by word of mouth.

Please help us in sharing this information with those without internet access.

Warden and Sidesperson’s Teams

We will need a team of at least 5 people to steward these worship sessions.

David Garrington will lead the team at St Stephen’s, and Brian Delap at St David’s

These volunteers, and the person leading the service, will of course be included in the headcount. If you are able and willing to volunteer then please do get in touch with David or Brian, or via the hub phone.

Collections

We will be able to receive giving envelopes from any church and cash donations at these services. These will be quarantined, and then counted and banked, with monies being allocated to the appropriate church.

Parish Giving Scheme forms will also be available.

These details will also be circulated on Facebook, and by word of mouth. Please help us in sharing this information with those you know who are without internet access.

Changes to current opening for private prayer

The commencement of Morning Worship means

St David’s will now only open for private prayer on Tues 10am-12pm (not now on Saturdays)

St Stephen’s will now only open for private prayer on Sundays 2pm-4pm (not now on Wednesdays)

We will keep you updated as we open other church buildings in the coming weeks.

With every blessing,

Steve

Steve Beck

Associate Hub Leader - Northeast Hub