<strong style="font-size: 1rem;">A short statement:</strong>
Over the past few days the Standing Committee has been considering whether to continue to offer public worship at St Matthew's Crumpsall. It has concluded that we can offer public worship in a safe and COVID secure manner and therefore St Matthew's Church is to remain open for worship according to its current pattern of services. That is:
<strong>Wednesday 10.00 am Holy Communion</strong>
<strong>Sunday 10.30 am Holy Communion</strong>
Essential services that run from the Crumpsall Community Hall (Foodbank/Community Shop/Meals2U) will continue to operate (please see our website for details).
<strong>The longer explanation:</strong>
As you may know the government has allowed places of worship to remain open during these national restrictions.
Unfortunately, an initial communication from the senior bishops nationally seemed to imply that individual parishes could simply choose whether or not to stay physically open or move online. I think they were trying to be kind but I don't believe this is actually the case. The legal imperative remains that parishes should have an act of worship every Sunday.
However, the COVID regulations (as reiterated from the diocese), add the condition that that worship should only happen if it is safe to do so, according to a COVID risk assessment. So the question for the Standing Committee (acting on behalf of the PCC) is not really "should we remain open?" but rather "can we remain open safely?"
We believe PROVIDED THAT those attending follow the procedures that have been put in place and take reasonable precautions (hand washing, wearing masks and socially distancing) our church is COVID secure (or as reasonably COVID secure as it can be). Therefore, we intend to continue to worship in church.
No one should feel under pressure to volunteer or attend church if they are not yet comfortable doing so. Throughout the pandemic we have tried to involve, as fully as possible, those who are not yet ready to return in person. The North Manchester Mission Unit will continue to offer an online alternative to worship in person which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/<wbr></wbr>groups/1146200025719007/about/ or via zoom (please contact me for the link)
We know that some people are worried because of the new variant of COVID. Advice from government's SAGE body on "Mitigations to reduce transmissions of the new variant SAR-CoV-2 virus" (23 Dec 2020), and other papers, is that the way in which the virus physically travels from one person to another has not changed at all, but that the likelihood of an infection occurring once virus particles have entered another person's body has increased. (One of the significant mutations is in the spike protein on the outside of the virus, which is important in how the virus gets into our cells to infect us. As individual virus particles are more efficient, fewer particles are required to cause a person to become infected).
This means that the practices we have all got used to (hands, space, face etc) to stop or reduce the virus physically travelling between two people should still be effective as long as they are applied rigorously. We therefore……..<ul><li><strong>must</strong> stay at least 2 metres apart and not move around the church;</li><li><strong>must</strong> wear face masks;</li><li><strong>must </strong>practice good hand hygiene on entering the building; and,</li><li><strong>must</strong> ventilate the church (it may be cold) </li></ul>
AND<ul><li><strong>must not</strong> stop to have a quick chat with one another, even outside.</li></ul>
I hope that this goes some way to explain the decision that the Standing Committee has made on behalf of the PCC and the rest of the church. Should you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.
With every blessing
<strong>The Rev'd Daniel Valentine</strong>
Priest in Charge
<em>For and on behalf of</em>
The Standing Committee of
The Parochial Church Council
St Matthew with St Mary, Crumpsall
St Matthew's Rectory
30 Cleveland Road
Tel: 0161 492 0387
email: [email protected]
St Matthew's with St Mary's is a friendly Church of England (Anglican) parish church in Crumpsall, North Manchester. We welcome all who come. We are inclusive and reflect the diversity of our community. We serve our area in Christ's name.