Church of England Diocese of Manchester St. Matthew, Stretford

Re-opening for public worship

11 Jul 2020, 3 p.m.

Dear Friends

Following Government and Diocesan guidelines and a recent meeting of our PCC we are delighted to now say that we will be able to welcome you back for worship on Sundays. This will start on Sunday 26th July at the earlier time of 9am for Holy Communion in St Matthew’s Church. Our Sunday 10am worship on Zoom will continue.

We have completed the statutory Risk Assessment (available on our website as well as pinned up in the Church porch) to ensure the Church building is as safe and as welcoming for worship as possible.

Outlined below are the changes that have had to be made due to the current pandemic so that you know what to expect when you come:

We have worked out that our church building can safely hold 20 households, in keeping with the 2 metre social distancing guidelines (a ‘household’ is one or more persons who live in the same house/bubble).

You will need to ‘book in’ with me (by phone or email) by Saturday 4pm before the Sunday service to let me know if you will be attending.

As you enter church you will be welcomed in and required to:

sanitise your hands with the sanitiser provided

fill in the ‘Track and Trace’ form with your contact details.

You will then be shown where to sit in the main body of the Church using the main aisle first. Please be aware it is very unlikely that you will find yourself sitting in your usual pew!

At the end of the service we will be asking people to leave from the back first. Please would you kindly wait until you are invited to move out of your pew.

Service booklets will be on the pews for you to use. Please leave them there at the end of the service.

Communion will be administered in one kind only (bread) from the Nave altar, and you will be directed when to come forward. You will need to:

use the markers on the aisle carpet indicating 2 metre distances

sanitise your hands using the sanitiser provided near the altar before receive communion.

The Church of England has directed that no words be used by priest or communicant on receiving the bread. You will then be directed back to your pew.

Current guidelines state that those who are in the shielded category should not be attending worship, but those in the clinically vulnerable category may attend, having due regard for the risks that may pose.

A few other points to note:

The wearing of face coverings/masks is voluntary. I will wear a mask at the administration of Communion.

Do not come if you are unwell or have any symptoms of the virus.

We will be ceasing the Saturday 2-3pm private prayer time. Saturday 18th July will be the last one.

No collection plate will be passed round. Please place any offerings/weekly giving envelopes in the donation boxes provided.

There will be no tea/coffee after the service.

Have due regard for social distancing guidelines when talking with each other.

Children are welcome to attend, (there is no J-club) but need to bring their own toys/entertainment.

Children must be supervised by their parent/guardian at all times and stay in their pew except for coming up for communion (or a blessing).

The children’s corner is not to be used.

Toilets are available in the Choir Vestry.

I recognise that the decision to attend public worship or not may be a hard one to make. I want to emphasise that it is your decision. We believe we have made St Matthew’s as ‘COVID-secure’ as it can be. If at this stage you do not feel confident yet of returning to Church your decision is understandable and fully respected.

Please do contact me to ask for any further information or clarification to help your decision making.

I very much look forward to welcoming you warmly back into our church building for a Eucharist service of Holy Communion in the weeks to come.

With all good wishes and continued prayers