Church of England Diocese of Manchester Birkle

St John's reopens for worship Sunday 12th July 2020

10 Jul 2020, 7 a.m.
From_the_Vicar News_about_our_building Notices

Dear All,

After what seems like a lifetime we are pleased to report that as of Sunday 12th July 2020 9.30 am we will be opening St John the Baptist for worship.

The reason for this letter is twofold, first to thank you all for looking out for each other during this strange time. Much has happened during the forced separation and I am sure that some of you will be nervous about returning to church. To this end can I assure you that the wardens and PCC have done an amazing job looking at the government and church guidelines whilst producing a comprehensive risk assessment. Special thanks has to go to Carol for the hours she has put in.

When we return to the church for worship we will not be going back to how it was before the lockdown. We will be required to maintain social distancing and we are trying to find the best way of placing seats in church to enable this to happen. The configuration will be very strange to begin with, so we ask for your forbearance as we try to get it right. We have managed to put a few seats in twos for those who live in the same household but most of the seating is single and we ask that you don’t move them at the moment. We will be limited to about 18 people at a service but should be able to accommodate a few more in the upstairs room if needed.

The guidelines ask that we keep our services shorter than before so that people are not in gathered groups for too long. There will be no singing and we ask that you keep your voice down during your time in church. We know that these new rules will be a challenge to all but we must remember that it is for the good of all. We as individuals may not easily see the point but we are trying to look out for everyone not just ourselves. If you feel the need to wear a mask then please do.

We have been encouraged to continue to protect those with underlying health conditions and those over the age of 70. Please respect those who feel the time is not right to return to worship. We will continue to record a service each week which will then be posted on YouTube and our Facebook pages later on the Sunday afternoon, so those who are still socially distanced can access worship. It may be that you can offer help to your neighbour so they can access the worship.

Church will have a one way system in place and we ask that you follow it, Our offering will be collected as you enter the worship space, please use the basket provided; this will not be brought to the altar but thanks will be given during the service. At communion you are asked to observe distancing and wait 2 meters from the person nearest you. We will only be receiving in one kind for the time being but hope to return to the common cup as soon as we are able.

Thank you so much for your patience during this time, and for those of you who continued to support us financially through this time a huge thank you.

You may have heard that the diocese as a whole is facing a major shortfall in its funds this year about £2.5 Million, but your support has enabled St John’s to pay its parish share in full up until now, please keep up the good work.

There is still much to do as we discover what the new normal will be but we are sure that by the grace of God we will be up for the challenge.

One area that has been of great frustration to Harvie during this time has been the inability for me to contact people by telephone, owing to GDPR, I have not been able to access numbers without express permission. This has been hard to get as I have been unable to know where to get this from since we have been isolated. I therefore ask if you would please either email me your numbers and permission for me to keep them or call me on the number above.

It has come to my attention that at least a couple of the people from St John’s have been adversely affected by Covid-19. I am very sad that I was unable to be there for those people during this time, even at a distance.

I am praying that there is not a second wave and that we can continue to move forward but am acutely aware that if there is a second wave all our hopes and plans will need to be revisited.

Once again thank you for all you mean to the parish of St John.

Harvie.