Church of England Diocese of Manchester Leigh

St. Mary's reopens for public worship

29 Jul 2020, 3:30 p.m.
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I am delighted to be able to inform you that with effect from Sunday 2nd. August 2020 we plan to open for public worship and the livestreaming of those services and also to be available for funeral services in church.

However, this can only be done subject to very specific directions which the Church of England received from the Government. Of course, all these are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change.

Due to social distancing regulations our Sunday service has a capacity of 35 in attendance, plus the Churchwardens and Officiant.

Attendance at services is permitted only under the following conditions:

Those attending services are required to pre-book in accordance with current health regulations. Booking can only be made by phone to the Vicarage on 01942 603603.

We are required to take names and addresses to comply with “track and trace” and hold a register for each service which must be kept for 21 days.

No one may attend a service without pre-booking, and can only do so for one week at a time or providing a name and address.


On Arrival at Church

On entering and leaving the church building everyone, including staff and volunteers, will be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash their hands, which will be provided in several locations. At the time of writing we highly recommend the use of face masks.

People will be directed to, and must sit in, designated seats without exception, beginning with the front rows of the available seating. People from the same household may sit together.

People will leave church as directed by the churchwardens, beginning from the back rows.

Singing of hymns and playing live music is not recommended at this time.

Those over 70 years may attend services but – together with those of increased risk of COVID-19 – are advised to stay at home. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend church but should self-isolate immediately together with members of their household. We are exploring ways to reach out to those unable to attend church at this time, including monthly Holy Communion.

Children may attend with their parents but must be supervised at all times and appropriate hygiene precautions followed. There will be no resumption of Sunday School at this time.

The toilets at the tower end of the church may be used and carefully managed. Hand sanitiser and soap will be available to ensure best hygiene practice. Please use them.


In Worship

Single use orders of service will be in the designated seats. These should be taken home after the service.

There will be no processions behind a cross, acolytes or serving teams.

The congregation will be asked to remain seated throughout the service.

All Biblical readings, prayers and notices will be read by the Officiant.

The Peace will not be shared

Communion – in one kind – will be brought by the priest to the communicant in their seat and dropped reverently onto the hands. Blessings may be given but without touching.


Collections

There will be no collection plates passed around. Cash collections are discouraged by the Government guidelines and it is recommended that voluntary giving to the church should be by electronic means such as Standing Order. Please speak to the Churchwardens if you wish to change your method of giving to the church.

Where this is not possible a collecting bowl will be placed at the back of the church. Gloves must be used when handling money

At the conclusion of the service there will be no refreshments. Please leave the building as directed by the churchwardens on duty.

The Bishop of Manchester welcomes the best scientific advice which he passes onto the Parishes. This advice enables all parties to review conditions for worship and it is hoped that conditions placed upon churches may be lifted as time goes on.

I appreciate that these regulations may be viewed by some as overly restrictive, but your co-operation is essential in enabling us to fulfil our commitment to keep worshippers safe.

To Summarise:

• 35 people may attend our services at this time.

• Pre-booking is essential. Call 01942 603603.

• Masks are recommended in church.

• Use hand sanitiser.

• Please sit where directed.

• Leave as directed by Wardens.