During Advent, our services have re-started--online and at church. Read this notice so that you know what to expect.
For services on Christmas Eve (Midnight Mass) and Christmas Day (10:30am Eucharist) booking is needed, either via the form provided or by telephoning one of our churchwardens (details below). We may struggle to seat large household groups (or seasonal "bubbles") together, so it is very important to use the booking system to help our stewards to seat as many as possible.
Those who prefer to stay at home or are unable to come to church can join the service online via the St Mary's YouTube Channel. You will see the people leading the service on screen. You won’t see the rest of the congregation.
Attending In Person -- Be Prepared
Bring a mask or face covering with you. The law says we must now cover our faces in church. We have a few spares in case anyone forgets. If you are exempt from wearing one, please tell the stewards when you arrive.
The church kitchen will be closed. If you need water, please bring your own water bottle.
Lots of doors will be open to provide clean air for the church. It might feel cold, so wear warm clothes.
Unfortunately the children’s corner will be closed. This is sad, but it is for everyone’s safety. Please bring quiet toys/activities for your child(ren).
If lots of people want to come, we might not be able to fit everyone in safely. At the moment, we think is unlikely. If it does happen, we may ask people to book a place formally. Please be patient as we try to make this work in practice.
Before the service starts:
Use the Community Hall entrance. The doors will open between 10:10am and 10:15am (between 6:10pm and 6:15pm before an evening service).
Please queue outside using the floor markings to keep 2 metres distance. We will let one household in at a time.
If we don’t have your contact details, we will ask you to fill in a Track and Trace card. We will keep this card for 21 days and then destroy it.
If we already have your contact details, you may sanitise your hands (and use the toilet if needed--see below). A steward will then usher you through to the back of church.
Toilets will be open but we can only let one person (or household) into each set at a time. There will be sanitiser just outside the toilets. The best time to use the toilet will be when you arrive. If you need to go later, you may have to wait as the route is needed for other people coming into church.
The church steward will usher you into the back of church. You can light a candle here if you wish. The steward will then usher you into the church and show you where you can sit.
Please sit where you are shown and stay in your seat. An order of service is provided. (We have measured to ensure we can seat each household together at a safe distance, so it will not be possible to choose where you sit.)
If you are doing a bible reading or prayers, you and your household will be seated near the front, at the sides of the church. This means you won’t have to pass lots of people to reach the lectern. Please sanitise your hands before and after using the lectern.
If you receive a lift to church, your driver should not come into the building if s/he isn’t coming to the service too.
During the service, there will be some changes to our usual way of worship. It may feel a bit like Lent.
There won’t be any hymns. (In future, we might have a cantor singing some of the liturgy, for example the Gloria.)
At our first service (6th September) there will be a special section for the Easter candle to come into church. We normally do this at Easter. The Easter candle is also important for baptisms and funerals.
There won’t be a Gospel procession. Instead, the president (the priest leading the service) will read the Gospel from the front of the altar.
We won’t be able to share the Peace in the usual way. Instead, we will stay in our pews and wave, nod or bow to each other.
At communion, things will be done differently. The president will invite one aisle up at a time. When it is your aisle’s turn, please keep your mask on. Queue at 2 metre intervals. Sanitise your hands at the front of church. Stand at a distance from the president. Stretch your hands out. The priest will put the wafer in your hands. Return to your pew and eat the wafer there. We won’t be able to receive any wine. Please listen for more detailed instructions on the day, including how to return to your pew.
After the service:
The dismissal (“Go in Peace”) will be from the front of the front of the church. The president will then move to the back of church while music plays.
Then everyone will begin to leave, starting with people in the back rows of pews and chairs.
Please leave using the church porch if you are able. Move away as quickly as possible to help others to leave too. If you use the ramp, exit by the hall door as usual. Move away as quickly as you can.
We are sorry that there won’t be any refreshments after the service, and you won’t be able to stay to chat to each other in person. We will still be holding our online coffee sessions, though, and we’d love to see you online if you’d like to join us.
Let us know you are coming
For regular Advent (Sunday) services, we ask that you contact us before 7pm on the Saturday evening to tell us you are coming. Please also tell us how many in your family group will come. This helps us to plan where people can sit. Send this information to [email protected] or contact one of the churchwardens:
Carol - 07801 685378
Vicky - 0114 2324943
PATTERN OF WORSHIP
During Advent we have two services each Sunday (except 29 November). The morning service is Eucharistic, and the evening services will reflect on different aspects of Advent.
We have done everything we can to make worship at St Mary's as safe as possible.
Some people who help with services at St. Mary’s are in categories vulnerable to COVID-19, or live in a household with people who are vulnerable. This means that if people do not follow the guidelines and procedures, we may not be able to continue public worship. So please respect the rules.
You can share any helpful feedback after the service by phone or email. We are all learning, and we will need to change things from time to time as the official guidance changes. But hopefully we will be allowed to do more as time goes on.
Please also be patient while we update the parish website and other media!