Church of England Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham Blidworth

Re-opening for Public Worship

8 Aug 2020, midnight
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Holy Communion services in St Mary’s and St Simon and St Jude’s – what to expect

From the 23rd August we are delighted to say that we are re-opening for Sunday Worship. Our services in our churches will initially all be Eucharistic from the 23rd August to the 20th September to enable everyone to have an opportunity to receive Holy Communion if you wish. At the moment, Holy Communion is in one kind only, this being the bread. Our services will alternate between Rainworth and Blidworth each Sunday at 10am.

To keep our churches Covid secure and people as safe as possible going forward, we are limited to the number of people who can safely attend church at any one time so we will be operating a booking system.

You will be able to book in for these initial Holy Communion services on the following Sundays:

Sunday 23rd August – Rainworth

Sunday 30th August – Blidworth

Sunday 6th September – Rainworth

Sunday 13th September – Blidworth

Sunday 20th September – Rainworth

There are several Sundays available so hopefully atleast one of these will be convenient for you but please understand if we are not able to offer you the Sunday you particularly want. You will book in by ringing our churchwardens, Sue Daunt (01623 408825 or 07890674665) and Kath McCready (07831225602).

If you book in and then change your mind about coming to church, that is ok but we ask if you could please ring the churchwardens to let them know so that the place becomes available for someone else. If you are feeling unwell and you or anyone with whom you have been in contact with in the past 2 weeks, show any symptoms of Covid-19, you must stay at home and follow NHS guidelines.

We have done our very best to assess the risks and to minimise them. The queuing system outside, the floor signage and all seating is arranged at 2 metre social distancing.

It is mandatory now for all members of the congregation, unless you have an exemption, to wear face masks for public worship. All stewards will be wearing face masks. Revd Zoe and those assisting her with leading the services will wear face shields/masks during the services.

In line with guidance, we are required to create an air flow and have good ventilation during the services; the doors will be open so you may wish to wear/bring with a jumper/cardigan and possibly a coat, even during these summer months. You may also wish to bring your own cushion with you to sit on for the service and if you do so, please remember to take it home with you afterwards.

You will be greeted and led into the church by a friendly steward. You will come in (and exit) the church one household at a time and there will be seating outside by the queuing station for those unable to stand for any length of time. As you enter the church, you will be asked you to sanitise your hands, complete the register/consent form with contact information to be used for NHS ‘test and trace’. Please bring your own pen if possible. Information is held for 21 days and then destroyed. Please contact Revd Zoe or Sue or Kath, if you develop Covid-19 symptoms.

We have a one way system in operation in our churches. You will notice the signage on the floor directing you around the church. Stewards are available to assist you with this as we get used to this new way of coming in and out of church. The steward will show you where you can sit. It is important and we ask you to respect please where the steward directs you to sit in order for us to keep the 2 m distancing. You will have an opportunity to light a candle on your way into church.

Gordon, our organist, will be playing when you arrive, during the service and when you leave please do not sing along to these and sadly we are unable to sing any hymns in our church buildings at the moment.

At your seat, you will find a laminated card with the order of service which we will be using during the service. At the end of the service we ask you to leave the order of service where you have been sitting.  You can download an order from this post if you wish to look at it beforehand.

The offertory plate will not be passed around to receive your envelopes/monetary gifts, but plates will be available at the back of church/foyer as you enter and leave the church for you to place your offerings.

In order to minimise risk, we will not be able to physically share the peace with anyone during the service.

When it comes to the distribution of Holy Communion, you will remain in your seats rather than coming to the altar rail, this is to avoid touching it and to maintain social distancing. Revd Zoe will bring the bread to you from a ciborium that has been sealed for 72 hours. Revd Zoe will come forward a row at a time, please keep your facemask on until all the people on the same row to you have received their bread and Revd Zoe has moved on from your row. The wafer will be dropped above your hands to avoid hands touching. If this does happen, we will need to sanitise our hands. Please sanitise your hands again after you have put your facemask back on again having consumed the bread.

At the end of the service, please remain in your places, until you are invited by the steward to leave. You will be invited to sanitise your hands again before exiting the church. Once outside of the building, we understand that you may want to talk to your friends after the service. If you wish to do this, please move away from the path so that other people can pass safely. Please observe all other government advice including keeping at least 2 m distance from others.

There seems a lot of rules to follow as we create a ‘new normal’ service to keep us all as safe as possible. It will take a while to create a new habit of what happens when we come to church. I hope this article helps in some way to prepare you for our services once they resume shortly. If during the service you are unsure of what to do, please indicate, perhaps put up your hand and a steward will be available to assist you in ways that are possible for them to do so. It will take some time to get used to the new normal. Overall, it is about being vigilant about risks to yourself and others, sanitising your hands often, wearing your face mask, maintaining 2 m social distancing where we possibly can. Yes it is different but we are in this together.

On Sundays when you are not able to come into the physical church building, you can still continue to join in with the services through the order of service distributed with your parish link or downloaded off our church websites or by joining in with the service on Zoom

Please get in touch with Revd Zoe or our churchwardens if you are unsure about services. When you book in, the churchwardens will remind you of the things you need to bring with you.