Church of England Diocese of St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich St. Matthew Leavenheath

Reopening some benefice churches for Public Worship

10 Jul 2020, noon
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First steps in resuming Public Worship in Church

Following the Government's relaxing of some of the restrictions on Public Worship in churches and other places of worship, and having now considered the advice and recommendations provided by The Church of England, I am pleased to advise that in consultation with Churchwardens, we are now able to take our next steps to safely re-commence some services in the Benefice.

 Therefore beginning this weekend (Sunday 12th July) we have agreed to put in place an interim service rota for the next few weeks/months which will allow for two of our five churches to be open for Public Worship, this will be as follows:

 9am Simple Holy Communion in St James’ Church, Nayland

 10am Online Holy Communion (via Facebook & YouTube – as currently)

 11am Simple Lay-Led Morning Prayer in St Mary’s Church, Stoke-by- Nayland

If you attend either of the services in Nayland or Stoke you will notice that there will be a number of important differences:

When you arrive you may have to queue before coming into church (so if the weather is inclement you might want to remember to bring an umbrella!).

There will be strict hygiene measures in place which will include:

Hand sanitizing both on entry and exit and when applicable before receiving communion.

A record of attendance for "Track and Trace" purposes.

You are encouraged (though not compulsory) to bring and wear a face mask.

2m (6ft) safe distancing rules will also be required (and because of this the seating capacity in the churches are significantly curtailed)

For the time being there will be no singing.

There may not be service booklets.

If you are attending the Communion service in Nayland there will be no physical sharing of the peace and Communion will be in “one kind only”.

The toilets will not be available

The services themselves will be shorter and simpler.

In accordance with Government advice, those who are currently shielding, or isolating, including those over 70 should consider carefully if it is safe and appropriate for them to attend a service in person at this time.  I am committed to continue our current 10am Online service for as long as is necessary to ensure that those who decide to stay at home will be able to participate in a Communion Service each week for as long as it is required.

It goes without saying that if you or a member of your household have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 you MUST NOT attend a service in church.

 It would be helpful if you would call or email Revd Mark (information on Page One above) if you were intending to come (and advising how many from your household will join you) so that at least initially we can ensure that there will be sufficient space to accommodate you safely.

Please note that for practical reasons and for the time being the Churchwardens in consultation with PCC’s have decided that St Matthew’s, Leavenheath, St Mary’s in Polstead, and St Mary’s in Wiston will not be open for routine Sunday Services.

St James’ Church, Nayland and St Mary’s Church, Stoke-by-Nayland will continue to open for Individual Private Prayer from 2-4pm each Tuesday and Saturday (in Nayland), and Wednesday and Sunday (in Stoke).