Dear Holy Trinity Friends,
As you are probably aware, the Government has recently allowed churches to open for public worship; and I am delighted to announce that this means that from 12th July, we will be holding a Said Service of Holy Communion in Holy Trinity every Sunday at 9.30 am. We have completed a thorough Risk Assessment and put all the necessary health and safety procedures in place. As a result, we will be able to accommodate a maximum of 50 people for Worship.
Holy Trinity will now also be open for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals although the latest Government legislation has limited numbers for these particular services to a maximum of 30 people.
Due to all the cleaning that now has to take place between each act of worship, we cannot at the moment accommodate any other services. However, we are consulting with our friends at Short Heath Methodist Church and may be able to begin our Thursday 10.00 am Communion Service with them at some point in September.
As well as opening for public worship, we will continue to produce a service sheet for each Sunday which will be posted on the Church’s Facebook page - www.facebook.com/Holy-Trinity-Church-Short-Heath-Willenhall. We will also continue to post the video of the Sunday service from Furzebank Worship Centre.
As we will now be having a weekly service at Holy Trinity, I will no longer be automatically sending out copies of the service sheets to individuals; but if you are continuing to self-isolate at home and wish to keep receiving email copies or posted copies of the service, then please do let me know.
In order for us to be able to open Holy Trinity safely for Holy Communion and to remain ‘Covid Secure’, the Government and the Church of England have produced the following guidance which must be observed at all times:
• Two metres social distancing must be observed at all times both outside and inside the church building.
• Only one household or two individuals may sit in a pew.
• Individuals must sanitise their hands, using the hand gel provided, as they enter and leave the church building, and also immediately prior to receiving Holy Communion.
• The Wardens will take a temporary ‘register’ of everyone who attends the service. This is in order to help with any Track and Trace requests. The register has to be stored for 21 days.
• Certain pews have been ‘roped off’ in church and a one-way system has been put in place.
• Service books and reading sheets will be placed on the back table of church. On entering, please take a book and proceed directly to your pew. At the end of the service, please leave your service booklet on your pew where you have been sitting and leave the church building following the one-way system.
• We understand that people will want to speak to others and to catch up on news etc. but we ask that this is done OUTSIDE of church in order to help maintain health and safety and hygiene measures.
• Whilst we get used to the new way of conducting the services, we will temporarily suspend all the rotas for sides-people, readers, intercessors, servers and chalice assistants. We may be able to introduce these again in the Autumn when we are all feeling more confident about all the procedures.
• The priest will sanitise her/his hands before, throughout and after the service in order to maintain appropriate hygiene.
• There is no singing allowed in the service but recorded hymns will be listened to.
• The Peace can be shared verbally but no shaking of hands etc is allowed.
• There will be no offertory collection taken during the service. All donations must be placed
in the collection plate which will remain at the back of church.
• Holy Communion will be distributed but will be in one kind only for the congregation (i.e. bread not wine).
• Communion will be distributed from the low altar. We will direct people to come up in groups at a time – observing social distancing and following the one-way system. The congregation will stand around the step of the low altar and the priest will go along the row distribute the bread. Both the Government and Church of England have stated that it is not essential for the priest to wear a face mask for the distribution as they will only be near an individual for a very short amount of time.
• During the distribution of Communion, the priest will place the bread in people’s hands without touching them. If the priest and individual accidentally touch hands, then both must sanitise their hands immediately. There must be no words of distribution spoken by the priest as the bread is given out.
• At the end of the service, cleaning of the church will be undertaken by a specific group of volunteers.
• Please be aware that the Church Hall continues to remain closed so toilet facilities will NOT be available.
I appreciate that this will seem to be a very long list of rules and regulations and may appear to be quite daunting at first. Please do not worry – the Wardens and I will be there to guide and direct everyone throughout the service. However, I must stress that these are not my rules nor the Church Council’s rules, they are the Government’s rules and the Church of England’s rules; and we are asking people to observe these at all times for the sake of everyone’s health and safety.
If you have any questions or concerns, then please do get in touch with me.
I look forward to seeing you on 12th July and in the forthcoming weeks.
With best wishes,
Revd. Helen Duckett.