Church of England Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham Ordsall and Retford Saint Michael

Moving Forward

23 Jul 2021, 7 p.m.

Dear Friends,

With the Government removing the final set of restrictions, The Church wardens and acting Area Dean want to assure you that our priority will always be to protect the safety of every soul in our parish.

As a community in Christ, we now need to move forward without set legal restrictions and as churches decide how best to manage the risk to ourselves and others. No two churches will be the same for a while to come yet, so please be mindful that careful assessments have taken place to ensure the best possible safety of everyone so that no one feels excluded from attending a service.

Any place where multiple people can gather is still going to be an area of risk. The virus isn’t going away, and even those who have accessed both doses of the vaccine may still be at risk from contracting or spreading any variant of Covid-19. God calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves, to protect the widow and the orphan, and to love one another as God loves us. No one would willingly put a loved-one at any kind of risk or in any danger.

The following cautious approach to what will, and will not, change after Monday’s progression on to stage 4 of lockdown easing will be regularly reviewed.

· Hand sanitisers: will remain and we ask that you continue to use them as you enter and leave the building, and of course at other times you feel necessary.

· Track and Trace – QR Code: To ensure a proper understanding of any trends in the rise of cases we will still ask you provide contact details when you enter one of our buildings.

· Singing: Many church members long to be able to sing again as part of our worship. As such singing will be allowed in our churches in a limited way for the time being. However, we ask that face coverings are worn during singing.

· Face Coverings: Apart from those who are exempt, we will continue to encourage all to wear face coverings while you are inside and moving around within close proximity of other people. We strongly encourage all to wear face coverings during singing. We believe that this measure is an important step in safeguarding everyone.

· Occasional Offices: risk assessments are being prepared for our churches. These will state a specific ‘safe’ number, which when exceeded, will automatically mean the wearing of face coverings. Weddings, baptisms, and funerals will thus be able to take place without number restrictions, but with planned safety procedures.

· Safe spaces in church: for those who still wish a higher level of safety, spaces will be set aside where top level social distancing is in place, and air flow is maximised.

· Holy Communion: We will continue to offer communion in one kind until a proper assessment of how our congregations want to proceed.

Throughout the pandemic most people have been grateful for the precautions in place, as frustrating as we know many of you have felt. Now, as together we learn to live with the virus, and we begin to look forward to the summer, and the opportunities which Harvest and Advent will offer we ask that you continue to be sensitive to the needs of those around you.

Philippians 2:3 reminds us, 'But in humility consider others as more important than yourselves'.

As ever, with love
Barbara, Mick and Pat