Church of England Diocese of Oxford Enborne

Deliberations on the national lifting of Covid restrictions

We said last week that we would look carefully at the guidance from the Church of England and Diocese as to how the national lifting of Covid restrictions should be interpreted by, and in, our churches, especially in the light of escalating cases and increasing hospitalisations and deaths. We have done this, and shared our thinking with the churchwardens and we are grateful for their continuing support and hard work.

The second paragraph of the 12-page guidance from the Church of England begins:

“Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27).”

Tim chose these words to open his email to the churchwardens:

“In addition to everything else that has been said in the media, as a Church we have our Lord’s command to “Love our neighbour” and our decision making must I think reflect this.”

These are good places to begin our thinking, are they not?

Along with the rest of the country, we can only request observance of whatever we decide to be the safest way to proceed in our churches and worship; compliance remains down to the individual; we have all done so well in recent months to keep ourselves and our worshippers safe and we want to find ways to maintain that, while enjoying some freedoms from the previous constraints.

So we have come up with some local guidelines to start us off; these will be reviewed in full after a few weeks when most of our churches will have had at least one service, but can be “tweaked” in the meantime if something is clearly not working as well as it could. Please let your churchwarden or me (or Tim from Wednesday 28/07) know if you become aware of a real issue.

Here are the headlines – for detail relating to your church please read the attachment: WBB New COVID arrangements downloadable from this page. This will also be available on the website together with the attached CoE document: COVID_19_Guidance_from_the19th_July_2021_v1.0.

Please wear masks when you come into the church and whenever you are moving around inside the building. In designated areas (to be determined locally by each church – see attachment) masks may be removed but replaced and worn over nose and mouth when singing please (YES – WE SHALL SING!). Communion to remain in one kind only (wafers) – with communicants now standing at the altar rail as directed by Sidespersons. All movement in and around the building to be directed by Sidespersons/wardens. Please do not attend church if you have symptoms, and please let the churchwarden or the office know if you test positive soon after a service.Please continue to leave contact details – this need only be your name if you are a regular! - or to sign in with the NHS app. Please continue to use hand sanitiser. Arrangements for Private Prayer in individual churches to remain as previously for the time being, but please note the following: 'The opportunity for individual prayer and reflection in Inkpen Church continues to be given each Wednesday between 10am and 4pm. If you would like to go into the Church outside these hours, please contact the Warden, Gerald Atkinson (tel. 01488 668375) who will be pleased to help you.

Let’s enjoy our freedoms, love our neighbours and keep ourselves and everyone safe!

We look forward to sharing worship with you on Sunday

Jenny and the Ministry Team 

WBB_new_Covid_arrangements_waTXmAa, PDF