St Mary's will be open for personal prayer this Wednesday 12-8pm. Everyone attending for personal prayer will be asked to used hand sanitiser, maintain social distance and follow directions through the building. We regret that our toilets will not be open and there will be no refreshments. Our church bibles will not be available, but you are welcome to bring your own. Please let us know if you have any questions.
10th Jun 2020
On 9 June the House of Bishops issued updated guidance permitting funerals to take place in church buildings from 15 June in line with government guidelines.
Bishop Peter sent an Ad Clerum to clergy and lay leaders this morning in which he states:
“From Monday 15 June, our Government has said that we can open our church buildings for private prayer and funerals, though attendance will be strictly limited, relative to the size of the building. The Church of England guidelines for this are on our website and have been communicated to clergy and church leaders. However, I want to emphasise some key points of those permissions, which I endorse for our Diocese of Chelmsford.
Please be clear above all else that in both cases this is permissive not compulsory: it is not a must but a may.
Our churches may open on the 15th, soon after, or not at all in the near future, according to wise decisions made by parish clergy and PCCs.
Those decisions will differ from place to place and will depend on local capacity to ensure safe cleaning and appropriate oversight of attendance. Local decisions must be respected and no clergy should feel obliged or put under pressure to open churches for any purpose unless they feel confident in those respects. Please be clear also that permission is not given to begin worship services as yet, either inside or just outside the building.
It also needs to be noted that there are some clergy, lay leaders and key volunteers who need to shield themselves or family members and therefore can’t be party to any plans for re-opening.
As these matters are considered, especially in rural multi parish benefices and any churches with small or predominantly elderly congregations, it may be helpful if cross parish consultations and collaboration target one location best suited to early opening in an area.”