Church of England Diocese of Southwark Merstham

Opening our Churches for Sunday Worship

18 Sep 2020, noon


Dear Friends from across the Merstham & Gatton Team,

You will be aware that Churches are able to open again for Sunday Worship, though we are encouraged not to rush into this until we feel that we are ready, and only when that it can be a safe place for those for whom it is alright to gather. Of course, many of us will not be ready yet whilst shielding and isolating, and being cautious for many reasons, and so it is still necessary that we continue to have online website-based worship resources available as we have for the last few months and sustain our unity across a mixed platform of opportunity. The PCC Standing Committees have met to absorb all the current Guidance and Regulations to work out appropriate ways forward.

It is good news that at the moment churches may remain open for worship with all the current social dis- tancing, masks etc regulations in place. However we must be careful about gathering and chatting after the service outside because this may be construed as ‘social’ and not set a helpful witness to those around.

 St Andrews will re-open on 20th September for 9.00am worship, and then meet fortnightly alter- nating Morning Worship (with Bread) and Evening Prayer.

 St Katharine’s— will be opening weekly from July 26th for the 10.00am service with appropriate sani- tization and social distancing measures in place.

 All Saints will open fortnightly, starting from the 19th July, until the end of October,

sanitization and social distancing plan in action. There will be Sunday Club activities on those Sundays, again with the same concerns for sanitization and distancing involved.

Our buildings will dictate numbers able to attend, and we are encouraged to keep a record of those who do.

Worship itself will be different insofar there are several usual activities that we are not yet able to share in, for example, we are not yet allowed to sing together, though we may listen to music as part of what we do. This will mean exploring together different ways of worship, which holds a creative excitement in finding other ways of expressing our faith together well. We may need to use the projector and screen more often as we are not able to use church books and regular leaflets. And leaflets we do use will be once-use only and you will have to take yours home to dispose of. Usual ways of after-service fellowship and refreshment are limited, but we are sure in time we will find safe ways to develop this.

We will start to share Bread and Wine (Communion), through just bread only in the first instance, only when both priest and people are content they are ready in the circumstances, and there will be instruction in each church about how we do that. We are not able to share the Peace in the usual way, or use commun- ion rails, bread will be dropped into our hand in silence etc.

Let us pray for one another, and support one another, as we enter this new time of being church here in Merstham and Gatton, and hold everyone together in our prayers and hearts in this mixed expression of being church . Please pass this news on to others you know.


Mark and Ben