Reopening of the Church building
Update 18th July 2020
Thank you for your patience over the recent weeks. There has been a lot of things that we have had to address when looking at reopening Christchurch for public acts of worship. The PCC have reviewed the guidance from the Church of England, Diocese of St Albans and Luton Borough Council and have now come to a decision. I must stress that, as with anything at the moment, the decision is based on the information available to us at the time. The PCC will keep things under regular review and make changes as and when necessary. I ask that you would bear with us over the coming weeks and months as we adjust to how things will look. I understand that none of this is ideal or what we would want, but we need to make sure that what we offer is safe and compliant with the guidelines at the time.
We will be restarting both Wednesday and Sunday services, however, there will be differences between the two which I will explain below. The main points for both services are that they need to be kept to under an hour and Track & Trace forms must be used. At present, there can be no sharing of the peace and no refreshments. The common cup remains suspended for now. During the distribution of communion, I will come to you and give you bread in your seat. I will then return to the Lord's table and receive communion myself. I will receive in both kinds on behalf of all those gathered and our parish. During the distribution, I will be wearing a mask and gloves. As I'm sure you are already aware, at present, we are not able to sing during our services (even with masks on).
Additional cleaning will also be put in place before and after the building has been used.
Over the next week, I intend to film a video explaining what will happen in church and the hygiene protocols in place in more detail. This will placed on our website and social media channels.
At this stage, masks are not mandatory within the building. The Church of England are reviewing their guidance in light of the Government's change of stance on requiring them in shops. If you wish to wear a mask, please feel free to do so. Should this guidance change, I will let you know.
Hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed in the church at suitable locations and should be used. Doors will be left open (where possible) to reduce the need to touch them and the screen at the back of church will be open to enhance airflow through the building. Our ceiling fans cannot be used at present as they present a further transmission risk.
If you are displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please do not come to church. Similarly if you start showing symptoms within 72 hours of being in church, please let me know as soon as possible.
Wednesday Church will recommence on 5th August at the usual time of 10:45am and will be weekly. The Wednesday service will essentially be the same service from the previous Sunday (same reading, talk, etc). Priority for this service will be those members of our congregation and parish who are not able to access our online services.
We will ask people to book for this service. It is not essential to book, but it will help us determine numbers and planning. Further information about booking will be distributed soon.
We are committed to continue streaming our services online, especially whilst singing is prohibited in church, even with wearing masks. We have looked at whether we could hold our service in church and also stream at the same time, but this creates a number of licensing issues with regards to music and it would mean we are likely to go over an hour in length.
With this in mind, the decision has been made that from Sunday 23rd August, there will be said service of Holy Communion in the building at 9am. This will be no more than 45/50 minutes. After which, we will ask you to leave. The service will include a short 5 minute homily based on the passage for the day. Again, we will be requesting that you book for this service (further details in due course). Some seats will be left available for those who haven't booked. This will be the only public service in the building on a Sunday. (Essentially, this is our regular 8:30am service but moved back to 9am).
At 10:30am, there will be a streamed service on YouTube as we have been doing in lockdown, which will include songs, reading and sermon - essentially a "regular" Christchurch service. This will not be a public act of worship and the only people in the building will be the leader and speaker. This should give time for those attending the 9am service to return home and join in with the 10:30 service online, if they wish. Zoom coffee will continue to follow this service.
To summarise, if you wish to attend a service in the building on a Sunday, for now, the only option is at 9am.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please let me know.
The Rev’d Tim Madeley, Vicar
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07307 191582