Church of England Diocese of Exeter Saint Mark, Exeter

St Marks Reopens for Services

15 Jul 2020, 3 p.m.
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A Message from Tanya

I am very much looking forward to welcoming some of you back to church on Sunday. I’m going to try and explain the protocols we have put in place to make this as safe as possible for everybody.

We’re going to have a service at 9.30am on Sunday. We have created a one-way system so that people can enter through the doors in the car park (not the normal door) and exit through the door on the left-hand side of the church looking towards the altar. There is hand sanitiser for you to use at the entrance and exit.

We have laid out about 30 of the plastic chairs in singles and pairs at 2m distance. There are some more on the right hand side of the church in case you come in a bigger household group.

We will keep a list of everyone who comes in case there is an outbreak.

The service will be live-streamed, but I have set up the camera so that only those speaking in the service will be filmed.

We will not have orders of service or printed sheets. The service will be on the powerpoint and I’m attaching the order of service so that you can print your own to bring and take away with you or bring it on a tablet etc.

We cannot sing, but there will be music & video played before and after the service and we may have a single musician during the administration of communion.

We will be having communion, but only bread. I think the safest thing is for people to stay in their seats and for me to go around to everyone and administer or give a blessing (without touching you).

All of the toys and materials for children have had to be put away. We realise there isn’t much on offer for children at the moment and it might be difficult to bring them. I’m hoping to find a way to send out resources for them each week.

We cannot serve refreshments for the time being.

The bellringers are also allowed to ring bells from July 5th according to government guidance, so they may return soon only to ring bells before the service, with appropriate protocols in place.

We won’t be having a collection in the usual way, but there will be collection bowls at the entrance and exit. I encourage you to give online if you can during this time. Get in touch if you want to find out more about how to do this.

The service will last approximately 45 minutes. Please bear with me as the situation evolves. If we find that we reach capacity, we may have to think about having more than one service on a Sunday. We’re trying to keep it as simple as possible to begin with, and will add things as and when we can. We will basically be doing the service as the online services have been, but with more people involved now so you don’t just have to listen to my voice anymore!

I know you’ll be very excited to see each other, but please try not to loiter in church for too long afterwards talking to people, as it’ll make it harder for people to move around safely. Perhaps go outside for a catch-up.

I hope that all makes sense and I look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday.

Please don’t feel under pressure to come back on Sunday if you don’t feel ready to yet, as you can join us online. Similarly, if you come but don’t want to receive communion, then gesture at me and I’ll give you a blessing instead.

With love and prayers,