Dear Sisters and Brothers
I wanted to update you on the way we will be moving forward across the three churches in our Mission Community following the lifting of the legal Covid restrictions.
Having studied the guidance issued by the Church of England, the content for consideration in the C of E risk assessment template for our current circumstances and the cautionary approach we are being encouraged by the government to take in this time in which we are navigating our way on this slow journey of learning to co-exist with Covid and how best to manage risk – the churchwardens, Keith and Jackie from All Saints, Patricia from Dodbrooke and Robin Brett as Lay Chair/ organist and Revd Matt and I, have this week discussed our way forward across the three churches of our Mission Community. We fully recognise that there will be those who welcome the lifting of restrictions whilst for others there is an increase in anxiety. We hold this breadth of expectation.
It is essential that we do all we can to ensure that everyone feels safe coming into our churches. We want people to feel able to return to in-church worship. As many members within one body, we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable in our midst. In our reflecting and in our risk assessments we seek to fulfil this imperative.
In managing the risk of this time when infections are rising our risk assessments seek to protect the vulnerable and all who come into our buildings. The responsibility for making decisions about how to proceed lies with the incumbent. This applies to acts of worship, to events run by the PCC or church community, and to decisions on whether to hire out spaces or allow other events to proceed. I have consulted and discussed with the representatives, the way forward for worship services, and they are as follows:
· Across our Mission Community we will be asking people to wear face coverings, unless exempt, when inside our buildings and we will be retaining social distancing - now 1metre.
· Hymns can now be sung after this long period when we could not even hum, however we are asking people to wear facecoverings to minimise risk of aerosol transmission.
· We are adopting zoning within our churches so that those who are either exempt from wearing face coverings or do not wear one and those who are wearing face coverings and socially distanced, are not seated in the same area.
· Seating will continue to be by stewarding.
· The precautions that we have undertaken over these months to ensure that the presiding at and administering of Holy Communion are carried out safely for both priest and communicant, will continue.
· We will be continuing to ask you to contact us if you wish to attend a service and for your contact details for NHS Track and Trace.
Please remember that in all our considerations we are seeking to do all we can to ensure that everyone feels safe coming into our churches
With my thanks
Rector Kingsbridge Estuary Churches Mission Community