Church of England Diocese of Exeter Parracombe

New guidance for communal worship in the current lockdown

9 Jan 2021, 11 a.m.
Church_news From_the_Vicar
Dear Friends,

As you will probably know, the government have chosen not to suspend public worship in England in the regulations currently in force. The Church of England allows for local decision making based on a revised risk assessment about whether it is wise to continue to offer worship in church. In conversation with the Church wardens and PCC and following a new risk assessment we think it is possible to keep the 11am Holy Communion service on a Sunday morning at Lynton available to those who feel they are able to come.

The 11am Holy Communion at St Mary’s Lynton will be offered for the foreseeable future.

Clearly, if circumstances change this will be under review.

The condition of communal worship continuing is that households do not mingle while attending worship. If you choose to come to church please honour this fully. Please go straight to where you are sitting on arrival and at the end of the service a steward will guide you as to when to leave so that there is an even flow and less temptation to stop and chat.

We know this is really hard – but we need to be especially careful if we are to continue to offer the opportunity to be worshipping in person.

As has become the norm: face coverings need to be worn whilst in church and please make full use of the hand-sanitiser at the door and prior to receiving the bread at communion. Please maintain 2m of physical distance from anyone not in your household or support bubble at all times.

This is how we love God and our neighbour in church at this time.

I also totally understand that for many people it is right not to attend services at the moment, and just as each church does a risk assessment to decide whether to open, I think it is wise for each of us to weigh up for ourselves what is wise in our current circumstances. It is really good to know that the vaccines are on the way, and for some, waiting for that additional protection may be wise before returning to church or resuming worship again. You know what is best for you – and God knows that too! I will continue to send out the "you tube" video and sermon for those at home (today it may come out later than I had hoped but it will come!).

It may help to know what Bishop Sarah has said as a formal response from the Church of England. I have also added links if you want fuller information about the current guidelines.

God bless and guide you as you work out what is best for your health and life of faith right now,

Samantha

From Bishop Sarah’s statement (she chairs the Church of England’s response group):

The Government has chosen not to suspend public worship in England at this time and we will continue to follow the guidance and ensure that churches remain as safe as possible. The Government guidance on the safe use of places of worship makes clear that those attending a place of worship must not mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

“However, some may feel that it is currently better not to attend in person, and there will be parishes which decide to offer only digital services for the time-being. Clergy who have concerns, and others who are shielding, should take particular care and stay at home.

(full statement: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/response-bishop-london-new-covid-19-restrictions )

Church of England guidance: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

<div> The Reverend Samantha Stayte</div><div>

The Lyn Valley Mission Community

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