Revd Samantha's thoughts on reopening churches for services and Eucharist. Please read and reply to her if you are able to help.
You will probably be aware that we now have permission, under very strict conditions to open churches for public worship.
The main principles within the guidelines concern maintaining appropriate hygiene and good social distancing and they need careful application.
After careful consideration, I would like to suggest that we start progress towards opening one church as a test case so we can learn and become confident in offering safe worship, step by step across the Mission Community.
St Mary’s Lynton is the obvious place to start as it is spacious and the first stages of preparation have taken place there as it is open for private prayer on a Sunday, but I would like to gather a group of people from across our churches to be a working group for putting the guidance into practice, so that the experience can later be shared across the Mission Community, and so this first service back is a full Mission Community enterprise.
So, I am looking for volunteers who would like to help with planning for a new Sunday Eucharist, appropriate for the current restrictions, at Lynton. I will take full responsibility for the liturgy and the plans for the communion itself, but we also need to look at how we set up the church, how we communicate what services will be like and how the service is stewarded. Once people have volunteered I will send out, by email, a document about the things we need to consider. I would then hope to be able for as many of the volunteers as can to have a virtual meeting by Zoom, before a few of us meeting at St Mary’s to look at the logistics. I am not setting a date for a service yet, because we need to be comfortable that all is in place.
Please could you let me know in the next couple of days if you feel you would like to be part of the working group.
I fully understand the range of feelings people have about coming back into church. I don’t want anyone to feel any pressure to do things they are not comfortable about and will give as much information as I can over the next weeks to help you decide for yourself whether you are ready to come into church for worship. The sermon and Youtube reflection will continue whatever.