All church services follow social distancing regulations and so restrictions are in place to ensure all can worship safely. Further information can be found below. If you have any questions then please contact me directly on 01202 893197 or email [email protected]
Why do I have to book to come to church?
To ensure social distancing in church and comply with Government and Church of England guidance we are having to impose strict measures in church. We are working on the basis of social distancing at 1m+ with risk mitigation measures in place. We have done this to have the maximum number of people in church in a safe and controlled way. As our capacity is limited, we are having to use a booking system. I wish with all my heart it were not so, but there is no way round this, we must ensure compliance with legislation and most importantly your safety.
How do I book to come to church?
Liz Bowler has kindly agreed to manage people coming to church. To book in please email Liz on [email protected] . It is preferable to email but if you are not on the internet you can phone Liz on 01202 872064. Please book in for Sunday by 5pm Friday and Wednesday by 5pm Monday. Liz will be trying to make the system as fair as possible so please understand we are endeavouring to give everyone a chance to worship in church over the course of a week.
What services will we be having in church?
The service pattern will be familiar:
Sundays 8am Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer
10am Parish Eucharist (said) Common Worship (4th Sunday Family Service)
Wednesdays 10am Holy Communion Common Worship (but in church)
What if I can’t get a place for the service I want?
We will do our best to give everyone an opportunity to worship during the course of one week. That may mean we offer you a slot at a service you don’t usually attend, please understand this is a huge managemental problem and we are doing our best. The 10am service on a Sunday will still be live streamed on Facebook for those who cannot attend church. If you are unhappy about the arrangements, please contact me directly and we can talk through any issues.
Why do I have to sign a consent form about my personal details?
To allow us to engage with NHS Track and Trace in the event of a Covid-19 positive case being reported, we will ask for your consent to share your name and phone number with NHS Track and Trace. This is to comply with Data Protection regulations regarding the processing of data. Please sign the consent form that is downloadable below and put it in the box in the porch the first time you attend church. If wish to see a copy of our privacy notice for NHS track and Trace, please contact me and I will email you a copy.
The lists of those who have attended church (from the booking system) will be destroyed after 21 days.
Do I wear a mask to church?
YES! It is mandatory to wear a mask in church unless for any reason you are unable to.
What about giving someone a lift to church?
We would encourage you to consider the current Government advice about car sharing which is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
What if I wake up feeling ill on the morning of church?
Please do not come to church or enter the building if you are feeling ill in any way.
Why do I have to sanitise my hands at the door?
All those entering church must use the hand sanitiser mounted in the porch to ensure everyone’s safety. We would also encourage you to have a bottle of hand sanitiser with you to use before receiving communion.
Why is the entry and exit from church being managed?
Because we must ensure a one-way flow in the building. Entry for any service will be in a half hour window before the service begins. There may be some queuing to enter the building and once in you will be seated by a churchwarden or sidesperson. Again at the end of the service you will be guided by a sidesperson or warden, please remain in your seat till invited to leave. Please remember to remain socially distanced in the churchyard whilst queuing to get into church and after leaving.
Why can’t I sit in my normal seat?!
With our church building being on the small side the movement in church and entry and exit has to be tightly controlled to avoid breaching social distancing regulations. Therefore, everyone must be seated in a particular order, which the sidespeople and wardens will help you with. I am sorry again that we have to do this, but the narrow shape of the church means we have to be very careful to avoid crossing someone else’s social distancing space. The seats available are clearly marked. Please do not sit in the chancel area.
I am the reader…where do I sit?
The person reading (and interceding) must sit on the first row of chairs on the south side of the nave (right side facing towards the altar) adjacent to the mobile lectern. Please bring a copy of your reading with you.
Can I sit with my household or bubble?
Yes absolutely! If you are from the same household or bubble you can sit next to each other. If you are not in a household or bubble, there is only one seat at either end of the pews. A bubble is a specific support bubble with one other household as defined by Government guidance.
What will church services be like?
They will be different from before and different from the online services. There can be no singing in church, so all services we will be said. We will also be slightly streamlining the services to ensure we have adequate cleaning time and to reduce our time in the building.
Why is there no procession or any servers?
Because we have to minimise movement in the church building.
Why are the doors open?
Because we have to increase ventilation in the building. Once the doors are closed due to extreme weather the numbers permitted in church will drop dramatically.
Why is there no bell?
If the church is full the bell will not be able to be rung as the bell ringer will cross other people’s social distancing space.
What about the collection?
We cannot offer a collection plate around but there will be collection plates at both exit points from church.
What about the service sheets?
We will be using our normal service sheets which will be quarantined for one week after use. Please pick them up from the sidesperson’s bench and return them there (or the table in the church hall) on exit.
Why is there only one reading before the Gospel Reading?
This is to slightly reduce the length of the service. Reducing our time in the building is a risk mitigation measure.
What about the peace?
There will be no sharing of the peace. Please do not physically touch anyone at the peace, leave your seat, or turn around. The President will say: ‘the Peace of the Lord be always with you,’ please just respond…’And also with you’.
Are we having Communion?
Yes, but communion can only take place in one kind and we will be strictly following the Church of England’s guidance. The president will sanitise their hands at various points during the Liturgy of the Sacrament and only the president will have touched the hosts or silverware to minimise the possibility of contamination. The congregants’ hosts will be covered until distribution. After the invitation to communion the president will don a mask and then come round and ‘drop’ the host into your hands. There will be no words of distribution and please do not say Amen or consume at this point. Once the president has returned to altar, they will say the words of distribution and then we will all say together Amen and consume together. This will give us the feel of receiving the blessed sacrament together.
Can I use the toilets?
Yes, but we recommend you have hand sanitiser available with you to use after exiting the facilities.
Why is there no hospitality after the service?
Painful as it is (especially for me!) we cannot offer hospitality.
Can we stay and chat after the service?
Part of our church life is our wonderful fellowship however the exit from church has to be managed to ensure our one-way flow and also needs to be as swift as possible. We would therefore ask that social interaction takes place after exit from church. Please ensure social distancing when talking to anyone.
Will there be any Cosmics?
No unfortunately at this juncture we cannot offer youth provision.
What if I test positive for Covid-19?
Please inform me (as the ‘venue manager’) if you test positive and have been at one of the services. Please be aware although we are trying so hard to keep everyone as safe as possible, we can offer no guarantees.
I hope all the above has answered any questions you might have, if not then please be in contact with me. Again, I apologise for all the rules and regulations, but we must comply with Government and Church of England guidance and our abiding priority is, as ever, your safety. Please keep the churchwardens and the ministry team in your prayers as we embark on the return to public worship.
In the love that unites us and with every Blessing
The Revd Andy Muckle