The Rev Paul Filmer writesI can now tell you what we have decided. The situation will be constantly monitored, and a full review will take place at the next PCC meeting in September.
In summary, we will continue with all social distancing and safety measures currently used, with the exception of two areas. Congregational singing is the main thing that can make a significant difference to our worship experience, and we will be reintroducing sung worship during the 10am service from this Sunday, 25th July. To reduce the risk of germ spread, we will only sing one song at a time, probably one to start and end the service and a third after the sermon. We will remain seated to sing, and continue to wear our face coverings. The other change is the reintroduction of post service refreshments. Again, to ensure our safety, refreshments will only be offered outside in the church garden, and will therefore be dependant on the weather. This will allow us to spend more time together informally after the service - another concern voiced in our discussion. To make sure everything is clear, I will now list below all of the precautions in place.
These precautions are all observed for the safety of everyone coming to church, especially those of us who are medically vulnerable. Thank you for your continued cooperation in making our church a safe and welcoming place for all. Entrance lobby
•We will continue to use track and trace precautions. The QR code will be on the hallway wall for use with the NHS app, and names will be noted on entry to church (kept for 3 weeks) so that all can be contacted should there be a case of covid in church.
•The hand gel dispensers will remain and all are encouraged to clean hands on arrival and after using the toilets.
•The bollards will be removed as they have proved to be of no particular use, but 2m spacing strips on the floor will remain to help with social distancing.
Meeting Room 1
•This room is now open for use, but we will continue to apply the rule of 6 to ensure adequate social distancing.
•Only designated people on the refreshment rota to enter the kitchen.
•Chairs are spaced out 2m apart in rows and columns. Some chairs will be set in 2s or 3s and you are welcome to sit with 1 or 2 others from different households as long as you remain with them throughout the service. Please ask for assistance if you need more chairs (large family) rather than moving them yourself.
•The collection plate will remain on the font at the back of church.
•We will remain seated throughout the service, apart from coming forward for communion.
•We require face coverings to be worn throughout your time in the building (unless exempt), including when singing. The only exception is for anyone involved in the service, whilst speaking from the lectern.
•During communion services, the peace will be shared with visual contact only, with all remaining seated.
•Communion will be offered as bread and wine, with the wine soaked onto the individual wafer by the celebrant. Please indicate when receiving communion if you wish to receive wafer or wafer/wine. Hand gel dispensers (or personal hand gel) are to be used before and after communion, and as we leave the building.
•Windows and external doors will be kept open during services to ensure an adequate circulation of fresh air.
•After the service we will all exit via the NE fire exit into the church garden as prompted.
•The 10am service will continue to be linked via zoom for all those who do not feel ready to return to church yet. This will eventually be turned into a passive video stream once we are all back together.