Our church buildings have been closed as part of the Government’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. THE Church, of course, has not been closed, and has continued to support our communities in wonderful ways, such as serving communities through online worship and social action.
Thankfully, across the land, many of our buildings have begun to reopen, firstly for individual prayer and funerals, and then for weddings. This reopening is a source of comfort to many people, including some who have participated in worship for the first time during lockdown.
From 26th July 2020, in compliance with government guidelines and taking a phased approach, St Mary’s will be holding both physical and virtual services:
9:00 – Service of the Word (St Mary’s)
10:30 – Virtual Service (usually Holy Communion, via Zoom)
As we proceed, we recognise that it is important to ensure that everyone is safe and that no one is left behind. Therefore, because people have different degrees of vulnerability and not everyone can attend church physically, our main act of worship will continue via Zoom.
If, however, you would like to attend a service at St Mary’s, please read the following:
What will public worship look like?
Government guidance says that: ‘Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the place of worship due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household’. It is also important that you self-isolate if there is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your household, or because you have been requested to do so by NHS Test & Trace.
If you fall within the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group, you are strongly advised to join our main act of worship via Zoom. Of course, the final decision is yours.
The government strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers. If you want to make your own face covering, instructions are widely available online.
Please enter, as usual, through the South Door, which will be opened approx.15 minutes before the beginning of the service.
Under the Test & Trace system we are required to securely record and store the contact details of all those who attend services for 21 days. Upon arrival, a steward will register your details.
Then, at the sanitising station by the door, you will need to thoroughly sanitise your hands. You will then be shown to your seat.
Setting will be available in the nave on alternative pews, with 1.6m between individuals. Therefore, a pew can accommodate either - three individuals, a couple from one household and an individual, or, one household.
To begin with all acts of worship will be short Services of the Word, amended to meet Government regulations:
- Services length will be shortened
- Where possible words will be projected on to a screen
- No singing is permitted
- The Peace will not be shared physically
- The collection will not be taken physically. Please see the Notice Sheet for details of how you can give to the mission and ministry of the church.
For the time being there will be no refreshments served. Please leave promptly via the West Door as social gatherings are not permitted in or around the church. This will be managed to ensure there is no bottleneck at the door.