A message from Francis regarding the Code of Conduct we will now be using during worship:
Sunday worship resumed on 5th July at 9.30am, with the appropriate virus safety measures in place. An encouraging number have attended and now seem reasonably at ease with the distanced seating, the need to wear masks and other necessary precautions. It may be different from our pre-pandemic services but it is nevertheless good to worship together once again. For the time being we will continue to hold one service a week at 9.30am as this avoids the need for complete sanitising of the seating and other surfaces in between services. We will of course ensure that this is carried out if necessary in order to accommodate baptisms, weddings and funerals. Please be assured that we will do our best to provide a safe environment for everyone who comes into church. For the foreseeable future the podcasts of Morning Prayer (Monday- Friday) and Morning Worship each Sunday will be available via the church website for everyone to listen to wherever they may be.
The church is also open daily for personal prayer now between approximately 9.30am and 3.00pm. For this, access is through the side door by the High Altar on the south side not the usual entrance. The prayer area is in the chancel on chairs specifically spaced and it is not be possible to go into the nave. Copies of a short prayer meditation guide are available for anyone to use providing they take it home with them as we cannot have pieces of paper being left for others to use. Hand sanitiser is available for use as you enter and leave.
I look forward to seeing you at some point in the future and we will continue to pray for our town community in the weeks ahead as we have done throughout the period of lockdown. We are thinking now of how best to adapt our services for the weeks ahead, including Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas and will do our utmost to offer ways of being alongside the community during these times. If you have any specific prayer requests you may always phone me on 01328 862268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code of Conduct during worship
1. The wearing of a mask in church is now mandatory unless you are exempt for a specific reason. Please may you bring your own mask with you. If you happen to forget we do have some masks available to enable you to attend the service. The person leading the service, together with the readers and intercessors do not need to wear a face covering whilst at the front providing they can maintain a two metre distance from others. The celebrant will wear one when distributing communion.
2. Please maintain social distance. Two (2) metres where possible and when less than this only for the shortest possible time. There are some seating stations for couples in the red chairs you may sit together in a pew providing no one else comes and sits in that pew with you. Up to five people in one ‘household’ may occupy a pew. You are unlikely to be able to sit where you used to sit! Only every other pew is used – note the ticks and crosses.
3. Please do not use a raised voice to speak to each other or during the liturgy. Sadly there is no singing for the time being. We will sit for most of the time, standing only for the Gospel and to receive the sacrament.
4. The celebrant will administer the sacrament to the people in the red chairs first and will do this by going to them. Next the people in the nave starting at the back will come forward return via the South Aisle. Do make a mental note of where you were sitting before embarking on this journey around the church. If you would find this journey difficult please do try to sit in a red chair and leave the pews to the more nimble of foot.
5. To receive the bread (wafer) please hold you hands horizontally and flat, one hand over the other with your arms extended. Administration will be done in silence without the usual wording. Wine will not be distributed.
6. Contactless giving is now preferred to cash and you will find the contactless machine on the wooden shelf near the door on the LHS as you go out. It is pre-set to an amount of £5 and you can alter the figure very easily if wished and it will automatically default to £5 afterwards. If you usually bring purple envelopes please place them in the collection plate in the same place. If you prefer to donate cash this should also be placed in the plate. We are not using yellow gift aid envelopes at present. Cash donations and contactless ones can be gift aided by the church under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. I would also like to remind you of the possibility of setting up a regular standing order for your giving which avoids the need for donating physically each week. Please contact me if you need a form.
7. The service will be much shorter than usual as it is recommended that we stay within enclosed spaces together only for short periods. If you wish to speak to friends you have not seen for some time after worship, please arrange to do this outside in the fresh air.
8. To prevent a bottleneck on leaving please leave in the same order as for receiving the sacrament ie red chairs then pews row by row from the front using the South Aisle.
I am sorry if all this seems rather ‘sterile’ and not the usual fellowship we enjoy but I believe we need to take the situation very seriously and reduce the risks as far as possible.
Francis Mason. Rector. August 2020