Reopening of Churches

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122.1)

I hope you and your family continue to be safe and well.  

A beacon of light in these continuing days of challenge! Although we are not yet free of Covid-19 and we must all remain vigilant, I am very pleased to confirm that we are now a position to begin re-establishing public worship in our churches.  I know many of us have been hungering for this day, and without further ado, our public services will restart as from this Sunday 5th July.

The permission to re-open the church for public worship of God and for the people to receive the Sacraments is a major milestone.  To do so, and as I am sure you will understand, there are a number of conditions we must abide by, and therefore I encourage you to read this letter carefully so that you are aware of  how different worship will look for the foreseeable future.

Service times

The revised service times are as follows. Please particularly note that there will now be two services of Eucharist at St Margarets each Sunday – one that will be open to all, and a second one reserved for our older members (70+) plus anyone who considers themselves vulnerable.

9am – All Saints (1st & 3rd Sundays Matins, 2nd and 4th Sundays BCP Holy Communion)
10.30am – St Margarets (Eucharist, open to all and will continue to be live-streamed)
This will be followed by changing of chairs and cleaning of common areas
11.30am – St Margarets (Eucharist).  A repeat of the 10.30am service reserved for the elderly and/or vulnerable. Anyone within these groups should decide for themselves whether to attend. If you decide that you are not yet ready to attend services, this is entirely understandable and our online worship will continue to be available.

Required precautions being taken

Again as I am sure you will understand, the churches are only allowed to be reopened for public worship based on certain conditions. These are;

Social Distancing – at all possible times we must maintain physical distancing of 2m between households/bubbles.  As I’m sure you will you appreciate, this considerably reduces our capacity.  Therefore, in order to prepare the church and to prevent anyone from being turned away from the church door because the service is already full, we ask that you please let me know by Saturday 12 noon whether you are intending on attending a service. Please email (mother.nicol@gmail.com)  or telephone (01342 810 183 and leave a message) with the details of which service and how many people in your group.  

Track and Trace – We will need to keep a record of everyone who attends.  This record will be destroyed after a month.

Further precautions

  • You will be asked to use hand-sanitiser as you enter and leave the building.  You are welcome to bring your own. 
  • You do not need to wear a mask, but you can if you choose to.
  • As you enter the building please wait to be checked off the attendance list, and then directed to seating.  Please remain in your seat throughout the service, except to receive Holy Communion or a Blessing (if applicable).
  • A service sheet will be placed on each chair. Please take this home with you to dispose/recycle it.
  • There will be no singing, sharing of the Peace or post-service refreshments for the foreseeable future.  
  • Holy Communion will be received in one kind only (the bread).  Please remain standing to receive, holding out your hands, one on top of the other, as flat as you can.  As you queue, please remain physically distanced from other members of the congregation.
  • After the dismissal, please leave via the porch door, again remaining at 2m from one another as much as possible.

I appreciate that this is a lot of information to take in, and of course we will be reminding people throughout the services.  It may feel strange, just as  these are strange times.  However I hope you will be as delighted as I am that we can, in at least some way, gather together again to worship God.

With grace and peace 

Mthr Nicol