We’ve been given the green light to open our buildings for private prayer. The guidance is that we are not to host anything like a church service or gathered worship yet, however. So that means no speaking from the front, singing or communal prayers, and obviously nothing where we would need to be close to each other, or touch, eat or sip. That feels frustrating, but I expect it will be some time before church feels like “normal” as it was before this pandemic. Oli and Robyn have been working on a plan and risk assessment for how we can open our buildings in the safest way possible at this stage as the lockdown eases. Thank you so much to them for their hard work!
The churches will be open one day a week for two hours – St John’s from 10am to midday on Wednesdays, St Mary’s from 10am to midday on Fridays. The days and times may be increased in the future as we monitor how things go. There will be a responsible person on site to manage the flow of people into the building and to provide cleaning as required. Initially we will allow only 2 households in the church at one time (not including the helper on site). If children are coming, they must stay with parents at all times.
Many of us will now be used to the lines on the floor, cleaning stations etc. that we see in shops. We will have all this in place at the churches when they are open and will direct people in and out separate entrances. People will need to wait by the entrance until told to come into the church. Some people may feel these measures are overly strict (or perhaps not strict enough!). We are following the guidance the diocese has given us and there is a desire from the church authorities to be cautious in view of the fact that our sanctuaries are important places for some elderly and vulnerable people, and we would love them to feel included and safe as we open up the buildings. We hope that people find our sanctuaries places where they can pray and experience God’s peace. Please do be in touch with myself or Oli with any queries.