We are looking forward to being able to gather to worship in our buildings from September 6th. We have been working with guidance from the government and the Diocese of London to make church as safe as possible when we gather. When you come to church on a Sunday it will feel a bit different, we are aiming to be very careful so that church can be a safe and welcoming place for everyone, young or old, regulars or visitors.
Here are some of the things that will be different:
– To help with social distancing the number of households in each service is limited to 20 for St John’s and 13 at St Mary’s.
– In order to manage the capacity of St John’s, we have added an extra service on Sunday mornings at 9am which will be identical to the service at 10.30am as well as the 9am service at St Mary’s. (The Wednesday communion service at St John’s will resume from 2nd September at 9:30am).
– We will ask everyone to let us know which of the Sunday St John’s services they plan to attend each week using a simple two question online booking system (you can call, text or email Dave or Oli to book for you if you prefer not to book online). Details of the online booking system will be sent out during the coming week. Booking for services is now commonplace in many churches, and this will help us to avoid crowding at the services and also mean we have information of those attending for ‘Track and Trace’. Spaces will be on a first come first served basis for all services with a few spaces left each Sunday for any visitors.
– Face coverings will need to be worn (except for young children and those who are exempt) and spare masks will be available if you forget or do not have one.
– The church services will be about 45 minutes long, please do arrive in plenty of time.
– We know that catching up with friends is one of the things people love about church. We do ask that for now you are extra careful and avoid congregating before or after services (and unfortunately there will be no teas/coffees/biscuits/cake after the services). Toilets will only be available for emergencies.
– Services will involve music, but unfortunately no congregational singing.
– As before lockdown most of our services will involve sharing in Holy Communion, you will be asked to stay in your seat as we bring only the bread to you.
– Families will stay together in church during the services as children’s groups are not currently possible. There will be a variety of quiet activities for children to make use of in the pews or seats.
– We will continue to have our YouTube services to view online for those who aren’t able to attend for whatever reason, and there will continue to be morning prayer on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8.30am on Facebook. There will be live Kids Church on Sunday evenings on Facebook (and later uploaded to YouTube) organised by Rachel Maclure and Rachel Burnell at 6:30pm from September 6th, as well.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the coming weeks for worship.
David Maclure and Oli Douglas-Pennant