Re-Opening of Churches – COVID-19

A message from Revd David Hildred

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this period when we have all faced so much disruption. We have been thinking, talking and planning about how we can begin to open safely our churches for Sunday services, following carefully the guidelines we have, whilst recognising that Covid-19 is still dangerous.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2020:

Following recent Government announcements on the tightening of restrictions on public gatherings, we would like to reassure you that as far as we are aware there are no changes that affect the regulations on religious gatherings on our own property so long as we apply existing restrictions correctly. 

David and Robert

UPDATE AUGUST 2020:

Below is a letter from the Clergy discussing the continued reopening of the parish churches.

On Sunday 2nd August our first services in churches began again with a 9:30am service at St Cassian’s and then a 6:30pm service at St George’s. Please see the “What to expect” sheets, below, which explains how we are aiming to run services safely in a context where the Coronavirus still poses a deadly threat. 

The discussions have also continued about opening services. We will be opening a service at St Chad’s from 23rd August onwards, initially starting at 3:00pm.  Two weeks after that, on 6th September, we will be opening a service at St Cecilia’s also at 3:00pm.

The pattern of services we are building up is a temporary pattern whilst we discover how different things are and how we can do things better. 

Furthermore, discussions are also underway about how to open St Mary’s Stone during September – more details to follow.

Let’s be people of good news and of God’s light.

Current Worship Pattern:

Three of our churches have opened once again for Sunday services and we currently provide four services each Sunday:

  • 9:30am alternating between St Cassian’s and St George’s
  • 11:00am Zoom service
  • 11:00am St Mary’s, Stone
  • 3:00pm St Chad’s
  • 3:00pm St Cecilia’s
  • 6:30pm alternating between St George’s and St Cassian‘s

The pattern will continue to evolve as we open more churches and more services within the parish.

These services are for the whole parish, and you are welcome to attend no matter which congregation you normally join in with.  However, the numbers who can attend the services are reduced because of the need to keep socially distanced. So we would ask those who are able to access the Zoom service to consider letting others fill the places at the services in church.  We’ll keep everyone informed as to how many are attending the church services.

This means that there is no longer a Zoom service at 6:30pm. Sadly, due to the need for either extra cleaning or quarantining we will no longer be offering the mid- week openings for supervised private prayer, which will give more availability for funerals mid-week.

Let’s recognise we will need to go on showing each other patience and grace whilst we ease slowly towards whatever a ‘new normal’ might look like.

We have the advantage that we know we can pray to our Almighty God who presents himself to us as our Heavenly Father. 

Let’s pray for God’s strength, his wisdom and his certainty for the way ahead.

What to Expect:

There is guidance, published below, which explains what to expect at the church services. Things have to be different at the moment to match the guidelines to which we are working.

Remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and avoid spreading the virus. 

Keep yourself safe: Coronavirus COVID-19 is dangerous and can kill. 

Online Sources:

This site, as well as the parish Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts will continue to be used as a platform for prayer, updates and the sharing of Christian values.

Furthermore, we will continue our online services, please find out more information on our Zoom Services Page.

Please press the ‘Download’ button for security advice on the use of Zoom for parishioners.

Information in the document with thanks to:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/make-sure-your-zoom-meetings-are-safe-by-doing-these-10-things/

Join us to pray for the current situation we all face and to pray for those who work within and/or are affected by the Coranvirus (Covid-19).

And, let’s continue to pray that we take steps forward which are safe and full of grace, as we slowly work out how best to do things.

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