We want everyone to feel able to come to church services and to be safe when they do so. With the ongoing covid–19 pandemic, that will mean church services will need to look different.
Below are some FAQs. Feel free to explore these, whether you’ve got a specific question or would just like to get a sense of what services will be like.
We’re being very careful to follow all the latest guidance from the government and the Church of England to ensure our building is safe for services. Out of love for each other, everyone will be asked to observe social–distancing, follow the guidance and stay away if they experience any symptoms associated with covid–19.
There may be some who would be especially vulnerable if they contracted covid–19. If you’re in that situation, you will need to consider when you feel it’s safe for you to return and, in the meantime, we’ll do everything we can to support you and help you feel included in services. Please drop us an email to let us know if you’re in this situation.
When we gather as God’s people, we do so to hear from him (through the Bible), to speak to him (in prayer), to worship him collectively and to encourage each other in all of these things. This will remain unchanged and a great joy.
However, to do all this safely in the current environment will require us to do some things differently.
For the meantime we are not allowed to sing. Instead, we will listen to some songs and speak songs together (i.e. the psalms – the Bible’s songbook).
To minimise opportunities for spreading the virus, the words you’ll need will be displayed on a screen at the front of church. Bibles will be available and will be quarantined for a week after use to ensure they are safe to use.
There will be a variety of differences in what we can do, some of which will become clear from looking at the other FAQs.
All of these differences are being reviewed on a weekly basis.
For the moment, we’re not allowed to sing. This is a government decision. It’s sad and we’ll all be delighted when we can begin to sing together again.
In the meantime, we’ll listen to some songs and speak songs together, including some psalms, which are the Bible’s songbook. Reading psalms together in this way has actually been a common practice of the church for hundreds of years.
In short, yes. At the moment, it is the law that anyone attending church services must wear a face mask. This applies to anyone aged 11 or older. There are a few exceptions to this, which you can find here. It would be very helpful, therefore, if you brought your own mask to services, but we will have some single–use masks available for anyone who forgets to do so.
All those involved in the service will wear a mask, however it is permitted for those leading, preaching, reading and praying to remove their mask while doing so, in order to aid communication. Those who remove their mask for this reason will be more than 2 meters from others when they do so.
Sharing communion together is an important part of our gathered worship. It’s something we’ve missed and which we are eager to begin again.
At the moment, the PCC has decided that the nature of ongoing restrictions and the layout of our building would make it very difficult to share communion safely and that any arrangements to do so would significantly distract our focus from where it should be during such an important moment. In addition, whilst some would be very happy to share communion now, there are others among us who would be distressed by this because of the ongoing health crisis.
Whilst we are not making immediate arrangements to share communion, this is something we are continuing to actively consider and it will be reviewed by the PCC (Parochial Church Council) every month until circumstances allow us to return to normal.
We’re delighted that Sunday Club will be available during the 10:30am service for children aged 3–14 years. Parents will need to book a place for their children (here) and children aged 11 or older will need to wear a face mask.
Children aged 0–2 do not need to book to attend the main service. A room at the back of church will be available for parents to take 0–2s if they are restless or need changing or feeding.
Anyone aged over 14 is invited to join the main service.
Further information and instructions about Sunday Club will be sent to those who book to attend.
Please book a place here.
We’ve moved to having two services (10:30am and 4:00pm) in order to be able to get everyone into the building in a socially–distanced way. And we’re expecting to be near capacity. If you turn up without booking, there’s a real chance you won’t be able to join us.
Booking in advance also means you won’t need to provide track–and–trace details on the door before entering, because we’ll already have a record of your attendance.
Bookings for Sundays will become available every week on the preceding Monday morning. Those who are ‘offline’ will be able to make contact over the phone to book a place. But it would be a great help if those who are able to book online did so or sought help from others to do so.
Yes. We will sit in households, 2 meters apart. At the start of the service one of the welcome team will show you to your seat (please don’t try to choose your own seat). Wherever possible, please remain in your seat until one of the welcome team invites you to leave at the end of the service.
Some of us will find these requirements frustrating. If that’s you, please follow them out of love and kindness towards those among us who feel more anxious about coming into the church building and who will be put off attending if measures like these are not observed.
Yes, the toilet at the back of the church building will be available to those in the main service, if needed.
The toilets in the parish centre will only be available to those attending Sunday Club during the 10:30am service.
Yes. We are required to keep records of who attends for track–and–trace purposes. If you book a place, all you will need to do when you arrive is ‘check in’ by giving your name at the door.
If you attend without booking and there is space available for you to join the service, we will ask you to complete a slip with your name and contact details. All such slips will be kept securely for three weeks and then destroyed.
Yes – we’re taking this very seriously. Our risk assessment includes a thorough cleaning schedule, which will be followed before and after every service, to ensure the space is covid–safe.
Yes. Everyone will sit in households, which will allow us to maximise the seating capacity of the building. When you book, you can get a ‘ticket’ for one or two people. A household of three would need to book one of each. A household of four would need to book two tickets for two people …and so on. But households will be seated together, even if you’ve booked different tickets.
When you arrive, please don’t try to choose your own seat. You will be shown where to sit by one of the welcome team. This system is the simplest way for us to ensure we maximise seating capacity.
Not at the moment, no. The ‘Rule of 6’ introduced by the government on 14th September means we cannot ‘mingle’ after services. That will mean that at the end of services you will need to leave the building and make our way home. That is something we regret, but it’s important that we don’t appear to be twisting either the letter or the spirit of the law, which is designed to minimise interactions between households.
If you can bring your own face mask that would be very helpful, but spare masks will be available at the door for anyone who forgets. Hand sanitiser will also be available, but feel free to bring your own if you’d like to.
Arriving 5–10 minutes before the start of the service would be a good idea. That will enable us to get off to a smooth start. (Actually, that’s true even in normal time!)
Yes. Most people give regularly by standing order, but if you prefer to give into the offering plate, that will still be possible. We can’t pass the plate around, but at the end of the service offering plates will be positioned near the exit. If you would like to start giving by standing order instead (something we would encourage), all the details for how to do that are available here.
Throughout September, we’ll ask everyone to book on a week–by–week basis while we assess numbers and how the system is working.
If you’re able to attend either the 10:30am or 4:00pm, we want to encourage you to attend at different times. This will increase the chance for everyone to see and meet each other.
Those who indicated on the ‘Back to Church Survey’ (sent out in July) that they could only attend one service time will be contacted to see if they would like to make a repeat booking. If you haven’t been contacted by the end of September about this, and you’re in that situation, please get in touch.
Those we know to be in this situation will be contacted directly over the phone.
If you know of someone in that situation who has not been contacted by 2nd September, please get in touch to let us know.