From Sunday 12th July, we are reopening our church!  I am sure you are as excited as I am about this. I am also aware that many of us are filled with questions and trepidations, please could I reassure you that while we will like as many as possible to physically come back into the church, we will continue to have our services available online so that those who are not ready or able to come back into the church are not left out. For those with questions on the risk involved and the safety measures in place to mitigate against them. Below are some of the questions and answers:

Is it safe to go back into the church? Like many other public places such as schools, we have taken a detailed assessment of the risks involved and have developed various ways and strategies of extenuating them. We now believe it is safe to come back for worship and prayers in the building.

How many people can attend services? We will only be able to seat 60 people for our main services. Please note that this might increase if many are members of the same household or “bubble” as defined by government regulations. To this end, our service pattern will be as follows: Sunday at 10.00 am and Wednesday at 10.30 am. This gives time between services to allow for the disappearance of any virus that might be inadvertently present.

What about cleaning the church building? The church will be cleaned on a regular basis.

How are we planning to enforce social-distancing? There will be flooring markings and other signage to indicate the appropriate positioning.  Pews in use will be clearly marked. Social distancing instructions will be clearly displayed. A One-way system of entrance into the church will be established. This means everyone coming into the church, comes in through the Main Door (under the Bell Tower). 

How safe is receiving Holy Communion? The Minister will take all necessary precautions by sanitizing his/her hands and ensuring all Public Health England rules are obeyed. The Communion will consist of “Bread” alone and individuals will be invited to receive obeying the 2-meters rule. 

What about children and young people attending worship? We warmly welcome all children and young people; they are part of the worshipping body of Christ. Young children should be supervised by the parent or guardian and appropriate hygiene precautions followed. Our activities on Sunday morning with children and families will resume under strict supervision and compliance with present regulations.

What about hygiene? On entering and leaving the church building every one, including staff and volunteers, would be encouraged to use the provided hand sanitizers. 

Will the toilets be open? Our toilet facilities will be open and will be regularly cleaned. There is a rule of one person at a time in the Gents and a maximum of two in the Ladies. The disabled toilet will also be made available. 

Can we serve refreshments?  For now, the answer is no. 

Can the organ, piano, or recorded music be played? Yes, but no singing will be allowed. 

Should I wear a face-covering in a church building? Face coverings are currently mandatory on
public transport and will be mandatory in shops and in supermarkets from 24 July 2020. People are
also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do
not normally meet, such as a place of worship. We strongly advise that face coverings should be
worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers,
contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are
mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they
are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.
What is a face covering? A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You
can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment
or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face. These are
different from surgical and other face masks that are part of PPE used in health and social care
settings. We do not recommend the use of PPE in church buildings other than for specialist cleaning
Are there exemptions from wearing face coverings? You do not need to wear a face-covering if you
have a legitimate reason or a wish not to do so. This is an advice and not a regulation. Nonetheless,
we will encourage all who can to please do so, for the sake of all.

There are surely other questions you might wish to ask, please read the detailed risk assessment and the Frequently Asked Questions document. Both are available here. There is also a video showing our expectations and some of the measures in place. We do hope to see you soon.