Church re-opening 

29/06/20

Dear Friends,                                                                                                  
 
I am happy to be able to write to you today to inform you that our Sunday services will resume at 10.30 am on Sunday 5th July. This follows the government’s announcement on 23rd June that places of worship may re-open for services if social distancing measures and sufficient arrangements are in place to limit the risk to the community from Covid-19.
 
The Deacons and I have had numerous conversations about re-opening the church.  We have been able to hold meetings in Keith’s garden to plan for the re-opening for Sunday services as soon as it was deemed safe to do so. I want to thank the Deacons for their work in making it possible for us to re-open on Sunday 5th July, without them planning and implementing certain actions it would not be possible to do so. Please see instructions at the bottom of the page to prepare you for what to expect on arriving at church on Sunday 5th July. You will find the service to be a little different to normal and there are restrictions and precautions that we must ask you to abide by.
 
I know that this news will be a relief for many, but for some, it may feel too soon, and you may want to continue to shield yourself from the virus for longer. There will be others who depend on receiving a lift to church on Sunday from others, and it may be frustrating that the church will be open whilst you remain unable to attend because of social distancing measures that cannot be adhered to in vehicles. Whatever your situation, know that you are a valued member of our congregation, and we look forward to seeing you with us again when it is safe for you to do so.
 
The government’s announcement on 23rd June also allows for me to visit you in your home, should you like a visit. I welcome this news, however, I know that for care homes and some places of sheltered accommodations restrictions may still apply to prevent visiting at this time – in these cases it may be a little longer until someone from church can pay you a visit. Whatever situation you are in, you remain in my prayers and the prayers of the church, and it is a priority to visit you as soon as it is safe to do so. 
 
In chapter 3 of the book of Ezra on their return to Jerusalem and the site where the temple once stood, the exiles built an altar to the Lord and presented their offerings before the Lord. This is a reminder to us of our own priorities and the journey we are currently on. Those who returned from exile would have loved nothing more than to step back into the temple and pick up where they left off, but that was not possible. Many things had changed, so they began with what was most important – worship. Likewise, there’s a lot we would like to do on returning to our church buildings, but a lot has changed, so where do we begin? – worship. Eventually, the temple was rebuilt and the patterns of life returned to normal for those who had been living in exile, and the same will be true for us too, in time. But for now, let us enjoy being together from 5th July before the Lord, and together lift his name on high.
 
Yours in Christ


Gareth Garland


On arriving at church, you will be greeted by a steward at the front door. The steward will ask worshippers to keep 1m+ distance from others. On entering through the vestibule, you’ll be able to stop to use hand-sanitiser and continue through open doors to take your seat. At the end of the service, doors will be left open, and hand-sanitiser made available to worshippers when exiting the building through the vestibule whilst keeping a 1m+ distance.
 
Worshippers will be asked to sit one person per pew on the side pews, with no more than three per pew on central pews, and every other pew will be closed off to ensure the 1m+ social distance is adhered to. Where there is more than one person from one household, the persons in pew restriction does not apply.
 
The kitchen & lounge is to be out of bounds to worshippers unless permission is granted by a Deacon. The Sunday School will use the whole of the lounge to assist with social distancing measures.


Due to the possibility of infection within the church community, occasional worshippers will be asked by a steward to fill-out a card with their contact details should they be required by authorities to track and trace people in the event of a local outbreak. These contact cards should be deposited in the collection plate on exiting the church.
 
There will be a thorough clean of the building conducted by Pam each Saturday ahead of the Sunday service. Any surfaces that will be repeatedly touched by a variety of people will be wiped clean with an anti-bacterial wipe by the last user.
 
Worshippers will only be asked to wear face-coverings in accordance with the law and BU advice if social distancing measures cannot be met.
 
Should someone be taken ill during a service, they shall be taken to wait and given help in isolation in the Hall. The secretary will inform people by telephone if someone within the congregation has contracted the virus and if there is need to self-isolate. In the event of self-isolating, pastoral support will be offered over the phone.


Being a small enclosed space, admittance to the toilets is one at a time, apart from when children are accompanied by an adult from their household. Soap is to be made available at sinks and paper towels are to be used to dry hands, with a bin provided in the hallway outside of toilets for disposing of towels.
 
The vestry will not be used for prayers; the Deacons will pray in the hall. The copier room and the office will be used only by the Deacons, with one person permitted at a time.
 
If worshippers do walk through the hall and into the rear of the premises, the 1m+ social distancing rule should be adhered to. Hand-sanitiser is to be made available near the entry point from Hall to Sanctuary.
 
The steward will invite Sunday collection to be deposited in the basket on entrance to the church. The steward will bring the basket forward during the relevant part of the service. The minister will invite people to give their retiring offering in a plate located in the vestibule when exiting.
 
Communion services to take place on 1st & 3rd Sunday of the month starting from 19th July. You will need to bring your own bread, however the wine will be distributed in single cups.
 
Due to the possibility of infection within the church community, occasional worshippers will be asked by a steward to fill-out a card with their contact details should they be required by authorities to track and trace people in the event of a local outbreak. These contact cards should be deposited in the collection plate on exiting the church.
 
There will be a thorough clean of the building conducted by Pam each Saturday ahead of the Sunday service. Any surfaces that will be repeatedly touched by a variety of people will be wiped clean with an anti-bacterial wipe by the last user.
 
Worshippers will only be asked to wear face-coverings in accordance with the law and BU advice if social distancing measures cannot be met.
 
Should someone be taken ill during a service, they shall be taken to wait and given help in isolation in the Hall. The secretary will inform people by telephone if someone within the congregation has contracted the virus and if there is need to self-isolate. In the event of self-isolating, pastoral support will be offered over the phone.