Sunday services after July19th
Now that the government has removed all outstanding Covid-19 legal restrictions, we are making some changes to what happens at our Sunday services in the church building.
There is much to be thankful for in the lifting of formal restrictions, not least the freedom to be able to sing again 😊. It’s also important for our discipleship that we are able to get back into the regular habit of gathering for worship and teaching when we can. However, we are all aware that infections continue to rise and the Government recommends continuing caution in areas such as wearing a face covering in enclosed and crowded spaces, limiting contact with those we do not live with, and good diligence with hygiene.
The changes we are making to our services seek to strike a balance between allowing more freedom in worship whilst recognising that many will still be cautious. We will continue to review government recommendations and guidance from organisations such as the Baptist Union as we move forward and will make changes as needed.
It goes without saying that if you have tested positive for COVID or are required to self-isolate under the current rules you should not attend church. If you are not feeling well in any way please be safe and stay at home. The government has recommended regular lateral flow tests at home and this will help ensure that we do not inadvertently let COVID into the church building. If you test positive for COVID after attending a service please let the church office know so that we can contact the other attendees and make them aware (we would not reveal who has tested positive unless we have permission to do so from the relevant individual).
Although not a requirement the government is strongly encouraging venues to retain NHS QR codes for people to ‘check in’ via the NHS COVID-19 app or to provide their contact details. This is to enable prompt follow-up should someone in the building have the virus. To help support this we will continue to use the on-line booking system (see below for a link) and paper sign in sheets, as well as continuing to display the QR code.
Social Distancing – grab some pine cones 😊
Again, restrictions around social distancing have been eased but we still need to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated.
Seats will be next to each other and the stewards will no longer be seating people in a socially distanced way. If you would like to continue to be socially distanced then there will be a supply of pine cones in the vestibule that you can take to put on the seat(s) next to you (or you could use a bag or a coat if easier). We will maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m between rows. Please don’t be offended if someone has placed a cone or two on the seat(s) next to them – they’re just social distancing 😊.
Another option for those wishing to maintain social distancing would be to choose a seat in the back few rows. This will mean there will be less people behind you and these seats will be closer to the open doors leading to better ventilation.
We would encourage everyone to be aware that some will be more cautious of close contact than others and for this reason moving between groups whilst in the building should be kept to a minimum and physical contact such as handshakes and hugs should be avoided. Socialising should be outside after the service has ended.
It is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering but they remain recommended by the Government in enclosed and crowded spaces to reduce your risk and the risk to others. With this in mind, we encourage everyone who is not exempt to continue to wear a face mask when in the building, particularly when not seated and moving around. Please bring your own face covering but, if you forget, please ask the stewards for a disposable one.
We can finally sing in church which will be fantastic as this is one aspect of worship that has been sorely missed. However, we need to be mindful that singing increases the risk of aerosol transmission and is safer when face coverings are worn (though coverings do make singing harder). In line with the facemask guidance above we encourage you to wear a face covering whilst singing. Singers in the band will continue to be behind plastic screens.
- We will maintain good ventilation in the building and will keep doors open during the service.
- Hand sanitiser and face masks will be available in the vestibule on entry.
- Children are welcome at all services. Communal toys will not be available for the time being but there will be individual activity packs.
- The toilets will continue to be open with people encouraged to wipe surfaces down after use (wipes will be provided).
- Tea and coffee will not be available for the time being.
- Bibles will be available in the backs of seats although you are encouraged not to pass them between household groups / bubbles.
We would still like you to book for services in order to help us monitor numbers/building capacity and also to assist with Test and Trace should it be necessary. If you leave it too late to book or your plans change do please just turn up anyway and we’re sure there will be room for you.
Moving forward and adapting to this latest ‘new normal’ will take some time. We should all be grateful to those who are working behind the scenes to put these new measures in place and enable changes to happen as smoothly as possible. As we make these changes we bear in mind the exhortation in Ephesians 4 to act ‘with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.’ Let us be considerate to each other, listen well, and be prepared to adapt as we move forward.
If you have any questions regarding these changes then please do get in touch.