We are delighted that we are going to be able to open up our church again for worship in person from Easter Weekend – look out for bookings opening soon!
As with all areas of life, we will still need to follow social distancing restrictions to make sure you are as safe as possible when coming to worship with us. It’s wonderful news that lots of people are being vaccinated now but, until a huge proportion of the population have been vaccinated and developed protection against covid infection, it’s important that we continue to follow all of the infection prevention measures we can to keep one another safe.
Everyone can be reassured that the PCC have passed a very stringent risk assessment which can be viewed here. The church is regularly well cleaned.
Important points for all of us:
- First and most important of all is that obviously you should not come if you have COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a fever or loss or change in your sense of taste or smell), have tested positive for COVID and are self-isolating or have been a close contact of someone who is positive and have been advised to self-isolate at home.
- Keeping your distance – at least 2 metres (that’s just over 6 feet in old money!) away from other people at all times is vitally important – please observe this, including outdoors in the car park.
- Regularly and thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and carefully drying them is the best protection we have for ourselves and others currently. Using hand gel is helpful if no handwashing facilities are available to you but washing your hands with soap and water is best if you are able to do so. This includes before and after entering the church – even if you have washed your hands before leaving home.
Other things to be aware of as we return to church:
- We have to restrict numbers for the time being so that we can ensure safe distancing. We know booking to come to church feels odd and perhaps uncomfortable for many of us but it is the only way we can manage this so we would ask for your understanding and co-operation while this restriction needs to remain in place. Please contact use the eventbrite website links or contact Judith in the office to book for any services the next Sunday.
- We will be operating a one-way system around the church. Entry will be only via the entrance at the top of the car park steps. If you have mobility issues that make this entry difficult for you, the steward on duty in the car park will be able to let you in via the side door beside the entrance to church. This side entrance is also in use for those attending Evening Worship in person.
- When you arrive you will be asked to give us your name and contact details or to check-in using the church QR code posters displayed around the buidlings, if you have the NHS Test and Trace app on your phone. These details are to allow us to co-operate with the NHS Test and Trace service, should anyone who was in church later test positive, by giving them details of anyone else who was there. (Please note that the individual concerned would not be identified to anyone else who was present.) This personal information will be kept securely for 21 days and then destroyed.
- Please wash your hands on entry, using the facilities in the toilets in the entry corridor. As we can only have one household at a time in the toilets, this may mean a short wait but please do bear with us and wash your hands. If you are not able to access the sinks, then hand gel will be available as an alternative.
- Please follow the one way system marked out into the church. The halls, the kitchen and the toilets in the Lounge are not in use currently.
- There will be stewards around church, as well as the staff team, who can help you if needed – they will be wearing high-viz jackets and name badges, so you know who is on duty!
- We will be making one major change to how things were before the latest lockdown and that is that exit from church will now be via the main church doors at the back of church. Hand gel will be available at this exit and the church kitchen will still be open if you wish to wash your hands before leaving. We hope this will enable us to begin to use the main doors again, while still maintaining the one way system and making it more convenient to return to the car park.
- There will be no collection plate passed round in services for the time being. If you would like to give a financial gift, we would encourage you to do this by debit or credit card and not cash if at all possible – we have a card machine now to enable taking contactless payments, which will be available near the exit. A collection plate will be available for cash as well and any cash gifts will be dealt with in line with the restrictions.
- It is mandatory for anyone attending a place of worship to wear a face covering in order to protect others, unless covered by one of the exemptions from face coverings in which case you are, of course, welcome to attend church.
- Holy Communion will be bread only and will be received from a temporary table at the front of the nave or brought out to the congregation. Bread will be individually portioned in paper holders in advance by a Sacristan wearing PPE and John will bless it as part of the Thanksgiving Prayer and will also be wearing appropriate PPE for this part of the service.
- We are not able to join in singing together as we know that singing slightly increases the transmission risk for COVID. Talk to Viv if you want to understand more. We will use recorded music or live music from a cantor or small group from time to time in services for reflection but music will be kept to a minimum for the time being.
All of these restrictions will mean that our worship will look rather different for some time to come. What doesn’t change is the God we worship and the warmth of his love for us and ours for one another, or our desire to worship him and serve him in our parish here in Shipley.