The Risk Assessment for reopening can be download here
Church Reopening We are pleased to be able to continue allowing a congregation to attend our Sunday morning services, but this is with restrictions, so please read the guidance below before attending. The church will be open from 10:10am, please do not come before this time, and please try to be in time to be seated before 10:30am. Please note that we will continue to live stream our services on YouTube. Those who have been identified as being more at risk, including those aged 70 and over, are encouraged to stay at home. We also are aware that for many reasons, several people will prefer to not attend at this time. So our services will still be streamed live online, whilst also continuing various other ways of the church interacting, such as in our whole church Bibles studies on Mondays and Fridays on Zoom, our Church and Prayer Nights on Wednesdays on Zoom, and the various ways house groups are seeking to meet. Meeting together is central to church life, and whilst we have been blessed with the ways we have been able to meet online, if you are able to physically attend as we restart, we would love to see you. Things won’t be back to ‘normal’, but physically meeting together is such an encouragement to our faith, walk and service to the Lord. As I’m sure we are all aware, there will be many restrictions to our gathering. Here are some of the most significant ones:
We are not allowed to have congregational singing. A group at the front is able to lead worship in song, but no singing within the congregation. But of course, after the service, you can go home, play the video on YouTube and sing along to your heart’s content!
We must observe social distancing. Whilst on the church premises, including in the car park and queuing up to enter (if required), we need to keep a 2 metre gap as much as possible. This includes the seating, which is limited, so…
We have provisions for an overflow. The capacity of the main church depends on the number within different households who are able to sit together. (Support bubbles can count as one household.) If the capacity is reached, we will have seating available in the lounge, and a screen to watch the service on. If the capacity for both areas is reached, we may have to ask you to return home and watch on YouTube. However, we do not anticipate this being likely, and the overflow may not be needed either. Either way, it would be best to arrive in plenty of time!
Doors will open at 10.10am. We have been advised that the congregation should not be in the building for longer than necessary. By opening the doors at 10.10am, we will still hopefully have time to find seats for everyone, whilst allowing arrivals to naturally be somewhat staggered. Please note, this may change as we will be learning as we do it.
The stewards are in charge of seating! We will have a number of stewards who will allocate seats for those attending, rearrange chairs to fit groups if necessary. They will also decide if or when the overflow seating will be needed.
COVID Secure protocols need to be followed. As well as observing social distancing, please clean your hands when coming into the building and when leaving using the hand gel dispensers provided. A steward will be taking names (and phone numbers if we don’t already know them) for track and trace purposes, which will be destroyed after 21 days. There will be a one way system in place which includes everyone entering the building through the big wooden double doors. For anyone going to the overflow area, there will be additional instructions to maintain safe distance. In addition to all this, one of the most significant protocols to follow is…
Face coverings must be worn at all times in the building. This is a legal requirement. For anyone who has a valid reason to not wear face coverings as outlined by the government, this of course is not necessary. And for those who are involved with leading the service, face coverings are not required whilst undertaking their duties. Apart from this, face coverings are essential.
There will be no crèche, TGI Sunday or Bible Class for the time being. To reach the needs of as many people as possible, including families, we are looking to increase the number of all age services, and we aim to make the other services slightly shorter. For regular services, we will continue to email activity sheets, so please bring these, along with felt pens etc. For those who aren’t able to print at home, we will have a few copies of the work sheets available, but in general, we do need to keep the distribution of any materials to a minimum. We are not wanting to rush reopening things, but resuming crèche, TGI Sunday and Bible Class are among the things we will continue to explore.
We are meeting for worship not socialising! One of the wonderful parts of meeting together in normal circumstances is that we can socially interact, contributing to us meaningfully being part of each others’ lives as we seek to encourage one another and spur each other on to good works. Unfortunately, for us to maintain COVID Secure standards, social interaction should be kept to a minimum outside the act of worship.
Some are advised not to attend. We are making every effort for the church building to be as safe as possible, but as mentioned above, those in more vulnerable groups, such as those who are 70 and older, are encouraged to not attend. Anyone who has COVID 19 or is showing symptoms must not attend. There won’t be an offering. Due to the various restrictions, we would like to encourage people to continue giving through online means, such as through standing order or the PayPal facility on the website. Financial giving is a significant part of our worship, and our gifts are so valuable to the ongoing ministry of our church, as to other ministries we support. We know that giving online is difficult for some people, so although there will be no offering as such, there will somewhere you can give cash gifts if needed.
Whilst these restrictions may seem quite overbearing, other church leaders have shared how quickly these restrictions start to feel more normal. And whilst this isn’t the full expression of gathering together which I hope we will eventually get back to, it is nevertheless a precious opportunity to be together, where possible, encouraging each other by being present together in what is the heart of the local church.