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What to expect during COVID-19 if you attend a service in our church buildings.
Before you arrive:
• We can only accommodate 9 households/bubbles at St John’s (including the priest) and 19 at St Peter’s for each service. Some spaces will also be needed for those supporting the running of the service. This means we will ask you to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
• You can book via the Eventbrite link which will be on the weekly email, on our Facebook page and website or by calling Maggie McLean 07725811405 who has kindly agreed to co-ordinate the booking system. The booking system will be a shared system between our 2 churches. PLEASE BOOK ELECTRONICALLY UNLESS YOU ARE UNABLE TO ACCESS TECHNOLOGY TO DO SO. If you need to telephone book please leave your name, number of seats and contact number. Maggie will ring you back if she cannot take the call.
• When you book, we will take some contact details. These will be kept for 3 weeks after the service and given to Track and Trace if someone from the service later tests positive for coronavirus. They won’t be used for any other reason and if they are not needed for this purpose, they will be securely disposed of after 3 weeks.
• When booking electronically please email Maggie McLean firstname.lastname@example.org IF AND ONLY IF you are attending with additional household members. Currently the booking system cannot manage additional household information but we hope to rectify this for the future so booking becomes a one step process. It is important to email Maggie so we can maximize space and safety. Each person within a household/bubble should not book separately.
• When people have attended once they are requested to wait until the Wednesday before the next service to book again thus allowing opportunity for any who have not managed to book a place previously to have priority.
• We ask you to consider your own risk of attending an indoor gathering. While we will be taking a number of steps to keep you safe, we cannot make this risk-free. You might want to look at the NHS guidance on whether you are at higher risk of coronavirus and be guided by their advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-riskfrom-coronavirus/
• We ask you NOT to attend the service if you have:
- A new cough
- A temperature
- Lost your sense of smell or taste
• You may want to bring your own hand sanitiser
• Please wear a mask/face covering. Please wear this as you come into church and as you leave. When you have been shown to your place you may remove your mask if you prefer as seating will be appropriately socially distanced. Please remember that face coverings protect others from your germs – they are not particularly good at protecting you from other people’s germs. They are not a replacement for good social distancing, hand hygiene, and self-isolating if you have symptoms. The need for wearing of masks will be updated as needed.
• Toilets will be open should the need arise but we would ask that you plan to try and avoid using these if possible.
When you arrive:
• The doors will open 15 minutes before the service. Before that you will need to wait on the church path. 2 metre markings will be chalked on the path to help you stay a safe distance from others in the queue.
• At St Peter’s you will be asked to enter via the sink area.
• The welcomer will let people into the building in households/bubbles. You will be asked to sanitise your hands on arrival, then be shown to a seat in church. The next household/bubble can then be let in.
• The pews in church which are available for occupation will be marked. Consideration will have been given to family groupings and appropriate requirements for space. The booking system will enable this and help us to maximize the number of people we can accommodate at any service (both our buildings have extremely limited capacity). We ask you to remain in your seat for the duration of the service.
• Gentle music will be playing to help you pray as you wait for the service to begin. You are asked not to talk to others.
• The doors will be open to allow some ventilation so you may notice it is a little cooler than you expect
During the Service:
• Services will be shorter than usual to minimise risk of transmission.
• The words you need for the service will either be projected on a screen or downloadable at home for you to print or bring with you on a tablet or mobile. You will need to save the words to your tablet or mobile. If you cannot bring or print a copy please let the person you book your place with
know in advance. Copies will be printed accordingly but there will not be spare copies – paper copies are discouraged as much as possible.
• The service will be live streamed on YouTube and be accessible via our website and Facebook page. You will notice a camera positioned as discreetly as we are able to enable this. We will aim that those watching at home will mainly be able to see those leading the service e.g. the priest, someone leading the prayers etc.
• Sadly, at present, we will not have the facility to enable people from home to lead prayers or offer to read for our live services. We will ask those present in the building to facilitate these as they are able.
• Due to risk of aerosol spread, there will be no singing during the service.
• Live music is permissible in services but not the playing of wind instruments. Recorded music can be used as long as it complies with streaming requirements and copyright/performance rights.
• We ask that when you are saying the responses that you speak quietly and prayerfully – again to reduce risk of droplet spread.
• There will be no formal processions in church to minimise movement and avoid potential trip hazards with livestreaming equipment.
• There will be no offertory or collection plate. Please do consider giving via standing order instead and speak to either John Dernie, St Peter’s (tel: 01244 300166) or Bob Williams, St John’s (tel: 01244-300758).
Additional notes for Communion Services:
• When we share the peace, we will not do so physically and will not move from our places – you will be instructed regarding any actions that may be made, should you wish, by the presiding minister.
Preparation of the table:
• The priest will sanitise their hands and set up before the service. There will be no use of burse or veil.
• As previously stated there will be no offertory procession or collection
• There will be minimal handling of elements: Wafers will be covered – There will be a lid on the ciborium (cup containing the wafers).
• The priest will sanitise their hands before the prayer of consecration.
• The ‘priest’s’ wafer may be handled and elevated/shown at the invitation to communion but will not be broken into the ciborium to be shared. It will only be consumed by the priest.
• The priest will say ‘the body of Christ broken for us all’ before they eat. There will be no spoken words at the distribution.
• Wine will be consecrated but only consumed by the priest who will say ‘The blood of Christ shed for us all’ before they drink.
• Communion will be in one kind only.
Distribution of Communion:
• During distribution of communion, only ‘bread’ (wafers) will be distributed. The priest will wear a mask and sanitise their hands before distribution. The bread will be brought to you at your seat. Kneeling at altar rails is discouraged. The priest will not speak as they place the wafer into your hands. You might want to use your hand sanitizer (if you have brought some) before receiving communion.
• Care will be taken by the priest administering the wafer to avoid hand to hand contact. If hand to hand contact occurs both priest and communicant should sanitise their hands.
• If you do not want to receive communion for any reason, please be assured that this is absolutely fine. If you would like a blessing – please place your hands together in a traditional praying position in a way that is clearly visible. The priest will not touch you but will pray a short blessing silently and make the sign of the cross. If you do not wish for a blessing, please place your hands together in your lap.
• The priest will sanitise their hands and before/after administering to self as required.
• Communion will not be live streamed and a slide and a piece of music will be played whilst it takes place.
At the end of the service:
• After the priest has moved to the exit of the building, the welcomer will ask people to leave a row at a time. Please wait for the welcomer to ask you to leave.
• Please take any orders of service you may have printed or touched home with you. At St Peter’s you will be asked to leave via the main door.
• Please do not stop to chat while leaving the building. Once out of the building you are welcome to talk in small groups of not more than 6 in the churchyard. Please do not block other people’s exit from the building. Please remember to stay 2m apart from people from other households.
• If you test positive for coronavirus up to three weeks after the service, please let Heather Carty Mob: 07484515812 know.
• Normal protocols will follow for cleaning the ciborium, chalice and paten which will need to be washed with warm soapy water, dried with a paper towel and placed in the safe. If this is problematic Heather will take these home to wash.