Fr David S Fisher B.Th (Oxon), SCP Rector of Carshalton
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on Monday night, you should be aware that places of worship may continue to be open and that communal worship may continue. This was followed by additional guidance from the House of Bishops Recovery Group, chaired by the Bishop of London. In essence, the guidance repeats what was said before – that parishes who feel able to open for worship can do so but shouldn’t feel compelled to do so; it will depend on local circumstances.
I have been reviewing various options open to us, which are not just a simple ‘stay as we are’ or revert to how we were in the first lockdown; within our own church family, there will understandably be a variety of opinions and views as to how we proceed over the next month or so. However, I am minded to maintain things as they are for now, but we willkeep things under constant review and consider moving to a ‘mixed mode’ approach if local figures for infections do not improve. In order to stay open for public worship, the following rules MUST be followed (these are from the original Church of England advice):
Use hand sanitiser on entry and exit and immediately prior to receiving Holy Communion;
Remain in your seat apart from when going to receive Holy Communion;
Unless you are exempt, wear a face covering at all times in the building, ensuring that it covers both mouth and nose - you may remove it to receive the sacrament (if you arrive having forgotten yours, we do keep some spare ones by each door);
Maintain a 2 metre distance from everyone apart from your bubble at all times in the church and churchyard;
However understandable it may be to do so, please do not engage in conversation with others before or after the service. Once the service is over (or the organ voluntary has finished), please leave the building in an orderly way - do not stop to chat with others or cause congestion at the doors.
If you have the NHS Track and Trace app, please do scan the QR code on arrival at church.
Finally, if you need to shield or self isolate or if you show any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and join worship in via the Facebook group. If you come into one of the vulnerable categories, please also consider whether it would be best for you to join in online.
As I said, this will be kept under constant review and there is every possibility that we will have to adjust how worship here at All Saints’ is offered during lockdown.
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