We are back into lockdown with schools closed to most children; restrictions on leaving our homes; all but essential shops closed; and other rules which are now law which you can find here.
However, churches can remain open for worship as long as they follow strict precautions such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, no mingling between households/bubbles, everyone of 11 and over wearing masks (unless exempt), and the parish is continuing to monitor the situation. We have increased the space between chairs where possible, have moved the altar at St Mark’s back to create more space and at St Mark’s will be bringing communion to people rather than expecting them to move around to take communion so that there is enough room for everyone.
However, no-one who feels uncomfortable about coming to church should feel any obligation to come and there are online services every week here.
Lesley explains the thinking behind this: “Churches offer comfort and support which is particularly important at a time when our mental health is under such strain. Moreover, the risk of catching Covid has been shown to be very low in UK churches and we have gone out or our way to ensure that we have mitigated any risks. We will continue to follow the guidelines and to ask our congregations to do the same.
“We also want churches to remain open for funerals. For many families, church funerals are important and we are also able to accommodate larger numbers than many crematoria – we can have up to 30 people – so enabling more people to experience this important aspect of grieving.
“Of course many of our congregations may not wish to come to church at the moment. We are continuing our services online as well as in church so those who have internet can join in. However, we are acutely aware of those people who do not have internet and cannot come to church and we are doing what we can to ensure that they are not isolated. We even have people ringing others up and playing the service through the phone as well as just having a general chat.”
Our services are at 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11am at St Mark’s, and online services are here.