RETURNING TO CHURCH
Our journey continues....
From the 19th July, we will be re-opening St. John's for public worship
in the form of our 10am Sunday Eucharist.
NB: Our Wednesday 10am service will currently remain live-stream only.
We recognise many people will not wish to return immediately: that is absolutely fine! We will continue
to live stream services and meet on Zoom for coffee.
For those of you who would like to return, this page is designed to give you information about the health and safety precautions we are taking and how we can all minimise the risk.
The Safety Group, which advises the PCC (church council), has thought long and hard about the new habits that we need to adopt in order to keep each other safe. The PCC has put in place a set of policies and procedures to prevent the virus entering the building, and to minimise the risk of it spreading in the building.
At the bottom of the page are some documents that you might find helpful to download.
In the first instance, we recommend you watch the below video from the Vicar which explains some of the processes.
Old habits die hard....
Returning to church for us all is not an event but a process that will continue indefinitely. We don’t know when we will be able to live life without concern about Coronavirus. Crucially it is a process of learning. Learning how we keep the virus out of each service and avoid transmission as well as learning about how to pursue our mission in these radically altered circumstances.
Safety is not a thing, it is something that we co-create between us every time we come together. It is a product of our interaction and relationship. It’s what we do together that matters.
A lot of the things we usually do, our ‘old habits' are too risky now. We all have to make sure we think about what we do when we meet.
A booking system
To comply with social distancing, there will be limited seating in church. As such, it will be necessary to book for worship.
We know this will be a substantial change and raises difficult theological questions. Nevertheless, for now, it is a vital way of ensuring we keep you safe. To book, please contact Rachael Burn, the Parish Assistant on:
Please ensure you have booked by midday on the Friday before.
Please note that we cannot guarantee we will be able to admit you if you book in after that time.
Entering church and social distancing
We will need to queue at 2 metres distance before being admitted to Church (seating will be provided if standing is difficult).
Face masks will now be mandatory for those attending worship in St. John's.
Upon entering, you will be asked to sanitise your hands.
The steward will show each household group to their seats and will escort you from there at the end of the service.
In order to ensure we do all we can to ensure social distancing and prevent the virus entering the church, we will not be admitting people after 10am.
Toilets will remain open, though we would ask they are used either at the start or the end of the service.
Very sadly, for now, we will not be able to share in tea and coffee.
After the service, the Vicar will be in the churchyard to greet people, keeping in mind social distancing requirements.
A different liturgical experience
We are a Eucharistic community: the Mass is at the heart of who we are. As such, the service will remain Eucharistic, though without incense and servers. As such, the service will be shorter but will include the usual and familiar beautiful liturgy.
The government has stated that singing by the congregation is currently to be suspended in church, though a single cantor is permitted.
The giving and receiving of communion will be done in a safe and appropriate manner and will be in one kind only (i.e. the host).
In times past, we gather around the altar to receive, for now the priest will bring the sacrament to you. If you would prefer not to receive the sacrament that is absolutely fine.
So what will it be like?
We have written a short story about what it might be like to return to church. The story is imaginary but measures described are the measures that will be in place. You can read it here.
Everything we are doing is to ensure the safety of all who come through our doors. We recognise that it will require a period of adjustment and will be a challenge. We are nevertheless looking forward to beginning the next steps in our journey together.