Keeping Church Safe after 19th July
As you know, from 19th July the government is lifting all Coronavirus restrictions, but is still asking people to proceed with great caution and advising that facemasks and other precautions should still to be observed particularly in crowded indoor places, especially while cases are rising rapidly.
We have carried out an online survey of our congregations, which has been extremaly helpful (results shown below), and this has indicated an overwhelming desire to lift restrictions slowly and carefully within church, particulaly for the sake of the more vulnerable and those not yet fully vaccinated.
And so the church leadership in the light of this is asking us all to adhere to the following which Dave explains more fully in his video here.
- We will be joyfully worshipping God together in the same service pattern that there is currently. See here.
- Do come and join us in person when you feel ready and comfortable. We don’t want anyone to rush back unti lunderstand if people feel they need to stay at home for a little while more yet.
- We will be continuing providing 2 online services from now onwards – the contemporary service from St Andrew’s (in mid August we hope to be in a position to record the live service and put this out later in the afternoon, rather than producing a separate pre-recorded service) and the live stream of the 10am All Saints Service
At our in-person services:
- We wil be asking everyone (except those who are exempt) to continue wearing masks for now for all services, while the cases are still very high and rising.
- We will be singing (from behind masks!)
- We will be asking everyone to keep sanitising their hands on entry and exit
- We will be continuing to space the seats out (At St Andrew’s we will put rows of 5 chairs out with 1.5m inbetween the rows). People are free to move chairs around to sit in smaller groups and we encourage you if you would still like to sit on your own to put a yellow card (handbag, jumper or whatever) on chairs either side of you to indicate that you would still like to have space around you.
- We will begin to serve refreshments outside at St Andrew’s (please bring your own cups) and continue to go to the Railway Inn for coffee from All Saints
- We will continue to encourage people to socialise and mingle outside and not in the church building itself.
- It is vital still that no one attends the in-person services if you have any symptoms or if you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.
- If you subsequently test positive after attending a service could you please let the chruch office/wardens know so that we can alert people who atteneded that service.
So that you can work out the service that is right for you to attend, the average numbers at our services currently are:
Midweek at St Andrew’s – about 20
10:30am Sunday at St Andrew’s – 50-65 (including children and youth)
The Six at St Andrew’s – about 30-40
10am All Saints – 30-40
As we now head into the School Summer holidays though, the numbers at the Sunday services at St Andrew’s may be lower.
If you are particularly anxious about coming back we recommend you attend the Thursday 11am Service for now which is the smallest and ‘safest’ service.
We hope this helps you to know what is happening and feel safe. if you have any questions or concerns then please do speak to one of the clergy or wardens.
These arrangements are likely to remain in place at least until the end of August when we will review again.
Many thanks for your cooperation and understanding
Results of the online Survey
Q2) How do you feel about returning to church?
1.7% I am not very anxious at all and can’t wait to get rid of masks and social distancing in church and let life return to normal
36.7% I feel comfortable myself about not wearing masks and not social distancing, but would want to ensure we do what we need to to make everybody feel safe
30% I am quite anxious about all the restrictions being lifted at once and would personally want to wear a mask still in church if we are going to be reducing distancing and singing again
25% I am anxious about the changes and feel it is really important that we all keep wearing masks to protect each other, but would be happy for congregation sizes to increase a little at least
3.3% I am really anxious about coming back and would not do so unless things stayed as they are (with the exception of allowing singing)
3.3% I don’t feel comfortable about returning to in-person church yet at all, even if things stayed as they are
Q3) What precautions do you think we should take to ensure church is safe and accessible?
18% Make masks/face coverings mandatory for all services (except those exempt)
66% Strongly encourage (but not insist) that people wear masks/face coverings still
53% Limit the congregation to around 90 at both churches (which still allows for some distancing)
23% Have some services (e.g. St Andrew’s 10:30 which is largest and most young people) where masks/face coverings are mandatory and some where they are optional
66% Maintain some level of social distancing (e.g. put rows of 6, 1m apart)
15% Continue to not serve refreshments
54% Serve refreshments after the service outside only
7% Have a service each week where there is no singing at all (said service)