On Monday 12 July Boris Johnson explained the way in which our country will cautiously begin ‘opening up’ society on so-called ‘Freedom Day’, Monday 19 July. However, freedom for some will also create more anxiety, isolation and a sense of imprisonment for others. This has been expressed to me by members of the congregation who have said on the one hand, ‘we won’t be back at church until we don’t have to wear masks’ and on the other, ‘when we begin to meet without masks, I will need to go back to online services because of my need to shield’. Hence, it is not easy creating a strategy that meets everyone’s requirements. However, this is our proposed plan.
Sunday 10.30 am
From 25 July people will not be required to book to come along to church – we are open for all! However, the setting at church will be slightly different from normal. Chairs will spread throughout church – not socially distanced, but separated. If you want to bring them closer to make ‘bubbles’ that is fine. Also, there will be a reasonable distance between the front row of chairs and the platform area.
People will still be encouraged to ‘gel’ on entry, but it is your choice whether or not to mask. Some of you who do not like wearing a mask may choose to wear one for the sake of others. Also, there will be an area within church that everyone who wishes to wear a mask will be able to sit, giving reassurance to those wearing masks that they are amongst like-minded people, but naturally if mask-wearers want to sit with the non-mask wearers that is fine. Also, windows (and doors where possible) will be open to ensure good ventilation and the church is regularly receiving a ‘Covid-clean’. All these arrangements are designed to give as many as possible confidence in coming to church and so as to ensure people feel welcomed and safe.
Now here is the big news – all of us are free to join in with the praise and worship led by the worship group. Also, in time, we will be offering a Sunday morning Holy Communion service as well.
For the time being, Wednesday 9.30 am Holy Communion will continue as an alternative to the 9 am Holy Communion on Sundays. Usually, this will come from Common Worship liturgy, but occasionally, perhaps monthly, we will use the Book of Common Prayer. People will still be encouraged to ‘gel’ on entry, but it is your choice whether or not to mask. In general, this service will include music, including, hymn singing.
Please be assured that for the time being online services will continue to be available, but we do hope to see as many of our church family together again soon, so that St Saviour’s may continue in its mission as an outward looking, active and healthy church.
If you have any questions or suggestions about these plans, please do let me or the churchwardens know.
Andy McPherson, vicar