Building Re-opens for Corporate Worship
Following a detailed risk assessment having been completed, and various preparations being made, it is in the intention that worship at Emmanuel recommence from Sunday 6th September. Why? Well, churches have been able to open for private prayer since July; weddings and funerals can take place. Now worship can too. Also, shops, offices, cafes and restaurants are open, schools, Jenny Wren Nursery will soon be. It would seem anachronistic if churches didn’t – we are subject to the same restrictions and precautions as everyone else. So here’s how it will work:
WHO CAN ATTEND?
Each person MUST take responsibility for their decision: if you are elderly, suffer from ill-health, or have been given instruction from your GP – then take all these into consideration when you decide and use the government’s advice on how to protect yourself. Anyone with recent Covid-19 symptoms MUST NOT ATTEND. Your first priority must be your own health and the health of others – don’t forget we can worship, pray, and be in God’s presence anywhere, and at any time. Numbers are limited to 40, so if you would like to attend worship you MUST let Emmanuel Leaders know by 6pm on the Friday before the service: Carol Jewell is keeping the list, contact her via the online form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the leaders or the minister on 01323 502003. If the list is full you may be asked to book for a future service – and will be given priority for the next one.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO CAN’T ATTEND?
The Trustees and Leaders recognize that of our 200 membership, many are unable to attend; many will choose not to attend, rightly putting their health first. It is therefore important that people’s worship and prayer, discipleship and belonging, is maintained as it has been. Therefore, the following will continue for the time being:
Daily Devotions: (on the church website daily or printed form for those who request them).
Monday Prayers on Zoom: 10:30-11:00am for a short reflection and shared prayer time.
Sunday Morning Worship: available on church website.
Please note the church will no longer be open for private prayer on Friday mornings.
WILL IT BE SAFE?
It will not be risk-free – like everything else currently – but the risks have been identified and are being addressed one by one. So – you can expect, on arrival, to be greeted by a Leader who will take your temperature with a head-thermometer, who will advise you where to sit, remind you to observe the social distancing and markings on the floor. You’ll also need to use hand sanitiser as you come in and leave. Face masks must be worn during worship. The church’s cleaning schedule will be amended to ensure the church is thoroughly cleaned before and after worship. Toilets will be open, and antibacterial wipes and instructions will be available for those who use them. Bring your own water bottle too, for the kitchen will not be open for general use.
WHAT WILL WORSHIP BE LIKE?
In line with current guidance it will be somewhere between 30-45 minutes, and there will be no congregational singing, no books, nor printed orders of worship. You can expect live and recorded music, the use of the screen, prayers and a short address. You can also bring in your own book if you wish. Every service will contain elements for all ages. Offertory by electronic means is preferable (see magazines recently), but baskets will be available for cash offerings. Do not expect a ‘normal’ act of worship in any sense.
WHAT ABOUT AFTERWARDS?
Churches are being advised that those who attend should leave promptly following worship: refreshments are NOT permitted, so these will not be available. Leaders will support the church being vacated promptly and carefully.
MONITORING AND REVIEWING
As you will already be thinking, all these measures are taking a great deal of time and effort and consideration to put in place: they are for your safety and the safety of others. Adhering to the restrictions is in no way optional! The Trustees and Leaders will keep these arrangements under review, and reserve the right to cease public acts of worship at any time should the need arise, or it may be we need to consider a midweek service.
Please pray for all at church in this time of change and transition, and all those who look after us and keep us safe.
The Emmanuel Church Trustees and Leaders