Although legal restrictions have been removed, this does not mean that the threat from Covid or other diseases is over. We will still need to take some precautions to keep each other safe.
The Vestry have a duty to keep people safe, and they have been clearly and specifically charged by the College of Bishops to make the decisions about what health precautions are appropriate in this church. The following is the Vestry’s current position.
Worshippers should not attend church if they have any Covid symptoms, or any symptoms of other diseases, especially a cough or unexplained respiratory problem. A negative Covid test is not enough – if you have symptoms, stay away!
Face coverings are no longer a legal requirement, but they remain a helpful way of preventing the spread of any airborne disease, not just Covid. Some people are still concerned about Covid, and it is good practice to cover up for their peace of mind, so please carry a mask with you at all times. Masks may be available at the back of church. There is once again no maximum capacity for attendance. We should, however, maintain appropriate distancing inside the building where possible. As much as possible, people are asked to circulate in the church using the side aisles to avoid getting too close to others.
Unnecessary physical contact with people from outside your household should be avoided, although it’s no longer mandatory. We are permitted to share the Peace with a friendly sign such as a handshake, but be aware that others may not yet feel comfortable with physical contact. If you offer your hand and it is not taken, do not feel offended – the other person just isn’t ready for that yet.
We are also able to offer a shared chalice again. This is the preferred way of receiving Communion in an Episcopalian church as Jesus’ command when he offered a shared cup to the disciples was to “drink this all of you: this is my blood of the New Covenant:. Do this in remembrance of me.” This practice is considered safe as the chemical action of alcohol with the silver of the chalice has powerful antiseptic properties. However, not everyone feels comfortable sharing from one vessel yet. In such circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to only receive Communion in the form of the bread – it is still a FULL Communion. In all cases, the wafer of bread will be delivered by means of tongs so that there is no chance of any virus on the minister’s hand being transmitted.
- NOTE: The practice of intinction (dipping the wafer into the wine) is no longer allowed except in exceptional circumstances. Where, exceptionally, it is permitted, the minister will use tongs to dip the wafer in the wine and place it in the communicant’s hands. It is NOT permitted to dip a wafer in the chalice yourself: it can only be done by the minister.
Additional note on the giving of Communion:
- When delivering the bread to communicants, it must be placed in the hand. It is NOT permitted in any circumstances for the minister to place the wafer directly into the communicant’s mouth.
Refreshments after the service are once again available. These will be served in the Parish Rooms.
For those not comfortable with these measures, we will continue to provide our online worship as an alternative. The Rector is allowed to bring Communion into peoples home, as well. If you are not comfortable in church, or if you would like the Rector to visit for any other reason, please contact him on 742494. Even if you can’t come to church, the church can come to you,
The precautions are about protecting each other, and it is to fulfil that most fundamental of Gospel commands:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…
Love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.”
To limit the spread of any virus and to protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do everything in your power to keep others safe.
The current situation where the church is open means that we can now re-open the Foodbank donation point. The health crisis has hit vulnerable people hard, and foodbanks are more necessary than ever. Please be as generous as you can.
If you wish to make a financial donations directly to the Foodbank instead of bringing goods to church, you can do so by cheque made payable to “The Gate Charity” posted to their address:
Make it clear that your donation is for the Foodbank, as The Gate run a number of different projects.
You can also donate by Internet/phone Banking or by setting up a standing order.
Contact Marie Brownhill, the Centre Manager for details on how to do this.
Phone 01259 218766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe, and uphold one another in prayer
Fr Chris Lowdon