We have now received the guidelines from the Church of England in preparation for opening our churches for worship and I met with the church wardens and office manager that same day to go through them and devise a plan.
Firstly, some good news. The easing of restrictions has meant that we can start to wind the clock at St Marys church from this weekend! It has been much missed by local residents and it will be lovely to hear it ring again.
Secondly, good news but complicated. We are opening our churches for public worship from 12th July. However, the guidelines from the government and national church are very clear that during this phase of our return to ministry things will be different so that we can minimise as much risk as possible. Restrictions will include:
– Family ‘bubbles’ being seated together but 2m apart from others.
-Short acts of worship that will mirror the content of our Zoom services.
-We will not be able to offer tea/coffee and people will be directed in and out of the church by a steward.
-We will not be able to sing hymns.
-Because there is a limit on the number of people we can hold, and for ‘track and trace’ purposes, you will be required to book a space online or telephone the office if you are unable to get online.
There are lots more things that we will put into place over the next few days and these will be communicated this weekend.
We plan to begin by opening St Marys Walton for worship on Sunday 12th July at 9am for Morning Worship and online/telephone booking for this will begin on Monday. We will then alternate, with St Martin’s Trimley, hosting the service the week after.
I do understand that many people may well decide that they do not want to return to worship in our churches yet or could be shielding. For this reason, we will be keeping our 10am Zoom service going for the foreseeable future and the 5pm ‘Sunday Service’ via Felixstowe Radio with Rev Chris.
I will keep you updated with any further developments as and when it happens. Please be patient with us if you try to contact the office or Rev Paul as you may not get an immediate response. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that our return to the buildings are done safely.
Please continue to pray for our Zoom meetings in July and for all those involved in opening our churches once again. Full details will be released in the Connect this weekend.