Church Worship under Coronavirus Questions and Answers

What types of service are we holding?

We are holding Morning Worship and Holy Communion services at the moment. For our communion services communion will be given 'in one kind' - so just the bread will be distributed. Theologically this is a full communion with all the spiritual benefits.

What safety/ hygiene requirements will there be?

We will have hand sanitisers on arrival. Our service booklets will have been placed hygienically be on the pews already.  

Seating will be socially-distanced, so people will be spread out in marked spots (households can sit together, though). The capacity of our churches is about 30, and we're not currently expecting more than that, but if more people come we will move to '1metre plus' - the fact we are facing the same way gives some leeway in this. We will be following other C of E guidelines.

People are requested to wear face coverings - this may become mandatory as the Govenment amends rules. .

We will have a 'traffic flow' system for coming in, leaving and also receiving Holy Communion that we'll explain during the service and as people arrive. For communion services the priest will be wearing gloves to distribute communion and set up beforehand.

Of course, if you have COVID-like symptoms - continuous cough, high temperature, and of loss of taste/ smell PLEASE STAY AT HOME AND SELF-ISOLATE.

What is the church building capacity?

The capacity with 2m distancing is about 30-40, depending on how many people are in the same household and hence can sit together.  The strict limit of 30, which you may have read in the press, applies just to baptisms, weddings and funerals - normal services such as ours are 'building-based'.

Should people wear face coverings?

In line with government guidance people are requested to wear face coverings, and this may become mandatory in due course.

What about music?

The guidelines for using instruments are quite complex, so initially we will just have recorded music, and sadly no congregational singing is allowed. We will play music as we enter and leave, and some music for reflection during the service. We will review this for the future.

Can over 70's and other vulnerable groups attend?

The Government guidelines give separate advice to the 2 groups: over 70's are classified as 'clinically vulnerable', and the other group is the 2.2m 'extremely vulnerable' people who will have received Government letters about shielding.

For over 70's the guidelines simply restate the current general Government advice to stay at home as much as possible and to minimise social contact.

The extremely vulnerable are advised explicitly not to attend places of worship indoors. 

Clearly if you belong to these categories you face extra risks in attending. However the government guidelines also go on to say "Advice for both the clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable is however advisory and they can choose how to manage their own risks."

In that spirit we will leave people to make their own choices in a prayerful way, and support whatever you choose, whether you prefer to come along or stay online. 

Please do bear in mind that, very sadly, stewards a cannot offer the normal 'helping arm' for those unsteady on their feet. In communion services, if you are at all unsteady on your feet and without a helper from your household we will ask you to remain in your pew while we bring communion to you.   

Also to add that we hope to hold some events during the Summer - perhaps small garden get-togethers - for people in the most vulnerable categories. In Pavenham plans are already taking shape. If the idea of hosting a party of that sort appeals to you please do get in touch.

Any coffee & biscuits afterwards?  

Post-service refreshments are suspended for the time being, sadly, and we have to ask people to leave the building promptly after the service, but when you get home we would love to see you at our Zoom coffee or Afternoon tea online gatherings. 

What about future 'gathered' services ?

We are reflecting on our pilot services will reflect on this service to work out what is currently involved, and from that we will be able to let people know about future services. As you can appreciate there is a lot to think about in holding services at the moment, so please do pray for our PCCs as we seek God's wisdom in these complex times.

Are online services continuing?

Absolutely - we will be aiming to provide good quality online services for the foreseeable future.

I hope that answers most of your questions - please don't hesitate to get in touch with us via our website if you have other questions.

Peter Kay
August 2020