The Return from Exile
Dear brothers and sisters
You may have heard the good news that officially Churches can meet again as of Sunday 5th July 2020.
However as of today 25th June 2020, not all the details have been finalised by the government except that whatever is decided numbers wise, we will be unable to sing whilst meeting.
The leadership team have been scenario planning for our return these last few weeks and we have decided that we will NOT immediately return to worship together physically in the church building. We accept that this is disappointing for many but the difficulties that we have identified with returning to worship together physically are:
· Can we accommodate young children (primary year 3 and below) safely in the presence of the elderly/vulnerable and shielding?
· Would some vulnerable people feel tempted to come to a service and potentially put themselves at risk?
· Would anyone want to meet just for a prayer and a talk, when we can have the full worship buffet on YouTube?
In light of these concerns, the diaconate have decided that PRBC will return to worship together physically for our morning service, when a) the majority of the congregation are able to meet safely, and b) when we can sing together. The date for this is undecided. I personally am hoping that we can do something sometime in August.
In the meantime, we will continue to provide our worship services on-line.
The new normal
Before we gather again, we will complete a Covid19 Health and safety check of the premises.
When we do decide to return to use the church building, there will be some measures that we will need to implement to make us Covid-secure.
1. When we use the main church for a service, we will need to make sure the room is not used for at least 72 hours afterwards to ensure that all traces of Covid19 are destroyed. We believe that this is a better guarantee of our safety than relying on our cleaners to perfectly disinfect every nook and cranny of the church building. To provide copious extra cleaning might counterintuitively, give some a false sense of security. We would expect all our congregation to be cautious i.e don’t touch eyes/noses etc after touching anything in the church as per the guidelines for everywhere else in the UK.
2. When we meet together, people will be directed to sit in allocated seats, possibly even filling the church from the front (!) This may seem rather draconian but if we have to do it, it is because we want to minimise the amount of close contact people have in the building and it will help us better control the flow of people. There may even be a side of the church where the most vulnerable are encouraged to sit.
3. We will offer hand sanitiser on entry and exit of the church building.
4. Tea and coffee/food will NOT be served.
5. When we do meet together, the main church service will continue to be broadcast via YouTube on the church’s website, so that those who cannot attend, can still participate in our life together.
I appreciate this this is disappointing news for many of you (including myself) but one crumb of good news, is that we will aim to provide an evening gathering at some point soon which probably won’t be broadcast but will be an opportunity for some of us to meet together, worship, and be encouraged. Details will be forthcoming in the newsletter in the next few weeks.
Yours in Christ