Proposed Reopening Churches for Worship 4.7.2020

Message from Hannah:

Who knew I would be getting a diploma in Pandemic management when I was licensed three months ago!

The government announced Church buildings can be opening from the 4th of July for Worship which is wonderful news. However, what is not reported is the pages and pages of guidance that needs to be read (so far, I have read over 50 pages) to open churches safely and make our buildings Covid safe. We need to conduct risk assessments for worship services, weddings and funerals – failure to do so can result in a fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years!  We also need to figure out the best way to continue to engage with members of our congregations who maybe still shielding or who may be vulnerable so I have meet with Tim Davies to discuss the simplest way to combine our future services in the building with our Zoom services. The guidance is very clear that anyone over 70 and in the vulnerable categories should be encouraged to stay at home and minimise contact with others. Congregation sizes are limited to 30,  but this number is only for guidance because we have to work out how many we can actually accommodate whilst maintaining social distancing.

The risk assessments need to go to the PCCs for approval. This all takes time, so please be patient. Please also share this information with anyone in the villages who maybe asking why we are not yet open.

All this seems daunting and disappointing but at the moment following the guidance and maintaining social distancing is an expression or love and care for one another.

With all this “stuff” that needs to be done, it is easy to lose sight of God so I want to encourage you with following little prayer:

When the days are dark and cold,

the Lord comes as he did to his people of old.

When the way is unknown and my future uncertain,

the Lord comes as he did to his people of old.

When I am in captivity and long to be free,

the Lord comes as he did to his people of old.

When I am in the wilderness and hunger and thirst,

the Lord comes as he did to his people of old.

Lord we trust in you to be a lantern to our feet and a light unto our path,

we are trusting you as did your people of old to show us the way forward

so that we may continue to praise and worship you.

Amen

 

Opening the churches for Sunday and Weddings

Although the Government has announced that places of worship can be opened from the 4th of July for worship and weddings we are still determining via Risk Assessments how we can make our buildings Covid Safe. The Church of England Recovery Team Led by the Bishop of London has stressed that the opening of buildings is “permissive and not prescriptive” and it depends on the  local context as to how and when church buildings can be opened safely ensuring that social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

More information will follow shortly as to our Pattern of Worship within The Parishes of Elstead, Thursley, Shackleford and Peper Harow during this recovery stage.

Opening the Church for Private Prayer

St James, Elstead

I know that the closure of the church buildings has been very distressing to many in our community. In light of the government announcements and having conducted the necessary risk assessments, along with approval from the PCC on the 16th June 2020

St James will be open for private prayer two afternoons a week from the

 25th of June 2020.

The days and times that the church will be opened are:

Thursday 3 – 4.30pm

Sunday 3 – 4.30pm

This will allow for 72 hours to elapse between each session which will reduce the need for a deep clean between each opening.

Proposal for reopening St James for Private Prayer Rev 1

Parish Risk Assessment Template v.3_0 (1)

St Michael’s and All Angels, Thursley

The closure of our church buildings has been very distressing. A risk assessment has been carried out by myself and the Churchwardens. The PCC has approved that St Michael’s can not be reopened for individual prayer at the moment as we can not facilitate the cleaning of the church. We know how disappointing this will be to many in our community. This decision will be under constant review. St James Elstead will be open on Thursday and Sunday afternoons from 3 – 4.30pm

Opening for Private Prayer – St Nicholas 16.6.2020

St Nicholas, Peper Harow and St Mary’s Shackleford

The closure of our church buildings has been very distressing. A risk assessment has been carried out by myself and the Churchwardens. The PCC has approved that St Nicholas and St Mary’s can not be reopened for individual prayer at the moment as we can not facilitate the cleaning of the church. We know how disappointing this will be to many in our community. This decision will be under constant review.

St James Elstead will be open on Thursday and Sunday afternoons from 3 – 4.30pm