“Should” and “Must” in the guidelines

Dear Friends,


I just wanted to clarify some of the do’s and don’ts for our services on Sunday.


Government advice is in two categories – “Should” and “Must”. “Must” means mandatory, i.e. the guidance is required by legislation. “Should” is guidance that needs to be carefully considered, but does not have to be followed in every circumstance.


For example, the guidance says people “shouldn’t sing” not “mustn’t sing”, so we are able to judge for ourselves that our building allows for some singing in perfect safety because of the space between people. This, and other aspects of worship such as how we receive communion, is our decision to make.


The wearing of face masks is mandatory, but we are not enforcing it.


My last email gave all the reasons why I am perfectly comfortable with people choosing not to comply with this legislation in church. I’m glad to be able to report that no one has contacted me to indicate that they would not feel able to come to church if members of the congregation choose not to wear a mask. So we can all be reassured that we are not making anyone feel uncomfortable if we don’t.


My personal suggestion would be that we all wear a mask to enter church and whilst we are collecting service sheets etc. but once seated and well-distanced from others, we might choose to remove them at that point for communion. Putting our masks on again as we leave would also make sense, but if you wish to talk to someone, you can be mask-less if it helps with communication. Indeed, there is more increase in risk in approaching someone too closely because they cannot understand what you are saying through a facemask, than there is in removing your mask at a safe distance to speak. This might indeed apply, for instance, when you are giving your name at the door for the track and trace record.


I hope this gives everyone a workable option. We will, of course, update this resumé if there is any change in the current very low rate of infection in Wiltshire.


Every blessing


Rod x