We are delighted that, after such a time of separation, we can worship in St Andrew’s again from 5th July. We’ll be opening up very cautiously to begin with, and our first approach will I’m sure be subject to change and refinement.
Our plan is to have two Sunday morning services to specifically address the needs of people in different situations in our congregation. Please be aware that pressure on numbers means that we can only accommodate members of St Andrew’s congregation and their immediate families.
9 am Service
This will be a said service for folk who feel in any way more vulnerable. It will be along the lines of our usual 8 o’clock, but it will take place in the nave with well-spaced chairs. The later time is in order to include people who don’t find it easy to rise early but are generally very cautious about being away from home. There will be no singing, and people will be asked to bring their own bread and we would not share the wine at the time of communion – at least to start with. This will mean that even people who are shielding can come to worship, never be closer than 2 metres to anyone, and receive communion without anyone else having touched the bread.
10.30 am Service
This will be more appropriate for those who are already out and about more, or are at work, and feel comfortable with singing (if this is possible) and being with families. We will of course still be gathered in a safe way. It will be at 10.30 to allow for cleaning of chairs between times. We might consider holding the whole or part of this service outside, weather permitting, if singing is not allowed in church, but for the first Sunday, it will be in St Andrew’s, with or without singing depending on the legislation in force.
All would of course be seated in households a good 2 metres apart. Here we might in time include receiving the wine, which could be poured by sidespersons (wearing masks at this point) after the Peace, into glasses that each person would bring. But for the first few Sundays at least, we will only receive the bread which each person will bring.
We are so blessed with our building being the size and shape it is allowing us to be exceptionally safe and well distanced. This should mean we can safely accommodate the numbers we are likely to have.
There will need to be a lot of thought given to the detail, but we’re confident that we are an ultra-safe venue in terms of Covid risk, and we will be so relieved to be together once more, physically as well as spiritually, to worship and receive the sacraments.