The church is now open every day from 8am till 5pm! All doors are left open wide and we enter via the West door and leave via North or South, so there is no need to touch anything. So even those who are shielding can walk through on their daily exercise without additional risk. Safer than shopping – and better for you!
The outdoor communion on Corpus Christi was shared with 30 people, and felt a very good thing. So it is my intention to offer this on Sundays from now on until such time as we can have meaningful worship in church again (I.e. with music and no face-masks). I hope it won’t be too long at least until we can increase the number of people beyond 5, but for now, that is our maximum at a time. I’m afraid that I can’t offer spaces to anyone other than our own regular church attenders and their immediate families.
We found that if people follow the “ante-communion” – the readings, reflection and prayers – at home before attending, each service takes around 15 minutes or less. So I will offer communion from 8am this Sunday at 20 minute intervals – 8, 8.20, 8.40, 9 and so on – for as many as would like to receive. As before, this would be fully socially distanced and we’d ask you to bring your own bread and an empty glass.
Now that people who live alone can be part of a “bubble” it would be fine for you to take communion back to such a person, if you are able to come and they are shielding.
Again, as before, I’ll need you to phone 652788 on SATURDAY before 6pm if you would like to receive on Sunday. Even if you’ve emailed me or spoken to me, please still phone and leave a message on the machine. That way, I won’t miss anyone out and won’t have to worry about messages coming in lots of different forms. You can indicate in your message if you have a preferred time between 8 and 11, but I might not be able to adhere to it exactly .Hopefully, for subsequent Sundays, you will be able to simply keep that time and only need to tell me if you are not coming. I’ve included the instructions from last time at the end of this (long) email if you plan on coming.
If anyone could lend a gazebo, it would be useful – to protect the altar and elements, not me!
Those of you from St Nicholas, do let me know in the week if you would like me to arrange an evening communion in the churchyard there. I imagine 6.30pm would be possible if you wish.
If you would like me to bring communion to your front door because you aren’t able to come to church, I do hope to be able to arrange this in the next week or so, but not by this Sunday I’m afraid.
12 weeks now, and we’re far from the end of the consequences of this awful disease, but some ways of being together again are starting to grow.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND:
- Phone 652788 on Saturday before 6pm – even if you have already said you want to come – and leave a message. Rod will phone you back with a time to arrive on Sunday.
- This will be a short service of communion, beginning with the Peace (distanced), so you will be asked to join in readings and prayers at home in preparation. These will be sent to everyone.
- There will be no service books but there isn’t much that you need to memorise!
- please bring a small piece of bread with you – small enough to eat in one mouthful – that you can hold in your hand for the consecration. Also, a small glass or plastic cup (not paper) that I can pour a sip of wine into safely from a bottle whilst you hold it.
After you have received the bread and wine, I will pour some water into your glass for you to swish round and then drink to consume all the sacrament.
You will need both hands to hold the bread and wine so, if it’s raining, please wear a hood but don’t bring an umbrella!
- You’ll be asked not to arrive more than 5 minutes before your time and to wait safely distanced in the car park area until you can see the communion area is clear of the previous congregation.
- There will be chairs and we found last time that it’s best if everyone sits – they are easy to clean.
- Those of the same household can be together, but otherwise 2 metres apart from everyone at all times.
- Children are very welcome of course, but families will be given their own time slot to keep more vulnerable people safe.
- Rod will pour wine and then water into your glass at arm’s length, but otherwise he won’t approach you. If you would like a blessing instead of communion, this will be by a raised hand at a distance.
Come to the communion area when Rod calls you and approach from the church direction, then at the end, leave in the other direction, away from the church.
Each service will take 15 minutes or less, and Rod will clean all chairs with alcohol gel between services.
- Anyone arriving who has not been given a space at that time will be asked to come back for a final service at the end of those with times already planned. No more than a total of 6 will be allowed at any time.
I’m sorry that this is far from the joyous gathering of the faithful that we would wish! But it worked well last Thursday, and it is a joy to be able to offer the sacrament again in a way that we can safely do so.