Please read the following guidelines through very carefully, as compliance by all of us is essential for our safety and well-being.
We can assure you that the highest standards of hygiene and social distancing are being adhered to. The Chaplaincy Council has collective responsibility for this, and the Chaplain and Churchwardens are overseeing procedures and enlisting additional help as required.
All surfaces that you are likely to touch will have been disinfected before each use of the building, including outside railings, door handles and the rail at the high altar. After each use, the church building will be aired and disinfected.
Social distancing requires us to maintain a minimum distance between us of two metres, except in the case of anyone you share a home with.
If you feel ill or have a temperature of 38º or more, or if you have been in contact within the last 14 days with someone who has the Coronavirus, please do not come to church. This is vital for you and for others you may come into contact with.
Before coming to Church
- Bring a face mask that will cover your nose and mouth.
- Carry your own small bottle of hand sanitizer.
- Carry your own handkerchief or tissues in order to catch coughs or sneezes, and take these away with you after visiting church.
- Please bring a pen in case you need to write anything or sign up for something.
- Arrive in good time so that entry into church can be unhurried and with care. (Please note that the doors will be locked until 10:30 for final preparations.)
While at Church
- The toilets can be used, but remember that they are public. Wash your hands and dry them on the paper towels provided. Use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution.
- Before entering the building, place your face mask over your nose and mouth. It is recommended that masks are worn for the duration of the service. (If you have forgotten or lost your mask, please purchase one at the church entrance.)
- Upon arrival at church, please use the hand sanitizer provided to thoroughly clean your hands.
- Try as far as possible not to touch any surfaces unnecessarily, including tables and door handles. Weather permitting, access doors will already be open so that you do not need to touch them.
- A Churchwarden or Welcomer will greet you on entry to the church, but there must be no physical contact. Please treat any instructions given to you as being necessary for your safety and that of others.
- Financial offerings should be placed on the plate at the entrance to the church, as no collection will be taken during the service. An offertory prayer will still be said as usual. (Please note that online giving or bank direct debit is preferable and will help to minimize the risk of infection to those who have to count cash.)
- Please sit in one of the areas marked by the availability of a service booklet and hymn book. These are specially arranged so as to meet the requirement of social distancing, but you may sit with anyone you share a home with.
- Quiet singing while wearing a mask is now allowed.
- Those using the lectern or pulpit should be careful not to touch any surface as far as possible. Sanitize your hands when returning from the lectern or pulpit.
- At the Peace, everyone will remain in their allocated space and simply communicate a sign of peace to those around them, such as a nod or a smile.
- The priest will sanitize his hands before handling the Communion elements. Both elements for Holy Communion will be consecrated and will remain covered throughout the Eucharistic Prayer. Only the bread will be distributed to the congregation, while the presiding priest alone will consume the wine on behalf of the people. (It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements.)
- At the distribution of Communion, congregation members must wear their masks. The priest will bring the wafer to you. He will wear a mask and will speak no words since a general prayer will have been said before the distribution. Raise your hands to receive the bread. When the priest has moved away you may remove your mask to consume the bread. If you wish to receive a blessing rather than Communion, keep your hands down and bow your head. The priest will then offer a blessing using speech but no physical touch.
- If you feel ill at any time during the service and need to leave the building, please tell a Churchwarden or Welcomer on your way out so that we can be aware of the situation and provide assistance as necessary.
- No one should enter the two vestries, apart from the Clergy and the Churchwardens. The Church Office, where the clergy work throughout the week, is out of bounds to anyone other than the clergy so they can be certain that no one else could have touched anything.
When leaving Church
- Before getting up from your seat to leave church, please remember to keep wearing your face mask. Remember to maintain the two-metre social distancing and do not form a crowd either in the nave aisle or at the church entrance.
- As you leave the building be sure to sanitize your hands again.
- The clergy will be available outside the building, but remember to maintain the two-metre distance and continue to wear a mask.
- It is not possible to gather socially after the service. If you do chat to people outside the church building in the church grounds, please maintain the two metre social distance and avoid more than a brief exchange or forming groups.
- Those responsible for dealing with the collection must sanitize their hands before and after handling cash.
- The building will be left open to air until it is necessary to lock up, but please do not return to the church unnecessarily.
VF/30 March 2021; updated 13th July 2021