St Hilda’s to re-open

Following the PCC meeting on Monday 20th July it is been agreed that St Hilda’s will be open for worship on Sunday 26thJuly at 11am.

The church building has been set out to incorporate the guidance issued by HM Government, the Church of England’s Bishops and the Diocese of Manchester; to that end there are restrictions on seating as well as changes in a number of ways that the Mass will proceed.

For this to work, it is very important that we know if you intend to be at Mass on Sunday mornings and similarly who will be with you so that adjustments in the chairing system can be made and accommodate the needs of everyone, where possible.  We only have a limited number of seats and the number of people that can be safely welcomed depends on the groupings of people who wish to attend.  Each week, if you intend come to the Sunday Mass, you must  contact Carole East either by email  or a letter, not later than the Thursday evening of each week.  We do not want to turn anyone away but if you fail to inform us that you are coming and we cannot seat you safely, then, sadly, you will not be admitted.

Update – St Hilda’s is now registered for the NHS Test and Trace initiative. It is recommended that anyone intending to come to the Sunday Mass should load the app onto their mobile phone and use it to scan the QR code that has been displayed on the church door when they arrive – this will record their attendance and so they will automatically be contacted if the virus is detected in the congregation. Carole will continue the practice of taking details of all those who are unable to use the app and so will contact them herself if necessary.

Hand sanitation is paramount as is the need to maintain the 2 metre rule, People who live in the same household may sit together as may  those already in a ‘bubble’, as described by the government guidelines.  The chairs in church must not be moved under any circumstances as this could lead to cross contamination or/and compromise on the 2 metre rule.  

These are the key elements that involve the congregation and are non-negotiable:

  • Wearing Masks is compulsory.
  • Please do not congregate in the church porch or at either door.
  • On entering the church please maintain the 2 metre distancing.  There are yellow markers to help you do this.
  • Sanitise your hands.
  • You will be told which seat to sit in, based on availability.  Please stay in your seat except for receiving communion.
  • The service will be in the format of a weekday Mass but will include the essential elements of a Sunday Mass (Gloria, Creed etc.).
  • Service books will not be handed out.
  • There will be no singing.
  • Responses can be made but not shouted.
  • Immediately prior to communion the priest will elevate the host and say: ‘the Body of Christ’ and all reply at the same time ‘Amen’.
  • At the time of communion, please wait to be invited to move to the centre aisle.
  • Communion will be in one kind.
  • When asked, proceed down the centre aisle to receive communion keeping the 2 metres distancing.
  • The host will be silently ‘dropped’ into your hands; the host will not be placed onto your tongue.
  • Follow the arrows to return to your places
  • After the Blessing and Dismissal we will say the Angelus.
  • After the priest has left the Nave, please wait until you are invited to leave the building.  This is so that we can maintain the 2 metre distancing and keep everyone safe.

The Priests and PCC recognise that this is not an ideal way to return to St Hilda’s but our role in caring for your Spiritual well-being has to be balanced against the need to protect your physical health and safety and hence the need for changes to our normal practices.

Of course the good news is that we are back together in the building that means so much to all of us and though constrained in some ways, we are able to receive the sacrament and worship God as the family of St Hilda once again.

Please keep one another in your prayers.