The CofE has issued new guidance for churches to be enacted from 19th July. Although it is stressed that, while each church community might have different approaches depending on the size of buildings and the make-up of congregations etc, it is important to consider any changes in light of the whole community. The Church’s guidance states: The move to step 4 means we are being asked to take even more personal responsibility around coronavirus than when we were compelled to adhere to Government restrictions. With this in mind, we need to consider:
- The Nave altar has return to its original position and we shall use the High Altar.
- For the time being, the PCC have decided to return to receiving communion at the High Altar but we would stand to receive, and return ONLY via the Lady Chapel to the nave seating area. This removes congestion and protects the choir. This arrangement requires someone to stand at the steps to the platform to help form the single line and control the flow so that close queuing can be avoided.
- Communion will continue, for the moment, to be given in one kind and only the presiding priest will receive from the chalice. This situation will be reviewed in September of this year.
- Members of the congregation, who are unable to walk to the High Altar, will receive communion towards the end of the administration at the nave platform
- Booking-in is no longer required for the 11am Mass. However, to assist with Track & Trace, Carole East, the designated Covid Officer, will continue to make a note of those who attend all services; this will also include Funerals, Baptisms and any Weddings and ask any newcomers, where possible, for details.
- Social distancing – the church has almost returned to its pre Covid arrangement. The green stickers have been removed. However, cleaning after services will continue where appropriate, especially in the Lady Chapel after daily Mass and help to prepare for the following day. Please be aware that there may be others in church who might feel more comfortable maintaining social distancing at this early stage of easing restrictions. If you would prefer to sit alone, without the possibility of another sitting with you, then place a red cross, available on the table as you enter the church, on the seats next to you to prevent any misunderstanding. Should we see someone with red crosses on the seats either side of them, we need to respect their wishes and not sit there.
- Masks are no longer a legal requirement. That said, some may wish to wear them in these challenging times. Some remain extremely vulnerable, others uncertain, and others still who will want to feel safe with a system that has worked for them. So, in the interim at least, we would ask that you consider continuing to wear a mask to assist in protecting others, especially as the infection rate in our area and throughout Greater Manchester continues to rise at an alarming rate.
- Sanitising your hands in church. Bottles of sanitiser will remain available in church should you wish to use them. Again it is no longer an expected that everyone will sanitise their hands before receiving communion: however, the clergy will continue to do so before distributing communion and you may wish to do the same.
- Singing is back at last! Our choir will return as well as our organist( and this will make such a difference to our worship. Congregational singing will resume, but we would encourage people to consider wearing masks when singing to help keep each other as safe as possible.
- Hymn and Mass Books will be available and these can be collected from the table rather than from Sidespeople who will be wearing gloves, again to reduce the possibility of infection.
- Sharing of the Peace will also return but as an individual’s personal choice as it always has been. Not everyone will wish to do this and may simply say ‘peace be with you’ or even smile and nod. We will not be waving!
- Refreshments after the service may resume in September.
- The clergy, for the time being, will not be shaking hands, to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.
Please note that everything above is subject to change. Should any further government/church guidance emerge, notice will be given – but we hope not!
Changes following the new guidance on restrictions on the 19th July.
The Daily Mass
We shall return to the pattern of worship that was welcomed and appreciated prior to lockdown. These will not begin until Monday 26th July. Services times are:
Monday at 11.30am
Tuesday immediately following anointing and blessings at 9.40am
Wednesday at 6.30pm
Friday at 9.15am
Saturday at 9am – NB 31st July, Mass will be at 8.30am
All of these services will take place in the Lady Chapel. This has a much smaller capacity than the nave but everything above applies in this location as well.