Reopening of Christ Church for worship
Following the Government and Church of England guidelines and having completed the necessary risk assessments, Christ Church will reopen for Mass at 10am on Sunday 5th July, albeit with restrictions in place along the same lines as those in the retail / hospitality sector.
Alcohol hand sanitiser must be used on entry and exit and there is a one way system in place.
Entrance to Christ Church will be via the South West porch door and the exit will be via the South door adjacent to the Lady Chapel and the organ. (if you are cannot manage steps and need to use the ramp then please remain in your pew until others have left and then exit via the way you came in)
Social distancing rules must be followed at all times, keeping at least 2m or 6'6" between one another.
There is tape on the floor to help with this and the number of pews in use is restricted.
There is no requirement to wear face coverings, but if people wish to do so they may.
(The 2m distancing rules do not require masks to be worn, but if the 1m+ rules were in place then face coverings would be mandatory)
On arrival at Christ Church add your name and a contact number to the attendance sheet for the purposes of the NHS Test and Trace scheme. Please bring your own pen, but there will be pencils available if you forget, which you will then have to keep.
(This may be done electronically by using the QR code which will be provided. If you have a smartphone then open the camera app and point it at the QR code which will open the appropriate Test and Trace section of the church website to record your name, contact number and the date and time that you attended Mass.)
Please take one of the Mass booklets and then immediately make your way to a pew. It is important that people do not congregate in any areas.
Unfortunately you will not be able to sit in your usual place - you will need to use pews from the front first.
In order to maintain social distancing, the number of people who can sit on each pew will depend on whether you are coming to church on your own or with a household group.
If you are on your own then it only possible to have 2 people per pew in order to keep the 2 metre rules.
However household groups can sit together so there would be a couple and their two children at one end of the pew and then either a single person at the other end, or another household group.
Please be mindful of not touching anything you don't need to - the pews and other surfaces will be cleaned after Mass.
The following changes will be made to the Sunday Mass:
There will be no singing at any point by anyone including the priest.
You must take home the printed service sheet.
Communion will be in one kind (i.e. only offered in the form of the Eucharistic bread and not the chalice). You are asked to queue for communion keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from the next person, following the floor markings.
There will be no refreshments at the end of Mass.
After Mass the congregation are asked to leave via the South door adjacent to the Lady Chapel and the organ. This will be done in the order that people entered church, ie those who are in the front pews will need to leave first.
The following changes will be made to weekday Masses:
The weekday Mass will take place at the high altar and those attending will sit in the nave, filling up pews from the front to the back.
Who should and should not attend services at Christ Church?
Those who are particularly vulnerable and who have been advised to shield should continue to follow government advice about restricting their contacts and should not attend public worship at the moment.
Those showing any of the symptoms of Covid-19 may not attend public worship.
Government and church advice emphasises that it is a matter of personal conscience for each person to decide whether or not to resume attendance at church.
Those over the age of 70 and those in vulnerable categories will want to way up the risks in a way that is appropriate to their circumstances.
We would advise people only to do what they feel comfortable with.
One particular suggestion made by the Church of England is that individuals over the age of 70 who are anxious about returning to worship at services with large numbers of people may wish to think about coming to Mass when there will be substantially fewer people present - so attendance at a weekday Mass instead of a Sunday may be more appropriate.
There are a number of parts of the building to which access will be restricted, to reduce the areas that need to be cleaned.
For the time being the Chancel, Lady Chapel, Office and Sacristy will be 'out of bounds' as these are the areas which Fr John alone needs to access and if only he uses these areas they do not need to be cleaned.
As part of the risk assessment, outside of the times of worship, no one other than Fr John may enter Christ Church, for the time being. If multiple people are coming in and out of church at will and at different times cleaning becomes impossible as we do not know which surfaces may have been contaminated and the possibility of transmission of the virus is greatly increased.
Worship is likely to feel different as we come to terms with the new normal...
I appreciate that a number of parishioners will not be able to attend worship initially as they may be shielding or not be able to physically get to church as they rely on lifts from others outside their households (which is currently not permitted), or understandably are not willing to use taxis at this time.
Live-streaming of worship will continue via Facebook and Youtube.
This week, Mass will be celebrated at 10am on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
To make a donation to Christ Church via justgiving please click here or the logo.
With every blessing as we go forward in faith together,
Fr John Stather SSC
Vicar of Goldenhill & Tunstall
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