As you will be aware, from the 19 July the majority of the legal restrictions in place to safeguard us from COVID 19 have been removed. In place of restrictions comes a responsibility on individuals with regard to our own safety, and that of those whom we have contact with.

The PCC, Clergy, and Wardens have considered the way forward beyond this date. In doing so there has needed to be a balance between those who are enthusiastically yearning for a normal worship service, and also those who are feeling more apprehensive about returning to church. The approach is proportionate and recognises that we want to get back to normal as soon as possible, but are not yet out of the pandemic.

With this in mind the following changes to our worship are below:

10:30am Church Layout – For those who may feel a bit more concerned about returning there will be the option to sit in the back row of the church where we will maintain social distancing. Those wishing to be on this row should email the office in advance. If you have not emailed in advance then please ask the Sides team if it is possible to sit in one of these sections.

Mask Wearing and Singing – Though government restrictions are lifted in regard to mask wearing, we still think that it is for the best for us as a community if we continue to wear our masks. This will help those who may be more apprehensive about returning in particular, and is a good way to demonstrate our love for one another. This means that we will be encouraging anyone attending our 10:30am service to wear a mask throughout the service except where you are involved in the service, or if consuming refreshments at the end.

However, it is delightful that we are now all able to sing again and many of us will be looking forward to worshipping God in this way. We will have our masks on, but we hope this will still encourage us to get back to singing out our praises to God.

Holy Communion – In the short term we will not go back to the shared cup as the risk of infection is greater with this, however, we will change from the bread being brought to your seat, to the congregation queuing to receive.

We have now restarted our children’s groups and they are split into Crèche, Reception – Year 3, Year4 – Year 6 and Youth Church.

Other Mitigations – We will maintain our provision of hand sanitiser and would encourage all attending to use this on entry and other times as appropriate.

Though people are not obliged to check in to venues using the App, we would encourage people to use this on arrival.

We will also continue to leave doors and windows open wherever possible.

I hope that this reassures you that we are doing all we can to return to normal whilst also being safe. However, if you do have any question or concerns then please do get in touch with either myself, or one of our Church Wardens.

Yours in Christ,Paul

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