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Preparing to gather again

10 July 2020 08:12

Since the Government announced that Churches could begin to meet again (with restrictions), I've spent time praying, thinking, listening and discussing what that can mean for us as a Church family for this next stage.

I want to ensure that we provide safe opportunities for those who would like to gather as well as continue online for those who don't yet feel they can.

So, what follows is an initial attempt to include everyone in the worshipping life of our Church - and it can (and probably will need to) adapt, so it's not set in stone!

The refurbishment of Wick Hall will hopefully be finished by the end of this month, allowing us a far bigger space to spread out for services. At its recent meeting, the PCC agreed that August would make a good starting point for some meetings.

However, even before then, if homegroups would like to make use of either the church or the small hall then that will be fine as long as you follow the guidance which I can share with you. The homegroup leader/co-ordinator would just need to contact me to check on the time and availability.

Then, from the first full week of August, we will restart the Communion service in All Saints on Wednesday mornings (9.30am), and aim to offer a Sunday morning service in the hall from the 9th August.

Both of these services will:

  • Be streamed online as well (front only, no faces!) to watch live or later.
  • Follow all the government legislation on social distancing, cleaning etc.
  • (Initially at least) you will need to register (for in-person) so that we can keep below our maximum number. You'll be able to register for the in-person services both online and over the phone. That also means we abide by the rule to be able to contact people if anyone subsequently reports symptoms. Click here to register.

The content of the service is limited by the current situation, so we can have recorded music (but no singing), communion bread (but not wine - I've asked and got a stern "no" for separate cups!), we can have readings, sermon, prayers (but not refreshments) and are asked to keep to a reasonably short time. But for those who would like to, it will be a chance to see people and to join in worship, in-person, again.

In addition to streaming the Sunday and Wednesday services, we will continue the other online services and meetings as well. I’m also looking into further good ideas and suggestions.

A number of people have asked about doing things outdoors and I think this could work well, but at the moment the law hasn't changed to allow outdoor gatherings of more than six people. As soon as this does, we can look at that as an additional option, including family/all-age services in the vicarage garden!

I know it's not everything that we would like to do and that we are all in different situations.

However, this will give us opportunities to meet as and when we feel able to as well as giving a sense that we're all included and praying together for ourselves and for the world.

Tom Robson