“The responsibility for making decisions about how to proceed lies with the incumbent. This applies to acts of worship, to events run by the PCC or church community, and to decisions on whether to hire out spaces or allow other events to proceed.”
Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27). After listening to the hopes and concerns of many members of the congregation since we have returned to public worship, and following careful consideration with the PCC Standing Committee the following, cautious steps have been agreed in response to the lifting of covid restrictions on the 19th July:
- Booking-in: The government is asking that venues do continue to ask people to register for venue check in (the QR code) as it will continue to form one of the main ways of them identifying people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. We will be keeping a register in the same way as recent months. Please continue to book-in to make this easier.
- Face coverings: Although it is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the government has stated that it “expects and recommends” that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others. We ask that you continue to wear your face covering, over your mouth and nose, as you move around the church and when singing, as a minimum.
- Social Distancing: We are continuing to leave alternate pews closed and ask that you respect others wishes to maintain social distance, even if this does not feel important to you at this time. Markers are available for you to put on the seat beside you if you would like to show your wish to maintain social distance in the pews.
- Singing: All kinds of singing are allowed in churches, including congregational singing. However, some activities can also increase the risk of catching or passing on coronavirus. The risk is greatest where these activities take place when people are in close contact with others indoors, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces. Precautions to reduce transmission of the virus can include improving ventilation, using a larger space, shortening the duration of activity, and wearing face coverings. You are welcome to sing at St Richard’s, however, we ask the following: you wear your face covering over both your mouth and nose, and observe the directions given on social distancing. The congregation are invited to sing a short introit hymn, the Mass setting, and the recessional hymn (this will continue outside for the time being).
- Holy Communion: The common cup may now be shared, but the Bishops wish to make clear that, given continued potential risks to health, it remains permissible for the president to be the only person who receives Holy Communion in the form of wine. We will not be returning to the common cup at this time.
- The Peace: We ask that you only share the peace with those in your immediate vicinity and remember that this does not have to include touch of any kind.
These arrangements will be reviewed regularly, and changes will be made to increase or limit activity in the church as guided by the government, Church of England guidance and local rate of infection.
Please do speak with Mthr Lucy if you have any concerns or questions about the arrangements outlined above, or any areas not mentioned at this time. Tel: 01243 941 551.
“But in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3