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Coronavirus Information Updates and Information - updated 14th July 2020

Latest COVID-19 Risk Assessment click here

Vicar’s Letter – 14th July 2020

At our meeting last night, myself and the PCC had lengthy discussions about when St Mary’s should reopen for public worship.    At the centre of these discussions was everyone’s safety as this is and continues to be, the most important consideration.

In the light of all this, the PCC and I have decided that St Mary’s will reopen for public worship on Sunday 2nd August at 10.30am.  The first midweek worship will be on Wednesday 5th August at 10.00am.

However, it is important to realise that not everyone will be able to attend on the Sunday, as in maintaining social distancing, we only have at the maximum 14 pews available.  Each pew can only contain a family, a bubble or a single person.  This distancing is important to keep everyone safe and so what I am going to ask is, that if you are able to come to the Wednesday service then please do so.  This then enables those who work to attend on the Sunday.  The Wednesday and Sunday Services will be similar in content. At this point, I don’t  know how many will attend each service, so at this point in time I ask that you attend on only one of the two option available each week.

Part of the reason for delaying the opening of St Mary’s until August is the ongoing success of the Private Prayer sessions on Mondays and Thursdays.  As the prayer sessions have gone on, there have been between 8-12 people attending each session with some of our regulars having  come to prayer as their first venture outside since the lockdown.  We feel it is important that we give sufficient time for you to feel confident in coming out to church and so another two weeks of private prayer sessions will give others an opportunity to come should they so wish.

A comprehensive risk assessment has been carried out and agreed by the PCC and a copy of this will be displayed on our web site.  Should you wish a copy to be emailed to you then I am happy to do so and I can also provide you with your own paper version.

Those who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions should follow the current Government guidelines for going outside.  If you have any symptoms of COVID or you are self-isolating through coming into contact with someone who has, then please do not come to church.  It is a Government requirement that I record the name and telephone number of everyone who attend services for track and trace purposes.  These will be destroyed after 21 days and will be used for no other purpose as we take our Data Protection responsibilities very seriously.

It is also important to realise that Church will be very different to how you and I know it at least in the short term.

Things to note:

·      Services will continue to be streamed live at the same time as we are in church.
·      The Church will not be open until 10.15am so please do not arrive before then.
·      Please keep 2m distance when waiting to enter church – there will be someone on duty to ensure this happens.
·      On entry into church you will be asked to sanitise your hands –  someone will be there to help you.  They will also record your name and telephone number for track and trace purposes.
·      You will be asked to sit in a pew with a green tick and stay in that pew throughout the entire service.
·      Please dress warmly as the church doors have to remain open.  There are no pew runners or kneelers in church.  You may bring a cushion if you so wish as long as you are the only one handling it.
·      By all means nod to another person in another pew but do not shout across the pews as this increases the risk of possible infection and please do not make physical contact with any other person for the same reason.
·      At 10.26 Jason will play a piece of music to settle everyone down and to allow our live streaming to begin – those people at home then have four minutes to sign into the service whilst the music is playing.
·      There will be no service sheets – all words will be on a screen for you to see.  When we say the responses, the Gloria, the Creed and the Lord’s prayer please use a normal voice do not shout.
·      There will be no singing at all therefore no hymns.  Please do not sing or hum along to Jason’s music.
·      Holy Communion will be offered in one kind only (bread) and will be handled only by myself and I will at all times use a sterile glove and will wear a mask during distribution.  During this time you will be required to remain in your seats and I will come to you to distribute communion as this seems the safest option to have one person moving rather than everyone coming up to me.  It is entirely your choice whether you receive but I ask that if you do so please hold your hands out flat and do not grasp or touch my hand in any way – should this happen accidentally then please bear with me as I will have to go and change my gloves before administering to the next person.
·      Jason will play throughout this time.
·      At the end of the Service, there will be no tea and coffee and I ask you please not to congregate outside church or on the path – if you wish to talk to someone please keep 2m apart and keep the path clear so that those who wish to leave can do so safely.
·      Please stay in your seats and a duty person will ask each row at a time to leave starting at the back so that they can sanitise their hands and leave before the next row can move.
·      Jason will keep you entertained during this time.  Please remember during the final piece of music the service is still being streamed live to those at home.

I know this seems overly complicated on paper – it will be much smoother in real life providing we all do as we are asked.  It is only by working together that we can make this happen and keep each other safe.

Just one word about Masks – you are of course welcome to wear a mask and at the minute it is your choice but after the Government’s announcement last night it may be compulsory but I will keep you updated.  We do have a box of masks  in church!

Our Service on 19th July will be exactly the same as it has been but on Sunday 26th July it will be streamed in the new format without hymns etc so that you can appreciate the changes that will take place when we open on the 2nd August.

Lastly I look forward to seeing you when you feel ready to take your first step into the new normal.  Again if you need anything then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sharon
Vicar

Upcoming Events

For more see the Services page

August 2020

Sun 9 August

10:30 am – 11:15 am
LIVE and streamed Said Holy Communion

Mon 10 August

9:00 am – 9:20 am
Streamed Morning Prayer

Sun 16 August

10:30 am – 11:15 am
LIVE and streamed Said Holy Communion

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Safeguarding – Promoting a Safer Church

The care and protection of children, young people and adults involved in Church activities is the responsibility of everyone who participates in the life of the Church. St Mary’s Church, Woodkirk has adopted the Church of England Safeguarding Policy from the House of Bishops.

A copy of the Promoting a Safer Church booklet is displayed on the notice board in the church porch as well as in the Parish Centre, and can be seen by clicking here.

If you have immediate safeguarding concerns please click here for the relevant contact information.

Please click here to see our policy and other safeguarding information.