A Letter from Reverend Rebecca regarding the restart of Church services

A LETTER FROM REVEREND REBECCA

Wednesday July 2nd 2020.

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these challenging times.

You may have heard that we can now once again begin services at St Cuthbert, and we will begin on Sunday 26th July at 11am with a said Holy Communion. There will also be a Holy Communion said service on Wednesday 29th July at 10.30. I will explain about the service on the day.

For the time being, we will not be holding the 8.30am BCP Holy Communion or the 6.30pm evening services. We need to start reopening very slowly with caution and care. This is the same for all three churches.

As you can well appreciate, things in church will not be as we all remember them, but we are following the Government and The Church of England guidelines to ensure our church is as safe as possible for people to come in.

I realise that following these guidelines and restrictions is going to be tough for all of us and it will take some adjusting to, that’s for sure. But I would encourage all of us not to give up after our first visit back to church, but to stick with it, and I say this to all of us, including clergy, readers, church wardens. This situation is going to be with us for many months to come and perhaps we need to remember why we actually come to church which is to worship God. And this we can still do.

So here are the bullet points:

1 If you, who are shielding, you must not come to church until your restrictions are lifted. If you are just feeling unsure about coming to church because you haven’t been out and about for many weeks, please do not feel under pressure to come to church on 26th.

More than anything I want to keep everyone safe and well, and if that means not coming back for a few more weeks, then so be it. If you are not planning to come back just at present, do let me know by phone or email so I know you are alright.

2. For those who are giving lifts to people, other than their own household, we strongly advise you to wear some kind of face covering and gloves. This is because there is very little space within the car environment for social distancing.

3. Once you arrive at church, you must use the hand sanitizer at the door and keep the 2 metres distance from others while waiting to use it. If you have your own sanitiser, then please use it before you come into church and safely by-pass the station.

4. When you enter the church, you will notice there is a one way system around the building to ensure we can keep the 2metres distance and to prevent us bumping into each other.

Certain pews have been cordoned off. We have measured everything out and we can accommodate three people to a pew. The pews to be used have a marker where to sit so as to keep a safe distance from the other people sitting on the pew. There will be books already on the pew. This becomes your book so please take it home and bring it back each week to use.

5. We have been advised not to have candles on the stand for people to light, at least for the next couple of months, again because of trying to keep down cross infection. At the beginning of the service, the paschal candle will be lit in church to represent all those candles we would all normally light, and a prayer will be offered.

There will not be a choir or any singing or any processions.

6. I know many of you have kept putting your monetary offering into your weekly envelopes. As you can appreciate there will be a large amount of envelopes to collect from folk, so can I encourage you to write a cheque for the amount rather than bringing envelopes containing cash.

Cheques need to be made out to St Cuthbert PCC.  As we have had very little money coming in since the lock down, your monetary offering will be very important for us to get back on our feet. So I thank you in advance.

7. Once the service has finished, please take your time in leaving church and be aware of others leaving so as to keep your distance. Please leave via the one way system.

After everyone has left, myself and/or the wardens, will wipe down any areas which have been touched, e.g. door handles, lectern etc.

Services  will be held as follows until the end of September when this will be reviewed:

 Sundays -  Common Worship Holy Communion and Morning Prayer on alternate weeks.

Wednesdays - Holy Communion at 10.30am

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone at St Cuthbert. To all those who have kept in touch with each other by phone, email, letter. To Keith Bond for sending weekly emails re BCP readings, and to Paul, Mike, Carol, Ann, Deb in the office, and George for getting the church ready for us to reopen.

I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again. Meanwhile, take care and keep safe.

Love and prayers.

Rebecca