I’m very pleased to tell you that the first service at St Mary’s since 17th March will be a Parish Eucharist at 10 am on Sunday 23rd August. The Parish Eucharist will then be celebrated at 10 am every Sunday for as long as this is supported by government or Church of England advice, and for as long as our assessment of the public health context makes it appropriate for us to gather for worship.
We will continue to broadcast our services and to make many other resources available online for reasons of accessibility. After 23rd August you will therefore be able to watch the Parish Eucharist celebrated at St Mary’s on our Sunday service playlist on YouTube, rather than seeing Morning Prayer from the vicarage.
What to expect at the Parish Eucharist
If you wish to come to the Parish Eucharist, it will be important for you to be aware of the measures we are taking to ensure you and other worshippers are as safe as possible. If you wish to attend a service:
If you have experienced any symptoms of Covid-19, or have been exposed to Covid-19, please do not enter the church building. Instead, return home, self-isolate and contact NHS test and trace if you develop symptoms.
If you have been advised to shield by the NHS, or are otherwise clinically vulnerable due to your age or a prior medical condition, then you may prefer not to enter the church building.
Before the Sunday when you wish to attend a service, please email email@example.com, so that we can ensure we do not exceed our maximum seating capacity. This has been reduced to maintain social distancing of 2 metres between individuals or households.
Please allow us to register your name and contact details if attending in order to support NHS test and trace, in the event that someone attending a service later tests positive for Covid-19. We will only store your data for this purpose, and it will be destroyed after 21 days.
When you arrive at church for a service:
We hope that children and young people will continue to attend our services. If you have young children with you, please ensure they remain sitting with you. At present, it is not possible for us to offer a creche or to use the children’s corner. Crayons and colouring sheets will be available for young children to use in their seats.
Please pay attention to all posters and notices.
St Mary’s will be open from 9:45 am. Please enter the church building by the south door.
If you are able to, please wear a face covering inside the church building. We do not expect young children or those with conditions that make it difficult to do so to wear face masks. A supply of disposable masks will be available, as will cotton masks which are available for a suggested minimum donation of £4.
Please sanitise your hands before entering and leaving the church building, and before and after receiving Holy Communion.
Please take an order of service when you enter the church building, and take it away with you after the service.
Please observe 2 metres social distancing inside the church building.
Please follow the one way system inside the church building.
Please follow the directions of the churchwardens, sidesmen and ministers.
Please join in with our service quietly enough that you can hear others sitting near you, or pray the same words as them silently.
The service will consist of words and instrumental music, but at present it is not possible for any chanting or singing to occur in church.
The WC will be available for you to use.
At present, refreshments cannot be served after the service.
Please wait until you have left the church building before socialising with other members of the congregation in a socially distanced manner.
Receiving Holy Communion
You will be given instructions about how to safely receive Holy Communion during the service. We hope that anyone who has been prepared to receive Holy Communion in the Church of England or any other Christian church will feel welcome to receive the sacrament at St Mary’s.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church of England has decided that only the president will receive wine at Holy Communion. This is to reduce the risk of infection. Though the sharing of both bread and wine is normally an important part of Holy Communion, and together they share an important symbolism, Christians have always believed that the bread or wine alone can convey the full benefits of the sacrament.