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Information about returning to Sunday Worship in St Marys’ Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
As you know, we are returning to worship in St Marys’ Church from Sunday 4th July.  I hope this email helps by giving some information about how things will work.Arriving
After Sunday 4th July you will not need to book, and we will simply take contact details for visitors.  If we need to action Track and Trace , we will contact everyone on the Electoral Roll alerting you to the details of the service where possible contact may have occurred.
Please arrive in good time to be seated.
As you arrive, you can collect an order of service and use hand sanitiser.  Masks are still required in the church building, but please do let us know if you have a medical exemption

Keeping each other safe
In all we do, we show loving concern for the safety and comfort of others.
You will be guided to seats, filling up from the front.  Please do follow advice – we may not be able to sit in our “usual” pew!  Under the “Rule of 6”, people from different households can sit in the same pew.  Our welcomers will check with you, and if you are more comfortable sitting separately, will guide you to the pews off the ambulatories.
We are also asked not to “mingle” inside the church building.  That’s hard, because we are so used to sociable chats before we start.  But we can enjoy catching up outside afterwards, weather allowing.

Sharing prayers
Continuing our practice of sharing prayers, you are invited to bring a brief note of prayer(s) you would like to share, and to put them in a a basket as you arrive.  The prayers will then be taken to the altar during the service, and prayed on behalf of the congregation by the person leading the intercessions.  Please make your prayers short and legible (imagine they are “chat prayers”)!

Live streaming and recording
Our aim is to live-stream the 10am Sunday Service, and then to share the recording on YouTube.  People who are leading and reading will be “on camera”.  Otherwise, members of the congregation will only be on camera when they come forward to receive communion.  Please let us know if you would prefer not to come forward and we can come to you.

Receiving Holy Communion
We currently receive Holy Communion at the Sanctuary step, and in “one kind” – that is, just the bread.  The President consumes the wine on behalf of the congregation.  People have asked if we could have small glasses following the practice, for example, of the Baptist Church.  Anglicans hold to the importance of sharing from the “One Cup”.  Other options have been discussed by the Church of England, but are not currently authorised.

We are grateful to have a small choir on Sunday 4th July.  Sadly we are not allowed congregational singing, but we will continue to share music and hymns through our services.  Weather allowing, we are also hoping to sing the final hymn together outside.
As we leave …
People sitting in the central pews are invited to leave via the West door.  People in ambulatory pews are invited to leave by the side doors at the West End, but please let me know if you have mobility problems and prefer to use the West Door.

Being comfortable
The loo will be open, with access via the South-East door to avoid a log-jam in the vestry!

Collection plate
The Collection Plate will be at the West Entrance for donations, which will be taken to the altar during the service.  There is also the contactless card machine at the door for donations.

Note about serving tea and coffee after church
At present, this is NOT practical for us. The kitchen is too small for appropriate social distancing.  If inside, people are required to sit at a table to consume the drink – and, if outside, we are allowed a maximum of 30 people only.

Sticking to the rules
We give thanks for the success and speed of the vaccination programme which has undoubtedly saved many lives, but it remains essential that we do all we can to protect each other as Christians called to love our neighbour.  In this, we also exercise loving concern for frontline NHS staff, where pressures remain extreme.  As we become more confident of the personal protection provided by being “double jabbed”, we are mindful that some people are still clinically extremely vulnerable, even when vaccinated, and need to be cautious.  We are called to be careful – literally full of care – and never careless.

I do hope this is helpful.

With love and prayers for this next stage of our journey together..
Yours in Christ, Poppy


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