The Beaminster Area Team
From The Hub Covid – 19 Weekly Update Friday 26th June 2020
This week has been frantic with trying to work out how and which Churches can be opened for worship. The new Government guidelines for churches did not come out to us until Wednesday lunchtime and the most significant work has been writing new and extensive risk assessments in preparation. You will receive the letter that Bishop Nicholas sent out which will give you various links to any documents you like to look at.
I am very much using this Sunday as a test to look at how we can maintain the safety of those returning to worship, which is a central feature of the guidelines by maintaining a strict two metre spacing between seating. As you can imagine, in some of our smaller churches this reduces the capacity significantly and may make worship nonviable for the time being. I have asked four churches to work with Jo and me – a mix of large, medium, and smaller buildings – to see how this works out. There will be services this Sunday as follows:
08:00 BCP Eucharist
09:30 CW Eucharist
11:00 – 12:00 Open for private prayer
11:00 BCP Eucharist
09:30 BCP Eucharist
11:00 Morning Worship
There will be limited numbers of seats available, especially in the smaller churches, but I would think there will be seats available at 8:00am in Beaminster.
I will be continuing to work with church wardens and key people over the next few days to assess which churches may be able to hold services next week and beyond. This will also be based on what staffing I have available to me, which in reality for July and August, will be three or four at very best. I am now receiving requests for booked weddings to begin taking place and I again will be working closely with you all to see how this can be facilitated. I have also been asked to hold a funeral service in Beaminster in two weeks’ time and I am grateful to Simon Wakely for his full cooperation at this early stage in looking at how he and his team can support the required stewarding and clean down guidelines that will have to be followed.
I know that this is a testing and nervy time for us all but again, I thank you all for your help and support in what are challenges for us all.
Our online worship this week is led by people from all over Lyme Bay Deanery and focuses on our deanery links with the Diocese of Wonduruba in South Sudan. It will be available on our Worship at Home page from 13:00 on Saturday.
In Bishop Nick’s letter he announces a Diocesan appeal to support those living in Sudan and South Sudan, focusing on providing soap and food to those in need. It is hard to imagine facing a global pandemic whilst also facing starvation and potential violence. If you would like to donate to the appeal please go to the Just Giving page https://bit.ly/sudansemergency
Bishop Matthew Peter, from the Diocese of Wonduruba, is in contact with David via email although communication has been quiet whilst they face Covid19. All he ever asks of us is to pray. Please keep the Sudans and particularly the Diocese of Wonduruba in your prayers.
You will have seen that we have a phased return to church worship beginning this week. Online services will continue but our Sunday morning Zoom coffee has had to end. However, I wonder whether we could create a social coffee morning on a midweek instead, perhaps Wednesday? Let me know what you think?
I have written a what to expect document for those who intend to return to church. There is no doubt that it will feel different being back in church under the strict and essential hygiene guidelines. Do please read it if you are thinking of coming to a service on Sunday.
With every blessing
Congregation guidelines for return to worship Beaminster Team July 2020
Church will look and feel different. The changes are to comply with government and Church of England guidelines. These guidelines are designed to keep us all safe when gathered for worship.
Please do not come to church if you have a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or loss of or change to sense of smell or taste. This is to minimise risk of spread of COVID-19 to friends, the wider community, and particularly the vulnerable. If you have symptoms you need to self-isolate.
You may need to queue to get into church. Please observe two metre social distancing in the queue. When you attend worship in any of the churches in the Beaminster Area Team your name and phone number (if we don’t already have it) will be recorded and kept safely for three weeks in order to provide details for track and trace if needed.
As you come into church you will need to sanitise your hands. We will provide hand sanitiser. You may wear a mask if you would like, it is not mandatory. Doors and windows will be open so it may be chilly or draughty, please dress accordingly.
You will be directed to a seat. Please go to the seat directed even it is not your usual seat or preferred place in church. Do not move the seats or signs on pews. In some churches you may be able to sit close to other family members from the same household. This may not be possible in all churches.
A service book will be left for you on your seat. Books must be left behind on the chair after worship.
Please remain seated throughout worship. Communion will be brought to you in your seat if you wish to receive it. It will be in one kind only. No words of administration will be used. If you would like to receive please extend your hand to receive the bread.
There will be no singing or loud responses. You are encouraged to join in congregational responses in a quiet voice. We will not be able to share the peace with each other.
Cash donations may be made in the plate at the back of church. We would encourage you to sign up to direct giving via your bank account if you don’t already.
At the end of the service you will be directed to leave church a row or pew at a time. You will be asked to sanitise your hands as you leave. Most churches will have a one-way system and you will leave through a different door.
Please do not gather for chat outside church or wait for friends. We need to disperse quickly, particularly in a church where there may be another service and cleaning needs to take place.
Only one person may be in the lift at Beaminster at a time.
If you would prefer not to attend worship at this time, we still have worship available online via our website, www.beaminsterteamchurches.org
Thank you so much for complying with these guidelines and keeping 2 metres apart from each other, by doing so we are helping to keep each other as safe as possible.