From The Hub Covid-19 Weekly update #9 Wednesday 13th May 2020
Dear Friends, this week’s update comes a couple of days early so that I can share with you the adjustments to the national guidelines in light of the Prime Minister’s Statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. Firstly, and most importantly, our Churches remain closed for public worship including funeral, wedding and baptism services.
Much has been made of the announcement that Clergy can now go into churches to say the offices alone, but after consultation with my staff team we are one in believing that it is wrong that we should enter the building and lock the door thus barring others from joining us and we understand that the Holy Spirit is with us all wherever we invoke her in the name of the Lord. The same understanding is applied to ringing the bell to call people to worship when they cannot enter the building. I believe that the best way we as Christians can support our Key Workers on a Thursday evening is to be out on the streets and lanes clapping and cheering with everyone else.
Whilst we are not yet at the point when we will be using our church buildings, there is a six page document for incumbents on the national church website (www.churchofengland.org/) on how we should prepare, when the time is right, for a safe return into our buildings. This is based on government directives and in due course I will ensure that all Churchwardens and Key Parish people receive a copy, which I am sure will be amended by the time we are ready to reopen. The key points at this time are:
- Access to the building is for the Incumbent only and the key person that I have delegated on my behalf. (I am aware that some of our churches allow others in and this is not to be encouraged and should cease unless agreed with me).
- All churches should put in place a register to record who has been allowed in the church. Alongside the register there must be a bottle of hand sanitizer for use on entry and exit and the person must take their own pen to fill in the register, which must be cleaned after use. It will also allow a record to be kept of who the last person was in the church in case of any incident that may occur. Please could Churchwardens ensure that this is put in place?
- Any person entering the church must clean every surface they touch in line with Public Health England guidance.
- The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers guidance is that the suspension of all ringing of any kind should remain in place.
- Changing of flags should not be undertaken as it does not justify the risk of a lone person climbing the tower and going out onto the roof. If this can be done from ground level and alone it may continue.
- It is important that before we reopen our buildings, we check the buildings for cleanliness due to a buildup of dust and possible bat droppings and other animal waste, which will need a thorough clean up.
- Before any future use of water taps they will need to be run for at least 5 minutes to ensure that the system has been thoroughly flushed through to reduce the risk of legionella and Weil’s disease.
I know that we all miss gathering as a community of faith to worship and enjoy social times together and we all wonder what the future will hold for us once we return. Whilst I do not have a crystal ball to tell me, I do sense that we will have to explore new ways of being a Christian Community and which we will have to take seriously. A return to where we were in every aspect should not be taken for granted. I base this on the number of engagements we are having with people through other platforms who are joining in with prayer and spirituality for the first time. I have asked Jo to share some of this information and to update you with the thoughts of the Staff Team on worship going forward.
I assure you of my continued prayers and thoughts for the coming week.
Thank you for the comments we have received about our online worship and social media. Please do keep telling us what you like and what you would like to see in the future.
Weekly sheet for those without internet. New this week is a sheet you can print out and deliver to any neighbours who can’t access the internet. Please do consider printing a couple and popping them, safely, through their door. Let us know if you have any feedback from these.
Subtitles. If you are struggling to hear any of our recordings which are shown through our website on YouTube – then please click the subtitles button on the YouTube playback. They are not 100% accurate but may be of some use to you.
Worship at Home. We are trying to make our worship at home videos even more relevant, worshipful, and stimulating. We are endeavouring to find our voice and style as we gain experience and confidence. Let us know what you enjoy and what you would like to see. We will continue to record at home as that enables us to provide a better visual and sound quality than recording in church. Check each week for a new worship at home video. https://beaminsterteamchurches.org/category/church-life/worship-at-home/
Thursday evening prayer. The Community of the Annunciation continue to meet to pray weekly on a Thursday evening at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to join us for prayer at that time. We meet on Zoom and the link is here. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87639800817?pwd=Q0ZpaWRKMUxDWktscktSRzVrNWlRZz09
Sunday Coffee. Zoom coffee takes place on Sunday mornings at 10am. This is a time for fellowship and community interaction as we would after church on a Sunday. The invite for coffee is here. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86981691918?pwd=TjN0S2Y3emtDVGU1UVdmaE5hM1ZvZz09
Ascension Day Thursday 21st May. The Rector will prerecord his thought for the day which will be available on the website. There is worship for Ascension Day on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm and Salisbury Cathedral will also provide an act of worship, available on their website.