After a careful discussion on Tuesday night the PCC decided that we would work towards holding services in church again starting on Sunday 28th March; though acknowledging that if the number of cases starts to rise again, we might feel we have to defer opening or to close again.
For now, we are working towards holding 8am and 10am services on 28th March (Palm Sunday) followed by services in church on Maundy Thursday evening, Good Friday morning and on Easter Sunday morning (4th April). I expect that we will hold a Solemn Liturgy service on Good Friday and both 8am and 10am Communion services on Easter Day; however, other services we have held before on Good Friday and Easter Day are still to be finalised subject to risk assessment.
The Parish Communion services on Palm Sunday and Easter Day will be live-streamed; and hopefully the Maundy Thursday Eucharist and Good Friday Solemn Liturgy also, subject to volunteer availability.
There will be fresh risk assessments made, and we will consider additional risk mitigations such as shortening the services, capping the numbers of attendees, making more use of ventilating the building, outdoor options, strengthening the messages around not gathering and mixing. We are mindful that the Holy Week and Easter period falls before the earliest date on which Government rules permit any indoor mixing between different households (17th May). We will stress in our messages that church services cannot be regarded, sadly, as social events at this time.
Attendance at the main services will be by specified reserved seats bookable in advance only. (Further information to follow).
As before there will be no congregational singing at services, and the rules on small group singing have also been tightened so we are not in a position to have a singing group at present.
We will stress that no-one should feel under any religious or spiritual obligation of duty, or loyalty to the church or the clergy, to attend services but each must do what they feel comfortable about.
The Rev Canon David Hodgson