Edit: since this post was published, we successfully applied for permission to open the church for private prayer. A huge ‘thank you’ to all who have volunteered! There are still opportunities for more stewards to help. Thanks, too, to Sue, Christine, Jenny, Steve, Ann, Barbara and David, and their helpers, for their sterling efforts in preparing the churches and the necessary documentation, and taking care of the volunteering process. Now we are working towards opening the church for Holy Mass. Read on…
On Friday 12th June, the government published its guidelines for churches and other places of worship opening for private prayer. Our diocesan authorities have begun to study this guidance, having already done a lot of preparatory work and issued some provisional guidance for parishes.
Our Glossop Parishes Pastoral Council is actively considering whether to advise Fr Martin to apply to Bishop Patrick for permission to open St Mary Crowned or All Saints, or both of them, for private prayer. If we do apply for permission, and receive it, the church(es) will be open only for silent private prayer, not for Holy Mass, reciting the holy rosary out loud with others, other services, confession, or holy communion. We will only apply for permission, and Bishop Patrick will only grant it, if we are confident we can meet the standards necessary to keep people safe.
One part of the guidance already received is that at least two stewards should be on duty all the time a church is open. Naturally, people who are aged seventy or over, or who are staying at home because for any other reason they or someone they live with is especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, should not volunteer for this duty. Edit: people aged seventy or over who are in good health, who are not ‘shielding’ for any reason, and who understand and accept the risks, are now permitted to volunteer.
If you think you might like to help by volunteering as a steward, in the hopes that we do get permission to open, then please study the role description and declaration. If you’re happy with what you read, and you decide to volunteer for St Mary Crowned, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01457 862128; for All Saints, please email email@example.com or phone 01457 866113. Edit: if you have already been through the safer recruiting process for another role in your parish and have a current DBS, the process is very simple, and in any case Sue or Ann will be happy to guide you.
When stewarding for private prayer, each steward may make their own decision about whether or not to wear a face covering. When stewarding for Holy Mass, each steward is required to wear a face covering. The parishes have bought a supply of face coverings for use by any steward who does not have their own.