For private, silent prayer
Generous volunteers have completed the many, many tasks required to prepare St Mary Crowned and All Saints so we could apply for permission to open it for private, silent prayer. Permission was granted on Thursday, 25th June. Thank God! And thank you to those hard-working volunteers who have made it happen by preparing the church or volunteering as a steward.
The church may only open, and only remain open, when at least two stewards are present, so at times, for example if a rostered steward has a family emergency, the church may not be able to open, or may have to close early.
Visitors will be asked to use the hand sanitiser which is provided. Some seats are taped off to help people keep the required distance, and stewards will show you to a seat that they know has been sanitised since it was last used.
If a person visits with someone from their own household, they do not need to keep two metres away from that person.
There are no toilet facilities.
There is a certified maximum number of people permitted inside at any time (32 for St Mary Crowned and 17 for All Saints), and if this limit is reached visitors will have to wait outside until told they can enter – like queuing to get into a supermarket.
Once inside, visitors are not to touch any statues, crucifixes or other devotional objects. There will not be any books to use while in church; visitors must take away with them anything they bring with them.
People with reduced mobility, limited vision, or other disabilities should assess their own needs, and if they need to, ask a member of their household to come with them. While stewards will always be present to help visitors, to make sure people are kept safe and follow the regulations, the help they can give will be limited by the need to comply with standards for hygiene and social distancing.
People aged under sixteen are only to visit in the company of a responsible adult from their own household or their household’s ‘social bubble’.
Stewards will remind visitors to keep the two metre social distance not only inside the church but also when visitors arrive and leave.
Parking near the church door is only for visitors with a disability.
While in normal circumstances we encourage car-sharing, at this time please avoid giving a lift to church to anyone who doesn’t live with you. This is to avoid putting the driver and passenger in danger of infection.
Places of worship are now on the government’s list of places where visitors must wear a face covering. If you are exempt from wearing a face covering in other places, you are exempt in churches too. The bishops have made it clear that wearing a face covering in church is not considered disrespectful in the present circumstances; indeed, it is a mark of a person’s respect for others.
If you are one of those people who have been advised not to come out unnecessarily, please take that advice and keep yourself safe at home.
These restrictions might seem irksome, but permission to open a church depends on complying with them, and our bishops have adopted them, after taking scientific advice and studying government guidance, for everyone’s safety. We want people to enjoy the opportunity to visit church for private prayer, and we don’t want anyone to become infected with this horrible illness.
Please see the parish newsletter for the planned opening times for the week ahead.