Service Information & Zoom Details
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Welcome Back to Church
Message from the Rector:
As I announced this morning at the service after much deliberation and having undertaken numerous risk assessments I have decided, in line with Church of England guidance from the Covid Task force, that here at St Margarets we are going to take a gentle approach to removing all Covid restrictions.
At present, incidence of the virus continues to increase with the probability that during the summer numbers will reach or surpass those experienced at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic at the start of the year. Largely due to the success of the vaccination programme, hospitalisations and deaths are much lower, but these too are beginning to rise substantially.
While the vaccines are very effective in limiting symptomatic infection for those who are fully vaccinated, they are less so for those who have received only one injection or none. Unfortunately, no vaccine is 100% effective and I feel that it is important that we move forward at a pace that makes the majority of our family feel comfortable - taking into account that some will want things to move very quickly and there will be some who are happy with where we are now.
In light of this I propose therefore to...
1) retain mask wearing in church during all services, except for those who are medically exempt.
Whilst this is I know bothersome for many it does mean that we are, looking out for and caring for, the more vulnerable in our church family and the wider community.
Mask wearing will also mean that we can remove some of the other restrictions. Including..
2) the need to socially distance, from next week or so the pews will be moved back to a more 'normal' arrangement, reducing the space between them allowing more freedom for people to sit with friends etc. There will however, be an area which will be retained with social distancing for those who would feel more comfortable and safe.
3) the need to book - booking for services will be lifted as from Monday. The NHS track and trace code is to remain and people will be encouraged to sign in or check in.
4) the reintroduction of some additional services on a trial basis, for example the 8am Holy Communion on the First Sunday of the month, although this is dependent on volunteers being willing to help with cleaning of the area used to ensure the safety of those who will be in that area of the church later in the day.
5) the reintroduction of congregational singing during worship. We will start this off slowly and build it up. There will be no congregational singing during Communion at present (expect for solos) but there will continue to be music.
Things that will remain in place at this time
1) the one-way system for Communion although I will be trialing priestly intinction and if the trial with the Reader and the CW works then fully authorised lay ministers of Communion can also be involved in future weeks following a further risk assessment and some training.
2)the peace will at this time remain the same - this decreases the movement and as above some people may find too exuberant greeting causes them a high degree of anxiety.
3) hand sanitiser use will be encouraged on entry to the church.
I hope even if you would have liked things to be straight back to normal that you can see that this is a proportional response which allows the majority of our Church family to feel safe.
With every blessing
Revd Christine Spencer
St Margaret's Church, Ifield
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