Vicar's update 29th JuneSteve Newbold1

I hope you are well and have had a good weekend.
At last we have some exiting news to share as the Government have said that Churches can reopen for services from 4th July.  That excitement is tinged with reality as there are many restrictions in place and services will not feel like those we recall.  We are planning to open our doors for a service of Holy Communion at 9am service on Sunday 12th July.  We anticipate that this will become a weekly event.  The Government have now issued guidelines that we must follow – this is what to expect: 

  • We will record the names of all those who attend (in case it is needed by Public Health England as part of the ‘track and trace’ follow-up).
  • On arrival your name will be checked off and everyone will be asked to use the hand sanitisers provided
  • All words will be on the screens – there will be no handouts/papers or books at all.  If you want to bring your own Bible please do so.
  • Seats will be socially distanced but of course you may sit with those in your own household
  • There will be a one way system in operation – into the church space through the main doors and out through the rear doors by the toilets.
  • There will be no hymns or songs.
  • The clergy may wear face coverings during the time of Communion and will use hand sanitiser several times during the service
  • Communion will be taken in one kind (just bread) and will be bought to your seat to reduce movement.
  • At this stage only clergy will take part at the front to limit the things that are touched
  • At the end of the service you will be asked to leave by the exit route and not gather to talk to others – there will be no Café
  • The number of toilets available to use will be reduced to help with social distancing and hygiene
  • After the service, doors and surfaces will be sanitised and then the building closed to the public for 72hours to allow any traces of the virus to disappear. 

I am sorry that this seems so uninviting but we hope and pray that the restrictions will gradually ease so that we can return to something more familiar in the near future.   If you wish to attend the service on 12th July, please email me by Wednesday 8th July so that I can get an idea of numbers.  As spaces are limited please only respond if you are confident that you can attend. 
As most people will not be able to attend the 9am service, we will continue with St Stephen’s Online at 11am each week until at least the end of August.
We are advertising for a new Youth Pastor.  Details are on the Church website so if you know of anyone who might be interested please do pass the information on.
This week you can join in online:
         Tuesday at 9am Morning Prayer on Zoom (ask for joining details)
         Tuesday at 11am Shining Stars on our Facebook page
         Wednesday at 9pm Night Prayer on our Facebook page
         Sunday at 11am St Stephen’s Online – join via the link on the Church website, Facebook or You Tube on your Smart TV. Take care, keep well and have a good week
Take care, keep well and have a good week