Back to Church – Sunday 5th July 2020 – 11am
Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, our Churches can now open again for worship services from 29th June.
Our first service in St Donard’s will be on Sunday 5th July. There will be just the one service at 11am.
These past months have been a strange and difficult time for all of us, and even as life begins to return to some normality, I realize that a number of people will still be shielding for health reasons, and others may not feel confident enough quite yet to face the world again and returning to church will be a step they don’t feel able to take just at the moment. I completely understand and I want to assure you of my prayers for you. I hope you will still take comfort from our online services. The service will be recorded in Church and uploaded to Youtube and facebook and these can be viewed in the usual way online later in the day, so you can still be part of our worshipping congregation together at St Donard’s.
We have missed being together as a church fellowship for so many weeks now. I am looking forward to seeing our Church family again, and know that many of you are too.
We are following all the guidelines set by the Government and the Church in order to make things as safe as posssible for everyone. So Church will not be quite the same as it was before – so for those who are planning to come on Sunday 5th July – here’s what we’re asking you to do ……………..
- Enter by the Parish Centre doors – there will be a one-way system – leave by back of church
- Sanitize your hands as you come in and as you leave – sanitizing stations provided
- Observe social distancing at all times – church wardens will be there to guide you – some pews will be blocked off in order to keep social distance – persons in the same households do not need to social distance and can sit together
- No hymn books or prayers books – the service will be on screen
- No congregational singing – music for the time being provided by musicians/soloists
- Free will offerings can be left as you leave church – there will no collection as before
- Only one toilet will be open – the Disabled toilet will be open for use and cleaned afterward
- Record of attendance – should a positive case of Covid-19 occur in someone attending the service, we are required to know the name and contact details of all present, so records will be kept each week of those attending for contact and tracing purposes.
- Face masks/gloves – these are not mandatory but will be available if anyone wants to use them
This is how we will proceed for the foreseeable future given the present situation, with one service at 11am each Sunday morning. We can’t offer creche facilities for social distancing reasons and JIGSAW Sunday School has finished now for July and August. Families with young children are welcome to bring their own toys and activities to amuse children during the service which will run for 35-40 minutes.
These arrangements will be kept under review and will adapt and change as guidance and regulations allow.
Many of you have been asking about leaving in Freewill Offering Envelopes. If you’re planning to come to the services you can hand them in as you leave church, or if you’re not able to attend, Hilary will be at the Parish Centre on a Monday morning between 10am and 11am and you can drop them in.
We’re all having to adapt to ‘the new normal’ in every area of our lives and church is no exception. Nothing is quite the same anymore – but the God we worship is – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Knowing that gives us a sense of security and a reason for rejoicing. I’m reminded of Psalm 84 – a psalm sung by pilgrims looking forward to making the journey once more to the Temple to worship God …
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”
Like those pilgrims, we have been looking forward to worshipping God again in our place of worship, but
whether we are together in church, or joining online, Psalm 84 reminds all of us that those who trust in God find in Him a source of strength, refreshment, safety and blessing and He hears and responds to our prayers. Whether together or at home, let’s continue to be a worshipping people, honouring God in our lives and bringing before Him the needs of so many people at this challenging time.
Hope to see you soon.
Every blessing … Ken