As you know, we are at the early stages of opening up our churches after lockdown. This Sunday we plan to experiment with a Parish Communion Service at St Mary’s Easton at 10am which will also be on zoom.
We have had detailed discussions at the PCC about this and our Covid 19 Committee led by Sara Mason has settled a risk assessment which has been presented to the PCC. The service will be a bit different from what we would like. Firstly, there will be no singing, greeting each other or refreshments and seating will be socially distanced. We will have music which is recorded by the Choral Scholars of St Martins in the Field which you can sing to (if you are at home and watching on zoom) but in the church we will listen to it (as we might listen to the choir in the cathedral). Communion will be in one kind only – just bread and I will have to deliver it to those who attend silently. One row will come to the altar rail at a time and will stand rather than kneel.
As you probably know, the government guidance continues to be that those who are clinically vulnerable and those who are over 70 (whether in that group or not) are advised to stay at home as much as possible and if they do go out to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. In the context of our public services, whilst the PCC is making every attempt both to prepare the building and conduct the service in a way that is covid-secure (in line with the relevant guidance), in deciding whether or not it is the right thing to attend, individuals who are in moderate-high risk categories will need to make their own assessments of the risk to them.
The procedures for this service are being tested this Sunday for the first time and the risk will be commensurately higher than on future occasions when we will be more confident of operating in a safe and practised manner. Of course, these are public services (and so we cannot legally restrict attendance) but we would ask that if you are in one of these categories that you take these issues into account when deciding whether it is safe for you to attend on Sunday.
If, having considered all these points, you do plan to attend at St Mary’s Easton on Sunday could you please email Beccy firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know so that we can have a sense of how many people plan to attend and whether our limit of 20 people is likely to be exceeded. Also we will need to retain this information for a short time for track and trace purposes.
With every blessing