Services in Church

As most people will know, from 4 July (this Saturday) we are allowed to have services back in our churches.

Sadly, that does not mean that things can go back to normal at this point!

We have to maintain social distancing, we are not allowed to sing (or be sung to!), we should avoid touching anything that anyone else has touched, and we need to ensure we are all safe.
There will be no physical contact other than between members of the same household, so no hugs, friendly kisses, shaking hands or sharing of the peace in the way that we normally would.
We can share Holy Communion, but not in the way that we normally would, and only in ‘one kind’. We will share bread (wafers), but not wine.
Although the government announced the changes almost two weeks ago now, the details of what we can and can’t do were only made public late on Monday, and the Church of England only passed their guidelines on to us late on Tuesday.
A lot of time has been spent working out what we can do, how things will work, and how we can best serve our community.
Obviously there will be people who are very keen to get back into church, and others who may not be able to, or who may feel that it is not safe to do so at this time. For this reason, we will be continuing with online services as well as beginning to have some services back in church.
One of our churches will be open each Saturday morning from 10.00am to 12.00noon, with the first 30 minutes (or so) a service of Morning Prayer. This will be the same service that we would have broadcast on YouTube at 9.00am, and this broadcast will now be discontinued. Morning Prayer in church on Saturdays will begin this Saturday (4 July) at St Ethelbert’s, Littledean.
Saturday Night Prayer will continue on YouTube at 9.00pm each week.
On Sunday mornings we will continue with our Morning Service on Zoom and Facebook at 11.00am (and available on YouTube later in the day). This will continue to be the ‘main’ service over the weekend and will be the only service with hymns, songs, and a sermon.
But we will also have a Holy Communion service at one of our churches each week at 9.30am. This will be a short, said service (no hymns or sung responses). It will be somewhat different to normal, particularly in respect to sharing of the peace and distribution of Communion. This will begin this Sunday (4 July) at St John’s.
In place of the current Night Prayer service on YouTube on Sunday evenings, we will have Evening Prayer at one of our churches each week at 6.00pm. This will be in the same format as the Evening Prayer services we were broadcasting on YouTube until recently. Evening Prayer in church on Sunday evenings will begin this Sunday at St Stephen’s.
Details about seating and movement in the churches will be clear in each church as you arrive. (There will be ‘one way’ systems in place in each of the churches and only certain pews will be available for use.)
Toilets will not be open in any of the churches for any of the services or the time of private prayer following Morning Prayer on Saturday mornings.
Hand gel will be available for use on entry to and exit from church and should be used by all attending.
Masks do not need to be worn, but you are welcome to wear one if you would like to.
Laminated service sheets will be available on the pews in church for each service. Please leave them in the pews after the service. They will be cleaned and used again.
Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer services match the contents of the Daily Prayer app, so if you have a smartphone, you could load the app (if you haven’t already) and follow the service on your phone. This will then include the Bible readings.

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