Changes to Covid-19 related measures

in St Mary’s Church, Gainford

As the Government Roadmap has removed legal restrictions, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) has met and taken into consideration views communicated to us. A risk assessment has been carried out to balance the rise in transmission of coronavirus in the area and to move cautiously towards less restricted worship.

Deciding to come to church

We look forward to welcoming everyone wishing to come.

However as before, anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should refrain from attending church in person mindful of the risk to others. This also applies to people who are self-isolating due to a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19 in their household, or following an alert by NHS Test & Trace or the NHS App.

Arriving at church

We invite everyone to keep a respectful distance from others, to be considerate towards others who feel more comfortable with, or who are advised to maintain a reasonable distance. We would appreciate early arrival to services to prevent your having to queue at the entrance. We are advised to continue recording names in our risk assessment, which can present a slight hold-up.

  • Please continue to use the hand sanitiser provided as you come in.
  • We would appreciate everyone wearing a face covering when entering church until you are at your seat. The wearing of face coverings at your seat in the pews is entirely as you’d wish..
  • Please collect a service sheet and a hymn book from the basket at the entrance table.
  • Thank you for placing your offering on the collection plate before you go to your seat. The plate will not be passed around although the offering will be blessed during the service.
  • A record of who attends will continue to be kept for 21 days so that people can be contacted, if necessary, to assist with NHS test and trace. The QR code is available for you also.
  • Please sit at a respectful distance when sharing a pew with others not from your household.

The service

We will continue to use the temporary Altar at the front of the Chancel. Please stand or sit as requested in the service. Face coverings may be removed throughout the service while you are at your place in the pew.

We are glad for the opportunity to sing together. However, as we transition, we shall sing two of the four hymns: the Opening Hymn and the Offertory Hymn. We are invited to stand to sing. Following national guidance, we advise members of the congregation to wear face coverings to sing. However, you are welcome to sing without a face covering if you wish by choosing a seat near the front or in the side aisles.

Sharing the Peace: we shall continue to share the peace without moving from our places in the pews but face coverings can be taken off if you wish.

Receiving Holy Communion

Communion will continue to be administered at the front of the Chancel. Revd Eileen or the Presiding Celebrant will continue to use her/his own bread and cup. She will bless and consecrate the Priest’s bread and cup, as well as the bread and wine ‘in one form’ (bread) for us contained in a separate covered receptacle on the altar.

After using the hand sanitiser and putting on a face covering, Revd Eileen or the Presiding Celebrant will invite us to come forward (wearing a face covering), maintaining respectful distance, and receive the bread that would be dropped from a clean implement (e.g. chopsticks) or by visiting priests using their sanitized hands, onto outstretched hands, palms cupped and facing upwards. On receiving Communion, please return to your seat in a one-way flow via the side aisles, keeping respectful distance and your face covering on until at your seat.

Everyone is also welcome to receive a Blessing, going forwards as others (maintaining respectful distance and with face covering) but keeping hands down and head bowed in front of Revd Eileen/the Priest.

After the service

When leaving your seats, please wear your face covering and keep a respectful distance.

Please return your service sheets and hymn book to the baskets.

To avoid crowding at the entrance please have conversations outside the church, where we are freer and more comfortable to have conversations.

We hope that this information is helpful for you as we adapt and safely transition out of restrictions. We hope everyone who wishes to attend church feels confident to do so, although no one should feel under any obligation to attend. We respect whatever you feel is right for you.

Let us help one another to care for each other as we worship together. We look forward to seeing you

– Rev’d Eileen Harrop in consultation with churchwardens and the PCC
21 July 2021