Changes to Services in St Andrew’s Church

As the Government Roadmap has removed legal restrictions, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) has met and taken into consideration your views. A risk assessment, using Government and Church of England guidance, has been carried out to try to ensure the safety of everyone bearing in mind the rise in transmission of coronavirus in the area and some changes have been made to move cautiously towards less restrictions.

Before deciding to come to Church

There is no requirement to tell us in advance that you are attending church. We look forward to welcoming everyone wishing to come.

However, anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend church due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household. This applies equally to individuals who work at the place of worship. Where individuals are self-isolating due to a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the household, or because they have been requested to so by NHS Test & Trace, or pinged by the NHS App, they should not attend.

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, distance from others. To avoid having to queue to enter church, we encourage early arrival, up to 30 minutes before the service starts and if needed wait outside to ease crowding.

  • Please continue to use the automatic hand sanitiser before you enter church.
  • Please continue to wear a face covering when entering church until seated. Do keep your face covering on if you wish.
  • Please collect a service sheet and a hymn book (unused since the previous Sunday) from the shelf near the font before you take your seat.
  • Thank you for your offering on the collection plate at the back of the church. 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 to use.
  • Please sit in a pew with a cushion and we ask that a respectful distance is maintained when sharing a pew with others.

The service

Music will be played before the start and at the end of the service.

Rev Eileen will stand in the Chancel at safe distance from those in the Nave. Please stand or sit as requested in the service. We may make the responses without wearing a mask, but it is advised that we do so confidently but quietly.

We are glad for the opportunity to sing together. However, as we transition, we shall begin with one hymn, the Offertory Hymn. We are invited to stand to sing the hymn. Following national guidance, we advise wearing of face coverings to sing in consideration of others. However, you are welcome to sing without a face covering if you wish by choosing a seat in the choir stalls.

Receiving Holy Communion

Communion will return to being administered at the high altar. Rev Eileen or the Presiding Celebrant will 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 for us contained in separate covered receptacles on the altar. The cup will be shared in the form of intincting of the bread performed by the Priest using an untouched implement (e.g., chopsticks; tongs).

After using the hand sanitiser and putting on a face covering, Rev Eileen or the Presiding Celebrant will invite us to come to the altar, maintaining respectful distance as we go forwards, taking turns to stand one at a time in front of her/him. She/He will pick up the bread using the implement (e.g., chopsticks; tongs), touch the bread into the wine and drop it into our outstretched cupped hands. You are welcome to stand or kneel at the rail as you prefer. On receiving Communion, please acknowledge without speaking then return to your seat, keeping respectful distance and keeping your face covering on until seated.

Although everyone who is able to receive communion is welcome, no one should feel obliged and may remain seated during this time.

Everyone is also welcome to receive a Blessing, going forwards as others to the altar rail (maintaining respectful distance and with face covering) but keeping hands down and head bowed in front of Rev 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 shelf.
  • 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 transitioning 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

Eileen Harrop, Chris Barnett and Lynne Lobley

21 July 2021