Back to church!

Services at 10.30am on Sundays

at St John's have now resumed 

- here's what to expect:

 

1. It won’t be the same as our Sunday morning services were before lockdown. Some things are ruled out by the Government, including any kind of ‘socialising’, hugging, hand-shaking, sitting close together (except for family and ‘bubble’ groups) and singing (or shouting). It’s now legally necessary to wear face coverings when attending a place of worship, except when the need for ministers and other leaders to be heard clearly means they can remove them.

2. We can share Holy Communion together (the bread only is shared), and the bread brought to you will remain covered up while the words of thanksgiving and consecration are said over it and untouched when the president’s part of it is broken. You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to, but when it comes to receiving the bread, each communicant should sanitise their hands before and after removing their face covering to receive, and before putting it on again. Not all services will be Eucharistic anyway.

3. Anyone aged 70 or over (or otherwise vulnerable) has to take full personal responsibility for the consequences if they choose to attend our church at a time when Government advice is still that they ‘should stay at home as much as possible and … minimize contact with others’ (this has not changed). It is your decision, and we are continuing our ‘Online Church’ so that those who can’t or prefer not to attend church can still worship with us week by week. Anyone who is ‘shielding’ is advised not to attend a church, and anyone with any sign of Covid symptoms, who is waiting for a Covid test result or has tested positive, or who lives or 'bubbles' with someone in those categories, should be self-isolating and should not enter a church building under any circumstances.

4. When you arrive, you (or one person from each family) will be asked to give your name and a contact phone number to our ‘reception’ sidesperson (unless you have already done this by email).  This is so that we can fulfil our duty under the ‘Track and Trace’ system if need be.

5. It may be necessary to queue outside the entrance as people arrive, and you’ll need to do this in a 2m distanced way just as you would outside a supermarket.

6. Once you’re inside the church, you’ll also need to keep 2m away from anyone else who’s not in your family (or bubble) group. The seats are already spread out, but you can move them so that a family are together if you want, providing each person in that group is still 2m away from anyone not in the group. Afterwards, please return any seat you have moved to the position it originally had – but don’t touch any seat except the one you sit on yourself.

7. There are two small tables at the back, with chairs, each reserved for a family group who want to let smaller children do colouring or anything else that they can bring with them to occupy them during the service (but no food, please!). These have to be booked in advance if you want them, and once the two have been reserved there are no further facilities of this kind. Everyone who sits at either of these tables must stay at them and make sure they keep at least 2m apart from anyone else not in their group. Please book with either rodney.green17@ntlworld.com (0161 748 7238), tony.dey@ntlworld.com (0161 613 5947) or robert_beale@hotmail.com (0161 748 9999). There’s no creche facility, and the side chapel is completely out of bounds to everyone. There’s no Sunday School either at present – all children are entirely the responsibility of their parents.

8. The service will be quite a lot shorter than our previous usual pattern. If there’s a service sheet on your seat when you arrive, please keep it for your own use only, and at the end either put it in a bin or take it home. At the end, please leave by the door to the garden, opposite the entrance, keeping up distancing (unless you would find the steps difficult because of mobility problems: in that case, please wait until everyone else has left and then go out by the door you came in). There will be bowls for those who wish to make their financial contribution by cash or in envelopes (but please remember there are alternative ways of giving, too).

9. There are no after-church refreshments, and the Meeting Room is not open. The vestry is open only to ministers and churchwardens. The disabled toilet (only) is available for anyone who must use it.

10.Please don’t chat in a group in the Memorial Garden when you leave, or in the church grounds generally. In Greater Manchester, any kind of socialising with people not in your own household is now completely out of order in or near a church, just as it is in gardens or surroundings of pubs and restaurants. And you can chat to people on the phone, at other times and away from church, or by joining our Friday night Zoom fellowship meetings (please ask about that if you don’t already get an invitation).

 

NB The full Risk Assessment for St John's Church is available here.