INFORMATION FROM FATHER DAVID

 

Lockdown 3 & St Peter’s and the Holy Apostles            09/1/21

 

As the Prime Minister announced lockdown 3 my heart sank as I thought about the church being locked down once again and public worship being suspended. It was a great surprise to me when it became apparent that this time the churches would not be closed to public worship and that communal worship would be allowed to carry on, a pleasant surprise one of the few pleasant surprises we have had over these difficult months. The figures of those who have died and those who are hospitalised by this terrible disease continue to climb and it's been a difficult time for all of us to know what the right things is to do. Well, the one thing we can all do is to pray both individually and corporately.

 

Having given it much thought and in consultation with other people I fellit is right to continue to do what the government allows us to do, and to continue to hold communal worship in St Peter’s and St Thomas’.I've come to this conclusion because of a number of different things, firstly the fact that I am confident that the measures we have put in place in our churches are the right measures that actually make our buildings a very safe place to be and that we are Covid secure.I'm also confidentbecause we have had a case of covid amongst our worshipping community and that case was dealt with and did not spread to anybody else within our church community, showing that the protocols that we have in place do work. I'm also aware we are very lucky in the buildings that we have and the size of the buildings we have and the high roof especially in Saint Peters and in St Peters the glass walls which we have so that you can see when people are walking towards you from a different room, the underfloor heating also means that a continuous circulation of air. So, as I've already said,I have come to the conclusion that the church should remain open for private prayer and communal worship and that it is safe to do so. The one exception to this sadly has to be St James which we will close for the meantime due to the lack of space which we have in the area which we now use for worship.

I would like to also say at this point that I hope that anybody who is feeling vulnerable or uneasy about coming to church will feel able to stay away without any feelings of guilt

And with the prayerful support until when they feel is right time for them to return and in the meantime to keep themselves safe and healthy. We will continue to livestream our services, technology allowing!

 

It was recognised early after the first lockdown that at St Peters we had thought deeply about how to make the church safe and when the restrictions eased allowing public worship to begin again we were able to do so at the earliest point. In the following months as cases dropped and the danger seemed to fall away so did some of our diligence. I am aware that we let some of the stringent measures which we had put in place drop, so now is the time for us to tighten our safeguards and think once again about the safety of ourselves and each other, for this reason we are bringing in new measures and also reinforcing some of the measures that were put in following the first lockdown

We will now adhere to the one way systems which we have in church which means that at St Peter’s everybody will enter through the West Door (The big double doors at the front of the building) and leave through the side doors either in Cloisters or in St Dunstan’s.

We will be looking at our cleaning regime and we will be cleaning all places of high traffic on a regular basis.

Service sheets will now be placed on the chairs when you come into church and we want you to take those away with you, we do not want these either being left in church after Mass or left on the shelves or tables etc.

At weekday masses we will bringing in a procedure where for those who are regular at weekday mass will be allocated seats, and your name will be put on your seat which we would then ask you to use whenever you attended Mass.

 

When in church we would also ask all members to make use of all the hand sanitizer stations around the church especially at communion time, at the moment the biggest grouping we have is as everybody uses just the one hand sanitizer points by the West Door, we do have hand sanitisers in Cloisters and in St Dunstan's and it would cause less grouping if people use these ones as well or indeed bought their own little hand sanitizer bottles with them and sanitised their hands in their chair and then went for communion.

The other points which I need to make at this stage and should go without saying is that if we can all make sure to be keep our distance, wear our masks correctly and keep good hygiene habit

 

We are very fortunate that the buildings which we have and the numbers that attend mean that we are able to carry on with communal worship for the time being, of course this is constantly under review and may change at any time, however I am confident about us continuing because not only does the physical building allows this to happen but also our style of worship makes this possible to continue our worship in its traditional nature and style allows for distance with each other to take place whilst at the same time achieve great closeness to God, this can take place in the sacramental worship which we offer which is perhaps not possible in other worship styles!.

Please, please continue to pray for others especially for those key workers who are having to deal with the most difficult things in life, we must remember especially NHS workers and Care workers. Let us pray that soon we can go back to being the full family our mission community is.

 

With my prayers and best wishes

 

Fr David

 

 


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