Resuming Services together in an Indoor Worship Space

Parish of Blandford

July 2020 – Revised July 25

Resuming Services together in an Indoor Worship Space.

Due to the space restrictions of 6 feet (2 meters) physical distancing, for the time being, services will be held in Saint Barnabas only to allow for as many people as possible to worship together.

How we can worship together while following Public Health Measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19?

  1. This is not just “back to normal”!

    In the same way as our lives have changed permanently – or at least long term temporarily when we go to the Grocery Store, the Doctor or pretty much anywhere else, our gathering in Christian Community for worship on Sundays will also change as we resume our common worship indoors. The procedures and safety measures implemented are for EVERYONE’S safety & health. We not only pray, but we do everything within our power to ensure that our worship will not become a way that this virus is spread. In order to do that, we not only need the procedures in place, we also need the co-operation of everyone who comes together for worship.

  2. Should I (WE) even come to church?

    1. If you are in any way unsure

    2. if you feel your health is in danger

    3. if you feel ill in any way –

    4. If you are unable to wear a mask through the entire service. (as of July 31)

    you should not come to common worship. You are part of our community. We will continue to have the services available by email or in bulletin form and can continue to pray together with our parish at your home. We are called together to pray, but we can pray together no matter where we are. God will understand whatever you decide is best for you.

  3. What can I expect if I come to our morning service:

    1. Before you get there the church will have been cleaned. There will be Sanitizer available for your hands & towels if you want to wipe down your pew as you enter it and when you leave it. Please Note: The cleaning of the church and using the towels are additional safety precautions since we will only have one service each week and the virus, if it is present, will not live on surfaces for 7 days.

    2. Outside: After parking as you walk to the church building, please maintain physical distancing. You will be greeted & welcomed by a member of our parish wearing mask and gloves. Please follow this person’s instructions in how and when to enter the church.

    3. Beginning July 31 all members those worshiping together inside the church building are required to wear a mask throughout the service . (Revised from: Since physical distancing of 6 feet (2 meters) is not possible when entering and leaving the building, you will be asked to wear a mask AT LEAST while entering and leaving the building. We strongly encourage that you wear the mask during the entire service if possible. Disposable masks will be available from the person who greets you outdoors if you do not have your own.)

    4. Inside the church as you enter you will be welcomed by another greeter who will let you know where you can leave your offering for the Parish or money for the Chester Food Bank if you wish. (No food donations in church for the time being please.)

      They will also give you a service bulletin if you did not print your own off from the email which will continue to be sent.

      Your name will be checked off on a copy of the parish list for contact information in case someone who attends our service ever contracts the virus. (If someone is visiting with you they will be asked for their name and contact information for contact tracing as well.)

    5. Please wait at the entrance until an usher comes to show you to your seat.

    6. You might not get your “usual” pew. Due to physical distancing requirements not all pews will be available. An usher will show you to your seat and will try to accommodate your request for where you will be during the service. We encourage people in the same family or the same “group bubble” to arrive together and sit together, if possible, so that there will be room for everyone.

    7. Once you are in your pew, please stay there for the entire service. Please participate in the prayers and responses as usual. Unfortunately, because of the additional distance needed to stop communication of the virus while singing, there will be no congregational singing at this time during our services. A sign of peace will be suggested which respects the Public Health requirements.

    8. If you need to leave at any time, you may of course do so. Please remember to continue to wear your mask and maintain physical distancing, where possible, as you leave.

    9. At the end of the service please wait until the usher indicates that you may leave. This is to help in maintaining physical distancing. The rector will not greet you as you leave. If you are among the first to leave, please move away from the door so that others may also safely leave.

    10. The Greeters & Ushers are providing a ministry of WELCOME and SAFETY for us all. Please respect their requests and each other. We have waited a long time to come back together. Let us celebrate WELL and SAFELY. Smiles, nods and hellos are welcome – and very much a part of our Christian calling.

    11. Our first 2 or 3 services will be Morning Prayer in order to help keep things simpler as we get used to these new procedures. Additional information will be available when we meet for Holy Eucharist (Communion) once again.

As we prepare for this next part of our Christian journey. Let us thank God that we are safe. Let us pray to God for those who are ill and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones. Finally, let us remember that whether we gather in buildings, in open spaces, or in spirit, we will be recognized as followers of Jesus by the love we have for one another and for all!

This we pray in the name of Jesus our Brother and Redeemer. Amen.