We are approaching the end of the season of Epiphany; a time when we celebrate the light that has come into the world and shines on ALL humankind (John 1: 9). We also give thanks that we are officially over the â€œsecond waveâ€ of the pandemic. This does not mean, however, that the pandemic is over. We have been warned that we could expect a â€œthird waveâ€ as early as April. Only the mass roll-out of vaccines will bring an end to the pandemic that has caused so much loss. We pray for an effective vaccine and roll-out program. Until this occurs we need to continue to ensure the safety of all by wearing masks, avoiding unsafe gatherings, sanitising, and keeping physically distant from people.
We have been given the go-ahead to re-open our churches for in-person worship again under the same rigorous safety protocols as before the â€œsecond waveâ€.
We will therefore begin with in-person worship on Sunday 14 February 2021 at 09h00.
Please note that, as previously mentioned, we are limited to the number of people we can accommodate in the church building, as we have to ensure physical distancing of at least 1.5m between all those attending – up to a maximum (at this stage) of 50 people. We can only accommodate a maximum of 42 (allowing for families who live in the same household, who are permitted to sit together).
In order to facilitate this, we ask that all those wishing to attend a service book their space by contacting the church office during the week. This will allow us to plan the seating to accommodate the most people at a time. You will be allocated specific seats.
At this stage, it has been decided that we will only have one service a week at 09h00 on Sundays. Those who book first will be given first preference and, if there is not sufficient space for all, a reserve list will be kept and those on reserve will be given first preference the following week. This may mean that you will not be able to worship together every week but the services will be recorded and posted on YouTube and Facebook as soon as possible after the service. This will also accommodate those not yet ready for in-person worship.
As space is limited, we may not be able to accommodate anyone who has not pre-booked.
A risk assessment is attached with this letter and you are encouraged to continue with online services if you are in one of the at-risk categories.
If you show any of the following symptoms you will not be allowed to enter the building so please continue with online services at home:
- sore throat,
- shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- body aches
- loss of smell or loss of taste
- fatigue, weakness or tiredness
Everyone attending will need to be screened for the above on entry. This could be rather time-consuming and proper physical distancing will need to be practised as you wait to be screened. We therefore encourage you to come early to avoid delays.
All those attending will be expected to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times.
Hand sanitiser will be made available at the entrance and exit.
There will be no singing at the services but we will include a few music videos. This will mean that the services will be a little shorter than usual.
Communion will be served on the first Sunday of the month (except, for this month, it will be served at our first service on the 14 Feb). Servers will follow strict hygiene protocols and communion will be served in the pews.
We will continue with online Youth Church via Zoom. If you havenâ€™t done so already, please register here https://forms.gle/PNTzw21oaMw6nCWr6. For safety reasons, only those registered will receive the Zoom link and be allowed to attend.
We will also continue to send out activities for youth and children to parents/caregivers during the week to bring along to the service with their own pencils, etc. It is essential that each child bring their own pencils, etc. as no sharing will be allowed. The services will all have an all-age focus so families are welcome to attend together.
We are required to ensure proper ventilation and so doors and windows will be open. Please dress warmly if you are concerned about the draft.
We have had to remove all cushions from the pews so please bring your own cushion with you should you require it.
A retiring offertory will be taken at the exits as you leave and we regret that socialising before/after the service is not allowed and physical distancing must be adhered to at all times, even in the parking lot.
Those not able to attend are encouraged to continue their giving through online banking and those who continue to make use of the planned giving envelopes are welcome to contact the church office to arrange collection if not able to bring them in.
As we prepare for a very different Lent and Easter, we are reminded that we are called to serve one another in love â€“ seeking the very best for all people. At times this requires sacrifice as we follow the example of Christ who gave his life so that we might have life in all its fullness.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment and support.
Grace & Peace