Welcoming you back into St Swithun's - what to expect when you come to church and guidelines for your safety
Our first public service since lockdown went very smoothly and was enjoyed by all who attended. Things were a little different, but it didn't spoil the joy of the day one bit!
If you're thinking of coming back to a church service at St Swithun's, please read through this important note as it contains the necessary arrangements for our return to worship as a congregation in the church building. Much of what follows is practical good sense and complies with the Government rules for living with COVID-19, but above all is the emphasis we are placing on the safety of all people who come to St Swithun’s Church.
- Parking and arrival for the church service. Please can you use the Chequer Mead Car Park except for those who need Disabled Parking spaces or those who find walking very difficult. The number of spaces will be halved in the Church Car Park to accommodate social distancing.
- West Entrance Doors only. Entry into the church will be restricted to the West Doors (under the tower) where we can provide full access for everyone on the level.
- 2 metre social distancing – we will be adhering to this rule as being the best way to keep everyone safe. Family groups can sit together but there must be a gap of 2m between them and the next individual or group. The Sidespeople on duty will guide you to a seat starting with the front rows and filling towards the back. Please allow extra time to enter the church and to be seated.
- Hand sanitising, gloves and face coverings – you will be asked to use the hand sanitising stations in the porch before you enter the building. You will also have to use hand sanitiser before receiving Communion and there will be two stations at the aisle crossing for this purpose. You may choose to wear a face mask and/or disposable gloves, but these are not mandatory.
- Children and families – we welcome you as before but please ask that you do not bring any soft toys or food and drink into the church building. The Children’s play area will not be in use during the pandemic.
- Service Sheets – we will provide a Service Sheet for you, but you must either take it home with you or dispose of it at the door on exit from the church. Bins will be provided for this purpose. Please do not leave anything in your seat
- Cushions – Cushions will not be available for the congregation and you must not bring your own into the building.
- During the Service – please use a moderate to low voice in the service and, as a precaution we are not permitted to sing any hymns. (This is to limit the amount of aerosol dispersion into the atmosphere – the way in which the virus is spread.)
- The Peace – there will be no sharing of the Peace with traditional handshakes but you are encouraged to acknowledge those near to you with a friendly smile.
- The Communion – there will be two priests administering the Body of Christ (the bread) but the Blood of Christ (the wine) is restricted to the President of the Eucharist only. Please wait in your seat until directed by the Sidespeople to go forward to receive your communion. Sanitise your hands before receiving and remember to keep 2 metres (six feet) from the person in front of you. Please receive the sacrament into your hands standing up. Return to your seat by the side aisle as directed.
- Our Giving to the Church – Please continue with your Banker’s Order or Parish Giving Scheme as before. We cannot accept cash in the church. Contactless Payments can be made at the door with a banker’s card, or make a donation with Gift Aids via the ChurchDesk link that appears each week on the Notice Sheets.
- Leaving the building – at the end of the service please wait in your seat until directed by the sidespeople. Please leave by the West Doors carefully observing the 2 metre rule.
Thank you for reading this information sheet and for your patience in following these rules which we must observe if we are to minimise the risk of contacting coronavirus until such time as the Government advises us differently. We can be inspected by the Police at any time and failure to comply will result in a fine. We know that we can rely on everyone to ensure that we are all safe and well as we return to our Spiritual Home in Community.
“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”