Attending Church Services and CoVid-19

St Cuthbert with St Mary’s Church.

I hope that this newsletter finds you well. You will be aware that our vicar, Keith, retired on 30 June 2020. The Corona Virus pandemic has upset many plans and generally many changes have been necessary. The Bishop and Keith consulted early in the lockdown as Keith was concerned about leaving the parish whilst the crisis continued. The Bishop has given Keith a Permission to Officiate licence for both churches which enables him to take services, Pastoral duties, undertake the chaplaincy roles (city centre, city council and the crown court).He will share a rota with two retired vicars, Jim Hyslop and Eric Robinson. Both Jim and Eric will be known to many of you. The Rural Dean has asked Keith to manage the rota. Whilst Keith is continuing with many of his duties, he is not required to attend PCC meetings.

You may also be aware that the Covid 19 lockdown rules have been eased for church congregations and, subject to conditions, we are now allowed to hold church services. I will detail the conditions, but you should be aware that we will do all we can to ensure the church is a safe environment.

In church, we will be required to maintain social distancing of two metres, and you will be shown to the pews which have been designated for use. You will enter by the usual doors (Sportsman Inn side) and exit through the double doors by the war memorial garden. Volunteers will be on hand to ensure the one-way system is followed.

On entering the church, you will be scanned with a temperature scanner and should you have a raised temperature will not be admitted but advised to go home and seek medical assistance. At present, singing is not allowed although we will have organ /piano music as part of the service. Service sheets will be available, and you can take these home and bring them back for subsequent services. The Bishop’s office has updated the position with face coverings, and it is now “highly recommended” that face coverings should be worn in church and throughout the service by clergy, volunteers, and worshippers. I realise that this may not be welcome news, but the virus has not gone away, and we must all do our bit to minimise infection. Holy Communion will be wafer only and administered at the front of the church. The church will be thoroughly cleaned after each service. For purposes of Track and Trace (which will help the NHS should we learn of the virus infecting a person(s) in the congregation), we will take names and a contact number of those attending church. This information will be destroyed 21 days after attendance in accordance with Data Protection rules. The data will not be held on a computer.

Within these limitations, we will do our best to make St Cuthbert’s a safe and welcoming environment. However, it is important to stress that vulnerable people are still being asked to take great care when venturing out and, if using public transport, a face covering MUST be worn. To this end, no-one should feel compelled to return to church and we will respect the wishes of those who wish to defer attending church at the present time. Jerry King will be live streaming the services so these will be available to view for those of you with internet access.

With all of this in mind, we will be opening the church for public worship on Sunday 9 August 2020 at 10.30 am. Please note the new service time. The church will also be open for Wednesday morning services on Wednesday 12 August at the usual time of 10.00am.
There will be not be an 8.00 am Sunday service for the foreseeable future due to the cleaning requirements necessary after each service and the availability of clergy.

If anyone has any concerns about this, or otherwise wishes to speak to me, my contact number is 07796 906 1196
Nigel Carr,