The lifting of COVID restrictions

MarkChurch News

In light of the government lifting restrictions the DCC has agreed to implement changes slowly and cautiously over the coming months. This is because the virus is still out there and, at present, case numbers are rising. Working through the risk assessment provided by the Church of England and, along with the wardens, and one other member of St Martin’s we have agreed to manage the risk in the following way. All of this is subject to any changes in government guidance and restrictions. We hope these measures will help people feel safe and comfortable.

Booking into services – There will be no need to book into services.

Arriving and departing – We will continue to have one entrance and one exit in and out of the building. This is so we can continue to manage the flow of people. Please do continue to enter through the side entrance (this is on the right hand side of the building next to the public footpath) and exit through the main entrance as directed by a steward. We will also be maintaining our current one-way system in the building.

Sanitising your hands – Upon entering the building, you will still be asked to cleanse your hands with hand sanitiser.

Social distancing – Whilst in the building we are asking that you continue to maintain social distancing of at least 1m. The chairs will be spaced out at a 1m distance either side, and a 2m distance between each row. To increase our capacity, we will be removing one of the aisles and putting out more chairs.

Facemasks – The government has stated that it “expects and recommends” that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others. Therefore, we are requesting that you continue to wear facemasks whilst in the building unless you are exempt. This will be especially true for live-singing.

Live-singing – We will be reinstating live-singing in the building from this Sunday. However, due to the nature of the risks involved, we will be commencing the following to minimise them:

We will only sing 2 songs/hymns for our monthly Holy Communion and Services of the Word; one at the beginning of the service and one at the end.

For our monthly all-age service, we will sing 3. This is because the children’s songs are shorter and action-based and they help the children engage with what is going on.

We will also continue to maintain a 2m distance between each row of chairs. This allows for there to be a greater distance for potential aerosol particles to spread before falling to the ground. We will also ask people to wear masks whilst singing. This will further decrease the potential for aerosol particles to spread. When the weather permits, we still continue to make the most of the opportunities we have to sing outside. Singing outside is considerably less risky. It’s also a great witness to the local community of life at St Martin’s.

Bibles and Literature – We will be placing Bibles in the backs of chairs and asking you take the Bible from the chair you are sitting on. After the service please return the Bible to the back of your chair. We will continue to use the screen and projector for lyrics and liturgy. Each week, we will provide a small number of single-use takeaways and service sheets for those who would like one. These will be available for collection by the entrance way. You will be able to pick one up immediately after you have sanitized your hands. You will then be asked to take them home with you.

Takeaway – We will be reverting back to our pervious style of Takeaway from August. The Takeaway will include all news, prayer items along with the liturgy and lyrics for the coming Sunday. This will continue to be emailed out every Friday and delivered to the house-bound and those still yet to return. The reason for continuing to email out our takeaway and to reduce the numbers handed out on Sundays is to minimise surface transmission.

After the service – After the service we are now allowed to meet inside as well as outside. However, whilst inside, we will be requesting that face masks continue to be worn and at least 1m social distancing be maintained. When the weather allows we will be encouraging as many of you as possible to go outside.

Refreshments – We are provisionally planning to bring back refreshments after services from September. Further details about this will be forthcoming.

Car park – As we are planning to make the most of the car-park for singing and fellowship, we request that only those who are in need make use of the car-park.

Holy Communion – There will be no Communion Service during August. The next Holy Communion will be on Sunday 1st September. The common cup has been reinstated. However, there will be no obligation for anyone to drink from it. If you only wish to receive bread and no wine, you are free to do so. Further details of how Communion will be distributed will be forthcoming.

Live streaming – For those of you who are housebound or still anxious about coming back we will still continue to live-stream services.

Further easing of restrictions – As a church leadership we will continue to monitor the situation, guidance, and review our practices. The first one of these reviews will take place at our next DCC meeting on 13th September.