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Tarporley Parish Church

Sunday Morning Service:St Helen

From Sunday 5th July St Helen’s will be open once more for Sunday Worship.

Please take the time to read all this document. It is important because it explains the changes we will be putting in place for the time being and the reasons for them.

Everyone’s health, safety and well-being remain our priority For the first few weeks we will hold a single weekly Sunday service of Morning Prayer at 10am at St Helen’s.

It is with sadness but a firm grasp of the reality of the situation and the resources we have that we cannot open all our churches and immediately return to our normal service pattern. I know that this will be a disappointment, but no-one wants to undo all the good we have done through being careful over the last few months and I would urge all those who fall into vulnerable categories and all who feel vulnerable to continue to exercise extreme caution and care.

No one should return until they feel fully comfortable and safe in so doing. For this reason, to begin with, there will be no rotas of volunteers and the Minister will undertake all the service roles (another reason why we only have the capacity to hold services in one church at one time for the moment).

I pray that the precautions we are taking will keep us all as safe as possible and reassured and that it will not be long until we can resume our rotas and the normal service pattern at all three of our churches. Until that time, I will continue, after our Sunday service at St Helen’s, to send out our Sunday Worship at Home to you all.

Please take the time to read the following outline of how worship will resume and if you have any questions, or need to talk any of this through, please email me our Curate Julian, or one of our Church Wardens: Phillip or Liz. We will continue to monitor how all this works in practice alongside changing Government, National Church and Diocese guidelines, so please bear with us if and when things change again.

I very much look forward to the day when we can resume our regular service pattern, and all meet without these limitations, but the most important thing, and reason for these temporary restrictions, is that we are all safely there to celebrate together.

How Our Sunday Morning Prayer Service Will Look for the Time Being:

1. To help with social distancing we will operate a one-way system and ask you to enter by the North Door (the one closest to the Swan) and leave by the South Door (the Lychgate side). Signs will be in position to remind and guide everyone.

2. Please sanitise your hands on entering and leaving

3. Please maintain social distancing as you enter and leave and within the building. I know you will all want to chat and sit together but please do so whilst following the current guidelines

4. Sadly for the time being we cannot sing during our services and, because of the restricted and enclosed space in the Tower, bells cannot be rung

5. To help with social distancing we have to restrict access to some pews, and we ask to observe the signs and keep 2m apart from others who are not part of your householdI know that this will be difficult for those who have a favourite seat which is temporarily out of use but please take the opportunity while it lasts to try different views of the church!

6. No leaflets or books will be handed out, so the liturgy will be projected onto the screen in front of the chancel. If you need them, please don’t forget to bring your distance glasses

7. I know many of you are eager to help but to all those raring to go please be patient and understand that there will be others nervous about returning. I do not wish to put pressure on anyone to return until they are ready so for this reason, all rotas are currently suspended. There are no leaflets or books to hand out and we want to avoid a bottle neck at the doors, so we will not have sides people; neither refreshments nor chalice can be offered, and the Minister will do all readings and intercessions. I have worked hard to increase the fellowship, presence and voices in our services so this is a difficult step for me, but we take it to keep everyone as safe and comfortable as we can. We will return to rotas as soon as guidelines allow, and we all feel it is right so to do.

8. There is no requirement to wear a mask or gloves but if this makes you feel more comfortable please do so.

9. We cannot serve refreshments, at the end of the service the minister(s) will leave by the South Door and wait under the Lychgate. This prevents any risk of a bottle neck at the church door but still allows you the opportunity to talk to the minister(s). Please leave the church when you feel comfortable and continue to observe social distancing.

10. We will not include a collection during the service, but our collection plates will be left out along with our digital card machine (and sanitister) and we welcome donations as you enter or leave. Like everyone else over the last few months, our income has dropped because we have not been able to receive collections (safe receipt and counting of monies will follow the latest guidelines.)

11. To continue to minimise risk we have removed items that might be touched by many hands such as visitor’s books, pens, church leaflets and guides, and the toys and objects in the children’s area. Carers are welcome to bring their own books, crayons, soft toys etc for use by their own family.

12. For the same reason we will remove the prayer request book and matches in All Souls Chapel. Candles will be refreshed and left in situ each day and we ask you to either light a candle from one that is already lit or bring with you (and take away) your own matches or lighter.

13. To help with social distancing and improve air flow and circulation we will open both sets of double doors and keep them open as far as is possible during the service. 13. To ensure that the pre-school can safely open and because we cannot safely monitor and clean both the Church and Toilets at once, the Done Room will be locked and the toilets will remain closed

14. We remain unable to accept Food-bank donations because Mid Cheshire Food-bank is not yet able to receive them other than through supermarkets. You can still donate with physical items in store as you do your own shopping or with cash online through their website.

 

Revd. Georgina Watmore Rector of Tarporley Parish