Dear Friends, 

Last week in the news sheet David told you about how and when we hope to reopen Church on 6th September. This date is, of course, when Revd Stephen Poole is beginning his ministry at our church, and we hope that some of you will feel able to come to church and welcome him. As when Revd John Swarbrick retired and we were unable to say a proper goodbye to him, we cannot hold a welcoming ceremony of any kind for Steve, but if we can at least meet together with him to praise God. In a small way it will be a step forward. 

Church services will be very different: no singing, we will have to sit apart from friends, there will be no tea and coffee after the service and the weekly notices will continue to be sent out by email. But there will be prayers, Bible readings, a sermon, and the organ will be played at the beginning and end of the service. 

Here is what you can expect to happen: You will enter church through the main church doorway. A steward will greet you and ask you to socially distance yourself from others who are waiting. There will be floor markings to indicate the correct distance. Please wear a mask at all times (unless you have a medical exemption). As you enter church there will be a foot-operated hand sanitising station to use, you also need to sign in for Track and Trace purposes, and the collection plate will be available to receive your donations. Please pass through the Welcome Area as quickly as possible and as you enter church a steward will show you to your seat. We will start seating people from the front and fill in towards the back. A family group may sit together, but most people will sit apart with at least two chairs between people. 

Please do not move around church once you have been seated. We will seat people downstairs firstly and only use the balcony if we need to. At the end of the service a steward will come to the front of church and ask people to leave row by row from the front, via the Locket Hall. There will be two exits: the car park exit for people in cars, and the exit into Locket Road for pedestrians. Please leave the church building as quickly as possible and move away from the exit doors so others can get out. The doors will be closed when the congregation has left so that the stewards can sanitise key areas. 

So, as you can see church will be different, but we hope the measures we have put in place will keep you safe and make you feel able to join us on Sunday mornings. If you do come to church it is a good idea to arrive early as it will take everyone a while to enter the building. Please remember to wear your face mask, and as you enter have your collection to hand to put on the plate, and also a pen so that you can sign in on the Track and Trace form. 

Book stewards will not be needed as we are using AV. However we are going to need extra people to help at the door and to show people to their seats. If you are able to help in any way I would be grateful if you would get in touch with me during the next week either by telephone or email and let me know the dates you are willing to help so I can do a rota of volunteers. I hope many of you will feel able to come back to church soon and share in the services. At the moment we are not able have tea and coffee after the service, so I intend to continue holding our Zoom chats at about 12 noon so that those who wish to can join in and catch up on everyone’s news. Looking forward to seeing you on 6th September. Please remember in your prayers Steve as he takes up his appointment, all of us trying to make sure that church is a “safe place” and all the congregation as we begin to meet again. May God bless you all.

Helen Riley (Senior Steward)