Re-opening of church buildings for public worship
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well.
I am delighted to inform you that following the announcement by the Government that church buildings may re-open for public worship with effect from 4th July 2020, we will be holding services of Holy Communion on Sunday 5th July, at St Andrew’s at 9.30am and at Holy Cross at 11.15am.
Please be reassured that the decision has been made after careful thought and following detailed risk assessments at both buildings to be sure that we can do this in the knowledge that both social distancing and stringent hygiene requirements are in place.
There are a number of requirements that everyone attending services will be required to meet and I have noted these below.
Capacity and Seating
In order to ensure that we maintain social distancing requirements the number of people who will be able to attend a service at any one time will need to be limited.
At St Andrew’s we can accommodate 22 people and at Holy Cross 15. This is in addition to those leading the services and undertaking the welcoming and stewarding.
Seating at St Andrew’s has been set out as single chairs but where members of the same household or support bubble attend together they are very welcome to move chairs together.
At Holy Cross we have limited the number of pews and chairs that can be used and but similarly those attending who are from the same household/social bubble are very welcome to sit together.
Please note that when either building has reached capacity no more people will be admitted.
All those attending will be required to use hand gel on arrival and we will also taking a note of those who are present to ensure compliance with the track and trace programme.
There will be no sung worship although we will have music playing.
Offertory plates will be placed at the entrances of both churches for people to leave their offerings in.
We are unable to share the Peace in the way we would normally do so.
Holy Communion will be distributed by the presiding priest in one kind only – that is the host/wafer.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide refreshments either before or after services.
There will be welcomers on hand at both churches to guide you and there will be supplies of hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes available. Face coverings are not required but if you would feel safer wearing one that is absolutely fine.
I am aware that there are many people in our parish family who will still be unable to attend church for a variety of reasons so the service at St Andrew’s will continue to be live streamed via our Facebook page and uploaded to our YouTube channel.
In addition to the Sunday services the Mid-Week Service at Holy Cross will recommence on Wednesday 8th July at 9.30 and Morning Prayer will be held at St Andrew’s on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.00am. All social distancing and hygiene requirements will be adhered to for these gatherings as well.
I know that these are still strange and challenging times and while it will wonderful to be able to meet together for corporate worship, we must be mindful of those who are unable to join us and continue to pray for our parish family and the wider community.
I would also ask for your patience and understanding as worship is gradually re-established. There will no doubt be some teething problems but I am sure if we keep the Gospel principles of loving God and each other we will overcome these together.
In the meantime if anyone has any concerns about the re-opening or indeed any other matter that I may be able to help with, please do not hesitate to contact me.
With love , prayers and blessings
Revd. Canon Jane Richards
Vicar – Parish of Basildon, St Andrew’s with Holy Cross
Area Dean – Basildon Deanery