Please read this important information and guidelines regarding return to in-church worship
First published on 2 July 2020
I hope this finds you all well. These past few months have been a very strange time for us all. I hope you have still managed to feel connected to St Molua’s via our online and phone services.
You will have heard on the news that churches are now allowed to open for public worship, providing certain conditions are adhered to. We have received advice from the Diocese, the wider church and local government. It is recognised that all churches are different, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to reopening.
You will appreciate that we must adjust the way we normally do things, in order to avoid undue risk and provide a setting for public worship that is as safe as possible. A team have been working hard behind the scenes to see what that may mean for us at St Molua’s.
We are pleased to say that we plan to reopen our doors for public worship on Sunday 2nd August at 10.30am.
We look forward to seeing familiar faces, those returning after an absence, and those who may be coming along to St Molua’s for the first time.
We acknowledge that some people may not plan to return at this time, and know that some parishioners have been shielding. Others may feel reluctant or uncertain about being in a public indoor space. Please do not feel that you have to rush back to church, only attend if you feel it is right for you and your circumstances. It is important that you follow all medical advice.
In order that we protect one another:
Please do not attend church if you or a member of your household are experiencing, or not yet recovered from, symptoms of Covid-19 or if you are in an at-risk group.
We offer our continued prayers for those going through any difficulties. If you need to stay at home in the next period, please do continue to let us know if you need any practical or prayerful help.
Please also be assured that our on-going digital services and phone services will continue, so even if you are unable to attend you will still be part of our worshipping community at St Molua’s.
On Facebook: facebook.com/StMoluasChurch/
By phone: 028 9124 9396 (local call charges may apply see stmoluasonline.com/worship/ for more information)
Guidelines for attending in-church services
Please do note that the church building will look different for some time as we implement the guidelines regarding safety.
Please be assured that we have been diligent in making our buildings as safe as possible and have been following all government and church guidelines.
It is recognised however that no activity is without some form of risk.
All public indoor environments have now changed, and churches are no different in having to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
Most of us will have encountered social distancing guidelines over the last few months. We will be adhering to the 2m social distancing policy as advised by the Diocese.
In compliance with guidelines, we will be operating one weekly service for the foreseeable future. This will be on Sundays at 10.30am.
Unfortunately we will be unable to offer any post service refreshments, and congregating in groups outside church buildings for any length of time before or after the service is discouraged.
When you arrive at church
The main church entrance will be used.
Church Wardens / welcome team will be at the main entrance to help you with any information or assistance you need.
Everyone will be asked to sanitise their hands at the entrance (sanitiser will be provided) and to keep social distance at all times, especially at entrances and exits.
When you come along to church a record of your attendance and contact number / email will be needed, in case a ‘contact tracing process’ needs to take place (in the event of a Covid positive person attending.)
A member of the welcome team will be at the door to take your details, rather than each person individually ‘signing in’.
Please do try to avoid overcrowding at the entrance.
The church will fill up seating from the front to back (unless someone needs to sit near exits for health reasons) and operating a one-way system. Please take guidance from church wardens. At the end of the service we will exit row by row from the back pew first.
Some pews will be blocked for social distancing.
Households do not need to social distance and can sit together as long as the next person (or household) is 2 metres away.
Attendees should avoid touching surfaces apart from where they are sitting.
Please follow any government guidance regarding face coverings.
Face coverings are recommended by Stormont, but are not a requirement. There is freedom for each individual to decide – unless government guidelines dictate otherwise.
Tissues will be provided if needed, but please try to remember to bring your own. Pedal bins will be available for their safe disposal.
All services will be shorter in duration. The service will be conducted using a screen / service sheets and there will be no books in the pews. Parishioners can bring their own bibles and prayer books if desired.
As singing can spread Covid-19, it will not be encouraged for the time being, however we do still intend to incorporate music into our services.
If a person experiences symptoms of Covid-19 during a service they should inform a church warden or staff person immediately. The side chapel has been designated as an ‘isolation area’ if the need arises.
Toilets will be closed apart from emergencies.
When you leave, please ensure you take all belongings with you, and remove any waste, tissues etc. and place in the pedal bins provided.
The offering will be taken at the exit as you leave, no collection plates will be passed around. Many people are now choosing to contribute to the church via standing order or bank transfer. If you would like to contribute in this way, please ask for further details or check out the Giving to St Molua’s section on our website. Thank you for your continued generous support of the mission and ministry of our parish.
A long list of regulations and guidelines is not exactly the welcome back to church we would have hoped for, but we do hope that you will realise that these guidelines have been put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. We pray for the time when we can gather together as we would have pre-lockdown.
Thank you for adhering to these guidelines. This is a working document and subject to change as / when guidance is updated.
Whether you choose to worship at home, or in the church building, we are all part of the family of God, united in our worship of Almighty God together.
Stay safe and be blessed.
Yours in Christ,