OUR CHURCHES ARE OPEN FOR SUNDAY SERVICES

CHANGES FOLLOWING THE MOVE TO STEP 4 ON MONDAY 19th JULY 2021

As you are aware, all restrictions have been lifted. The Church of England issued a 12-page document with their guidance following receipt of the Government guidance. The Clergy have spoken to several people within the Team with regards to how they feel about the removal of restrictions. While many will be welcoming the return to ‘normality’ and the change to ‘mingle’ again there are many who are still quite apprehensive in light of the rise in cases of coronavirus and who would feel more comfortable if these restrictions remain in place for a while longer. What follows is a ‘middle way’ striking the balance between removal of restrictions and prudent caution.

St Mary Magdalene, St Lawrence and St Nicolas will remain with the socially distanced seating in place. All Saints and St Mary’s will remove some of the social distancing signs leaving an area (near the back) for those who would still rather remain socially distanced from others.

FACE COVERINGS

Please note this quote from the C of E guidance: we will invite, though we cannot compel, parishioners to continue to wear face coverings.

“Although it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the government has stated that it ‘expects and recommends’ that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others”.

SINGING

The congregations will once again be able to sing hymns during our services, which we know will be welcomed by many. We can now use hymn books again too.

Please note this quote from the C of E guidance:

“Can we sing and perform music in church?

Yes, from 19 July singing and musical performances of all kinds are allowed in churches, including congregational singing, and choirs and worship groups can perform without legal limitations.

However, some activities can also increase the risk of catching or passing on coronavirus. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing or raising their voices. The risk is greatest where these activities take place when people are in close contact with others indoors, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces. In these situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on the virus, we advise additional precautions should be considered.

Precautions to reduce transmission of the virus can include improving ventilation, using a larger space, reducing the number of participants, shortening the duration of activity and wearing face coverings.”

ADMINISTRATION OF HOLY COMMUNION

For the current time, this will remain as it has been, with those churches that have been intincting the bread as now. The Priest distributing Holy Communion will continue to wear a mask while doing so.

At All Saints only the chalice will be offered but it is not compulsory and it is entirely your personal choice to receive in one or both kinds. The minister of the chalice will be stood a distance from the celebrant.

REFRESHMENTS

There being no restrictions on serving food and drink, we will once again be able to offer refreshments after our services.

See quote from the C of E guidance:

“Can we provide food and drink?

Yes, there are no longer any restrictions on serving food and drink, and people no longer have to be seated in their households or bubbles to eat and drink. You should still consider ways to protect those doing the serving and washing up, such as providing gloves and appropriate cleaning materials. Government guidance that face coverings are expected and recommended in crowded and close-contact settings should be taken into account.”

TEST AND TRACE

We will continue to display the NHS QR code and ask people to sign a sheet on entry to church.

Please see quote from the C of E guidance:

“The government is asking that venues do continue to ask people to register for venue check in (the QR code) as it will continue to form one of the main ways of them identifying people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. Testing, contact tracing and self-isolation will remain in place as key protections against the virus – including the need to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone who test positive. That requirement will be lifted for double-vaccinated people and under 18’s on 16th August.”

As we continue to meet together, please be aware that there are likely to be people who will be uncomfortable standing close to others who they don’t live with, for a variety of reasons. Please therefore do not be offended if they move away from you while at a service – they will have their reasons, i.e. undergoing hospital treatment, waiting for a hospital treatment, caring for someone who is clinically vulnerable.

THE PEACE

The Peace should still be shared in a way that does not involve touching.

Churches will have to do updated Risk Assessments for the new post 19th July regime. This can be done using the existing template and updating it.

Revd Nick Bromfield, Team Rector 21st July 2021

The situation is changing rapidly on a day to day basis and we have many outlets for information, therefore please refer to this page in the first instance for the latest information. You can view our latest news sheet online and also sign up to our mailing list.

Our services and events - we are able to remain open for our Sunday services and also for Individual Private Prayer

The North Cheltenham Team Ministry is following current Church of England advice which can be found by clicking here.

Three of our Churches are open for Private Prayer as follows:

St Mary’s Church, Prestbury will be open for private prayer:

Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am until 4.00 pm


All Saints Church, Pittville will be open for private prayer:

Wednesdays from 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm

Saturdays from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon


St Lawrence Church will be open for private prayer:

Wednesdays from 10.00 am – 12.00 noon

Funerals can still take place with the limit on the amount of mourners now very much dependant on the size of each church, therefore, please ask our Clergy or Kate in the Office regarding the limit for these.

Weddings are limited to 30 people at the service.

Baptisms are also limited to 30 people at the service.

We are endeavouring to keep in contact with you all through various platforms and by offering online services and prayers.

All our online services can be viewed by visiting our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Keeping in touch

We now have the ability to send out messages via WhatsApp - Please add "01242 244 373" to your phone book. Send a WhatsApp message giving your full name NOTE this only currently works for WhatsApp - not text messages and don't forget to join our email mailing list.

Information regarding funerals:

Although there has been a change in the guidelines surrounding funerals, there are still guidelines and limits on those attending, therefore we ask that you remain at home as per the Government guidelines and light a candle at the time of the funeral as listed on the News sheet and say a prayer (see below). When we book a funeral we ask the family for a guest list which we will use for those in attendance. We are offering all families who have lost loved ones at this time a memorial service in the future if they so wish. Please also remember at this difficult time for many the families and friends who are mourning loved ones, as well as the Funeral Directors who are dealing with arranging funerals under difficult circumstances and the clergy who are supporting those in mourning.

Dear God,

Thank you for (name), for all that they meant to me and to others.

I so wanted to say goodbye, to be alongside my friends and family.

Help me to know you are there,

Holding all my hopes,

Holding all those I Love, especially (name),

And holding me this day.

Be close with your peace and hope.

Amen.

Loving God,

Life is so strange just now – I don’t know what to do.

Comfort me with your presence,

Be with all who grieve

And give us strength and courage to face this and all the days ahead.

Amen.

God of love,

Surround all those I love,

Especially those I can no longer meet.

Be light in my darkness,

Be hope in my fear,

Be love in every moment,

And give me grace to face each day ahead.

Amen.