Service 11th July 2020 & Booking in

Service 11th July 2020 & Booking in

I was glad when they said unto me, “let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122 v1)

Dear Friends,

Wonderful news! After the successful trial with a limited congregation last week we will be open for anyone in church this Sunday, 12 July at 10.30 in Standon. We will be continuing at Standon for the whole of July as we fine tune the system and sort out how to do live streaming at Little Munden. That is the headline but, as you can imagine, there is a lot more that needs to be said.

First, it is essential that anyone who wishes to come books first with Marion. It will be necessary to send her an email, you can use the details on the contact us page. Requests can be made from Monday morning to Friday evening. Bookings will be on a first come, first served basis. Marion will respond to each email to say if a space has been allocated or not. If someone is not on email, they can ask a friend to email for them. If people do not get a place in that week, they will be given priority for the following week, if that is desired. Also we will only be taking bookings for two weeks ahead, otherwise it will get too complicated. However please book - it would be great to be inundated with people wishing to worship rather than the other way around! Frankly we have no idea of what the demand will be, and it will be a bit of an experimental journey to begin with. Please bear with us!

You may be asking why it is necessary to have a booking system at all. The answer is that we will be doing everything to keep people safe and to keep within the government and church guidelines for safety. Therefore, the service will look somewhat different so that safety can be maintained.

  • Seating will be in alternate pews with one person per pew or one household or “bubble” sitting together. Pews and seats will need to be occupied from the front with the first arriving going to the front. So, the deeply held Anglican tradition of filling from the back will need to stop!
  • There will be no congregational singing and guidance advises no raised voices, because of the potential for increased risk of transmission. Spoken responses should also not be in a raised voice.
  • There’ll be no cash collection. Please continue to give to the work of your churches online or send your donation directly to one of the treasurers.
  • Use of sanitiser will be obligatory.
  • The toilets will be shut for now.
  • Similarly the kitchen will be closed, so we cannot offer refreshments after the service.
  • You will be given your own service sheet/booklet for you to keep and bring to following services. These will be produced hygienically. Please feel free to bring your own Bible or use an app.
  • You’ll be asked to leave church without lingering at the end of the service as directed from the south or west door. Outside, you can of course gather in a group of up to six (with social distancing) to chat with each other and catch up.
  • Wearing of face masks will be voluntary but perfectly acceptable.
  • Those leading the service will sanitise as appropriate at different times.
  • Government guidance includes a request that we keep a record of attendees for “track and trace” purposes. Thus, you need to be aware that Marion’s records of who attends will be kept for 21 days and then disposed of.
  • Please arrive early. It will take longer than usual to get into church and, since we are live streaming, we will need to start on time.
  • The service for now will be Holy Communion.
    Please bring your own bread and wine.

So, who can attend?

  • Firstly, anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend owing to the risk they pose to others.
  • Those who are shielding are not advised to attend places of worship.
  • We are also asked to remind you of current government advice which is that those who are at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their household. But I know that there are many over 70s who are longing to return and would consider this as essential for their spiritual well-being. The decision will be yours.
  • Children are very welcome but will need to be closely supervised by parents/guardians and kept with them at all times. None of the usual toys will be available.

Some final points:

  • The service will be live streamed for any who cannot attend.
  • For the remainder of this month there are major roadworks in Standon. The road into Standon High Street from the A120 is now permanently shut (a development today) until the end of July. The only way into and out of the High Street is via Bromley Lane (and Wellpond Green or Much Hadham). Furthermore, this Sunday the A120 is also closed on the Bishop Stortford side of the High Street. However, Philip Smith, opposite the vicarage, has kindly given us permission to park in his farmyard from where you can walk. I would advise parking there if at all possible. In any case, please be especially polite to any workmen you meet. They have been badly abused in their work in a very unfair way.
  • Our midweek services and the Centre and early Sunday services will resume at a later date. We need to learn to walk before we run.
  • As we are returning to church, Saturday 11 July will be the last of my daily Morning Prayer videos. It has been a joy to do and a learning process for me. Thank you to all those who have had this as part of their spiritual discipline. It is a wrench to stop but as things begin to open up the workload is increasing for me in other areas and also attendance is starting to decline (presumably for similar reasons). Therefore, I think it is better to stop on a high.
  • Re-opening our churches for public worship will inevitably be a time of mixed emotions – joy at being able to come together to worship in our church buildings; sadness for the loss or absence of some members of our church communities; uncertainty about what the future “new normal” may be. Keep praying that we may stay as one and praise God!

I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday!

With much love in Christ
John