Arrangements for opening St. Paul’s Church for collective worship

Certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from Covid-19. Whilst we will make every effort to mitigate the risk in line with Government guidelines it is a personal decision to attend collective worship.

Anybody who either themselves, or has a household member, showing symptoms that could possibly be related to Covid-19, or has been asked to isolate under a Government ‘test and trace’ programme, should not attend services.

  1. There are signs saying that entry to the church is through the main door only.
  2. There is a sign on the main door reminding people of self-distancing regulations and that face coverings are required unless there is a valid medical reason not to do so.
  3. Social distancing must be observed on entry to the church. If a queue is forming in inclement weather it may be necessary to expedite movement into the church.
  4. On entry a welcomer will list all persons attending and ensure we have contact details. Lists will be kept for a minimum of 21 days.
  5. There is hand sanitizer that must be used on entering.
  6. Pews have been moved to aid social distancing. Welcomers/Churchwarden will ensure that seating observes social distancing rules.
  7. Numbers attending will depend on how many family units attend. We have calculated that we can accommodate a minimum of 30 with 2 metre social distancing. However, with face coverings there can be mitigation reducing distancing to one metre if necessary. The attendance of family units will also increase capacity.
  8. We will check that there is sufficient soap and paper towels are in the toilet and water systems are working by running taps and flushing the toilet.
  9. In the Mary Wise room all chairs will be turned to face the wall or stacked. No refreshments will be served.
  10. The main church doors will be left open. Windows in the Mary Wise room will be opened if appropriate and the communicating doors left open to aid ventilation. If felt necessary windows on the south wall will also be opened.
  11. All hymn books and prayer books have been removed. Liturgy will be on screen only
  12. There will be music. The organ may be used, otherwise there will be recorded music. The congregation will be told not to sing.
  13. Children will have to stay in pews with their family. We will provide activity bags for children, which will then be returned and not used for at least 72 hours. Parents should be informed that no crèche facilities are available.
  14. Communion will be given in one kind only, though the minister will also take wine. The Eucharist will be prepared and distributed in accordance with the latest Diocese of Southwark advice. We have moved the choir pews back to widen the chancel. The congregation will approach up the main aisle and keep to the right of the chancel, stopping at least 2 metres short of the rail, before moving forward to the rail. There should be room for three people queuing in the chancel. Those who feel that they cannot safely climb the chancel step without help will be recommended to take Communion in their pew, but we intend to have someone suitably gloved and masked at the step just in case. At the chancel rail we have put four kneelers to denote where people should stand but they must not kneel to avoid contaminating the rail. They will then return via the north aisle.
  15. At the end of the service they will be asked to leave promptly via the main door, observing social distancing. The church doors will then be closed until cleaning has been completed in line with current guidance. This may mean the church does not reopen until a few minutes before the next service.
  16. There will no offertory taken, rather there will be an offertory plate left by the exit. Anyone handing the money after the service should wash their hands thoroughly. Alternatively it can be stored for 72 hours before counting.
  17. The 9.00 service will last approximately 45 minutes, allowing time for welcomers to clean surfaces before people arrive for 10.30. There will be no need for cleaning after the 10.30 unless the church is to be used within the following 72 hours.
  18. Thursday Communion will be held in the body of the church rather than the choir. Cleaning will be required after that service
  19. We intend to continue to open on Saturdays at 10.00 for private prayer, after which the church will be cleaned.
  20. Arrangements for services such as weddings, funerals and baptisms will be in line with Government or Diocesan guidelines in force at the time. The limitation of numbers attending may also be subject to our ability to accommodate them under social distancing regulations.