Like so many people, the Rector and Churchwardens have been monitoring the daily developments on Covid and taken (and been given) a number of opinions from around the parish on what is (and is not) appropriate for the churches to be doing with Covid. We appreciate that there is a wide range of views and we cannot please all the people all the time ….
However, our priority has been – and will remain – the protection of those who come to church, and hence we will naturally err on the side of caution. To that end we have agreed the following arrangements “for the moment” :
- We are asking all the key personnel at services; minister, choir, wardens, etc. to take a lateral flow test before the service and, if there are any concerns, not attend. While this is not a requirement, we would encourage all parishioners to consider testing before attending services.
- The latest guidance has mandated that masks should be worn in places of worship, and we ask that you comply with this. If you forget your mask, we should have a supply in each church. We know that some people are exempt from wearing masks, and we will respect this, but you may wish to be particularly aware of distancing from others.
- We ask that – in our churches – you social distance as much as you can. Please respect that other people’s view of an acceptable social distance may be a greater gap than yours. If you want to chat after the service, please can you do this outside.
- Whilst we do not expect that any of our services will reach the levels of attendance in “pre-pandemic” times, please accept that we might have to refuse entry if numbers are deemed, by the rector and / or duty wardens, to be too high.
- You should also use hand sanitiser on arrival, either your own or from a supply that will be at the entrance.
- Whilst we heat our churches (to a lesser or greater extent) we will be trying to ensure that ventilation is still present (apart from any natural draughts that come with old buildings). You may want to ensure that you wear a coat, although we don’t want to waste the heating.
- The guidance allows singing and we know that for many people singing with masks on is inconvenient (and can lead to difficulties). Some people find the basic disposable mask is slightly easier to sing through, than the full linen ones, but you may have your own preference for protection. If you are at all concerned, then please sit either at the rear of our churches, or at the side.
Service of 9 lessons and carols
Because of the need to restrict numbers in attendance, this service is – we are sorry – only for those who have already booked, either using the listings in the three churches or by contacting the churchwardens / Rector.
For those attending, you can use the hotel’s garden car park (first on the left after St Margaret’s), in addition to parking at the church. Please do avoid parking on the verges if this might make the driveway too narrow for those heading for the hotel.
Crib Services – CANCELLED
Given the high occurrence of Covid amongst school children in both the village schools, and around, as well as quite natural fears of infection so close to Christmas, we have decided that we are unable to hold crib services this year. We did look at a range of options, from multiple ticketed services to outdoor events, but there was a reluctance to commit. Our thanks to those who tried to help.
First Eucharist of Christmas
This service will start at 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve, so that we end on Christmas Day. We are keeping this service open to all who wish to attend, but will monitor numbers.
As with the Service of 9 Lessons and Carols, parking is available at the hotel as well as around the church.
Christmas Day services
The services on Christmas Day are :
9:00 St Mark’s Family Communion
10:00 St Margaret’s Family Worship
10:30 St Mary’s Christmas Mass
As with all our services, we will monitor numbers as they arrive, but attendance in recent years suggests that numbers should be manageable.
We try to keep our churches open during daylight hours, for personal prayer and reflection. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a formal service, why not drop into one of our churches and spend a bit of time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas?
Each church will have a crib in it.
We will probably close our churches after the services on Christmas Day (to allow the duty wardens to relax), but on all the other days they should be open.