We are continuing to plan to open church up again for Sunday worship on Sunday 25th July & we hope you are as excited as us to be able to meet together back in Lister. The government announced that most legal restrictions would be lifted this month & that it expects people to use personal judgement. That has made our plans quite difficult to make, as we balance opening up church as much as possible & ensuring we provide a safe environment for members during the current increasing number of cases. Based on feedback & the revised rules just announced we have changed our original plans, so please read the below carefully. Sorry, there is a lot to take in but we believe this will helps dispel concerns & answer the many questions people have. These are initial provisions we have come up with for opening which gives us something to build on as we learn to live with Covid over the coming weeks.
· We will open on 25th July although we recognise that infection rates are high so retain some restrictions as below to keep us safe.
· We will keep to the 11am start for now, although in due course we will aim return to our normal 10:30am
· Services will remain shorter for now (max. 1 hour)
· Windows and main doors will remain open for ventilation.
Whilst there will be no government restrictions on mask wearing, guidance is to wear them in high-risk indoor settings & during activities which generate more particles such as singing.
· We would therefore ask & expect that people wear masks as follows: -
· Masks upon entry and exit
· Masks whilst singing
· No mask required when not singing and sat in seats.
· Masks when walking around the church building.
· Disposable masks will be available to people who forget masks.
· If you want to wear a mask all the time that is absolutely fine, we completely respect your personal judgement.
· Children do not need to wear masks except those of senior school up, who follow the above guidance.
· Wearing of masks is respectful to others, so please follow the above as we care for each other.
Coming into church
· We will not have a booking system, as we believe our capacity is well above expected attendance levels.
· We will not be registering people in, but there will be the option to QR code yourself if you would like to or register your details (please bring your own pen).
· There will be a sanitising station at the doorway (outside kitchen door) & sanitiser throughout the building.
· Our main entrance will be used as entrance & exit so do not clog the doorway. Please wait either inside or outside rather than cross in that area.
· Please move to your seat as quickly as possible.
· Chairs are spaced in groupings, and you can decide where you want to sit & feel most comfortable with.
· Those more cautious or for medical reasons can sit in an area that is more spaced out, (the windows side of the building)
· In the centre & next to the baptistry are more normal longer rows (although rows are spaced substantially more than pre Covid)
· A more open area at the back of church allows families with young children be free either sit on chairs, on the floor, on bean bags. Whilst there being plenty of space to be able to play a game, colour, read …basically be kids!
· For those senior school children wishing to sit with their friends, there is a row for them just in front of the audio-visual desk if they are comfortable using that.
· As per government guidance we would encourage people to be in family bubbles however you can choose to sit with another family as long as you both agree. We particularly appreciate that individuals who come on their own may wish to sit with someone else its part of being in fellowship. However please respect each other’s wishes & check that all are comfortable with this, remember use personal judgement & common sense.
· Children are a key part of our church & we want them & families to feel comfortable in the service, that’s why we have set the relaxed carpeted area at the back for them as above.
· If your child needs a bit more space then please feel free to use the Rainbows room, you can still listen via the online service.
· We are still working on how to provide children’s work safely but hoping to have a ‘live Light’ provision in the hall/garden during part of the service but this is unlikely to be until the 22nd August after the next govt changes.
· In the meantime the light team are putting together individual named packs of resources for each child to keep them busy during the service, these will be given out & collected in after the service.
· Please feel free to bring own games & toys, wipes will be provided to keep them clean .
· The online 10:00am Light will continue as is until at least September, when we will review again.
· Finally the Light team are seeing if we can put on pre church picnic breakfasts /activities on some weeks, further info once we have more details.
· We are working through how this prepared & served to avoid touching of bread.
· We initially plan to move this to just once a month, the next one being the 8th August.
After the service
· We would encourage people to leave the building as soon as possible, but in an orderly fashion to not over crowd the entrance.
· The preacher & leaders will be outside to chat with you.
· We would encourage Socialising in the carpark where it is safer; & we will cordon off part of the car park for this.
· For families with young children it may be safer for you to catch up inside the building & that is fine to remain there if you wish.
· Please do catch up with each other, that’s being family. But also please respect each other’s space when doing so.
· We may offer coffee & tea in coming weeks.
What else can I do to protect others?
· Many people are taking twice weekly lateral flow tests, if that’s you why not take it before attending church? If you are feeling ill & specifically have Covid 19 symptoms, please do not attend. Symptoms are: -
o A new continuous cough
o A high temperature
o Loss or change in your normal sense of taste or smell.
· If you have been in close contact with someone who has Covid 19 please do not attend until you have isolated.
· We appreciate there are those who may not yet feel comfortable to attend in person. So, we will be continuing with our live broadcast via the ‘online church’. It’s not ‘songs of praise’ though! & the cameras will be focused on the Worship group /preacher not the congregation, although it may catch the back of a head whilst singing or a raised hand of worship, but no need for your best hat!
· The cameras are forward facing & will definitely not capture anyone sat on the carpeted area if you have a specific concern about being on.
Still to do
· We are following the Baptist Unions guidance on opening church & are completing their Risk Assessments.
· Important - We will need extra help particularly with stewarding/welcome , as we safely guide people in. If you can help let the office know - firstname.lastname@example.org . If we don’t have the help, we won’t be able to open up, so please don’t leave it to others.
If you still do not feel you are able to join the live worship that absolutely fine, we all have to make personal judgements & we do understand that, please do join in with our online services. We would encourage everyone in our church to keep in touch, particularly with those not able to attend in person.
Thank you for your patience as we move to opening, it will feel a little strange at first but there is great excitement at being back together, being able to Worship in Lister & be able to support each other as we meet again in person.