Roadmap for Bowland Benefice as we move out of restrictions
We have had a good response to our recent questionnaire that was sent out to Benefice reps, and I am able now to give some directions relating to our ongoing public worship in our various churches. It is, of course, all about keeping a healthy balance between giving our congregations a sense of hope and being able to look forward with prayerful confidence into the future. One quote that I saw recently struck me: ‘Most people are wanting to move forward, but to do so gently, rather than open up at full pelt’. I feel the same,as do most people who responded to the questionnaire.
This is how I feel we should do it: As we only have a weekly Holy Communion service across the Benefice during August, I suggest we remain as we are until September, when we should be in a position to begin to make a few changes. Numbers of cases seem to be falling across the UK, and this will be reflected in Wychavon, no doubt. We will also need to be aware of our Christmas rota this year, and what we can do safely.
- Retain sanitising/masks/social distancing for the moment
- Dispense with QR code, but retain list of people who attend.
- Stay in pews as we offer the Peace to one another
- Communion in one kind only for the moment
- Continue with sanitising/covering of elements during HC
- No offertory procession at the moment (plate at back of church)
- Continue to sing together outside for the moment (review for September re singing with masks inside, and eventually without masks)
- If hymns are chosen for funerals/weddings there will be strong encouragement to use masks, but this must be based on the decision of the incumbent/families concerned for that particular occasion)
- Extra cleaning of churches only if necessary
- Refreshments to be offered from September outside, to be reviewed during the autumn regarding offering inside
- Other events (school/Harvest/flower festivals, etc) only after consultation with PCCs/clergy
The key words in all this are review and monitor – we have had a lot of uncertainty over the past 18 months, and we need to have great regard and respect for each member of our congregations- especially those who wish to return to church in a safe environment. Things are indeed changing for the better, but we need to maintain right judgement in what has been a volatile situation.
With our best wishes,
Revd. Gary and Revd. Claire