Post lockdown gatherings
I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
On 19th July the legal obligations related to churches have changed. There will be no requirement for social distancing and mask wearing nor guidance for churches that has effectively prohibited singing. There will also be freedom to celebrate communion and baptisms in the normal way.
We want everyone to feel safe, for no one to feel left out. We also want to witness to the wider community that they feel respected, safe and welcome.
If you are not able to meet with us for health reasons or your own assessment of risk we will greatly miss you being with us but want to assure you that you are still very much part of the church family here. We are still brothers and sisters in unity and the Lord Jesus Christ is present in his church. We will still be sharing fellowship in listening to his word, praying and praising him and encouraging one another. Now that restrictions have eased we will do our best to maintain the high quality of livestream experience that we have been able to deliver up to now, so that we can all continue to feel included.
We cannot eliminate all risks but in order to maximise the safety of the congregation and minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission as much as reasonably possible, Christ Church Haywards Heath has put in place the following changes and procedures. Overall there are two main pillars for keeping us all safe:
- Minimising the possibility of those with the virus attending our service.
- Minimising the possibility of anyone with the virus passing it on to anyone else in the service by strict hygiene and cleaning processes.
Attending a Sunday morning gathering at Warden Park Primary Academy
Before the meeting
The building will have been cleaned by WPPA and left unoccupied since Saturday afternoon. However we will wipe all the main surfaces likely to be touched by anyone entering or leaving the building. The children’s groups will have their pre and post-meeting routines.
We encourage people to walk to the meeting where possible but there will be parking available in the school rear playground (morning) and front playground (evening). We also advise people to bring their own drinks if necessary as we are not providing refreshments at this time.
Entry for the majority of us will be at one point – the main school entrance.
Children will be seated in the main meeting hall and will be invited to go to their groups at a convenient point during the service. Children will remain in their group meeting rooms for the remainder of the service. The exception to this will be All Age services when the children are in with their parents for the duration. (Crèche will run every week).
We ask attendees to queue for entry as normal. A steward will be at the entrance and will ask those attending to confirm that they are not displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or in a household of anyone who has symptoms or is awaiting a test result.
Immediately upon entering the building through the main front doors, attendees will need to clean their hands with antibacterial gel, provided in dispensers, and monitored by the steward on the door.
Attendees will not be permitted further into the building without sanitising their hands in this way.
All doors will be wedged open so that they need not be touched. If anybody touches a surface, a steward will wipe the surface with disinfectant as soon as is reasonably possible.
Normal fire and evacuation procedures will apply in the event of an emergency including the use of all available exits.
No objects such as books, Bibles, bulletins or other papers will be handed out. Attendees will have been reminded to bring their own Bibles and other necessary items.
Attendees can sit wherever they choose and are now welcome to sit directly next to other household bubbles. Should you prefer not to sit directly next to others then please alert a steward who will block out a seat next to you to ensure distancing from others.
During the service
If, during the service, a visitor, volunteer or speaker shows symptoms of COVID-19 they will be immediately asked to leave by a steward or the service leader.
Attendees are welcome to use the toilets as usual. After using the facilities, users will wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, drying their hands with a disposable towel and placing this in an open bin. Users will then clean any surfaces touched with disinfectant wipes, including toilet seats, flush handle, taps, light switches and door handles. These wipes will be disposed of in open bins upon leaving the toilet corridor. Children under the age of 11 will be accompanied to the toilets by a parent/carer.
As part of our service on the first Sunday of every month we will take communion. We will encourage people to bring their own bread and juice for use by those in their household.
There will be some bread and wine available for those who would like to take communion but have forgotten. This will be in separated small cubes of bread and juice in individual cups available as people arrive. People will have moments before sanitising their hands on entry and so the risk of passing on infection by picking up the bread are very low.
This bread will be prepared beforehand with the person doing so washing their hands then wearing gloves to cut the bread. Once the bread has been cut and laid out, it will not be touched by anyone apart from the individual who will then take it.
The leader will conduct the service from the front in the normal way but will not share the bread and the cup.
The leader will also arrange his own bread and cup and wash them up afterwards.
After the service
On a “normal service” week, parents/carers will collect their children (with the exception of crèche) inside the building after the service has finished.
Wheelchair users will be assisted to exit the building via the main entrance, which has step free access.
Any surfaces touched, and the toilet areas will be thoroughly cleaned after the service by the stewards.
Sunday evening meetings
Sunday evening meetings follow a similar structure and set of rules as the morning meetings. Surfaces and chairs will be sanitised in-between the morning and evening meetings.
As we have recently been learning in 1 Peter we want to “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor”. (1 Peter 2:17)
We do not ultimately fear the virus or trust in our strategies but we fear God and trust him to provide and protect.
Please note that we have compiled the risk assessments and this guidance based on government guidance and the interpretations used by the FIEC, The Church of England and the Baptist Union.