First Steps in cautiously re-opening some churches for private prayer

Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 27th June) St James’ Church, Nayland will re-open from 2pm until 4pm for Individuals (or members from the same household) to come for Private Prayer.

This marks the beginning of the first phase of the churches in this Benefice cautiously easing restrictions following the closure of churches back in March,

We are grateful for our volunteers and leaders who have made this possible (we are sure that you will appreciate that there have been a lot of details to examine and put in place as we worked through the Government’s guidelines), but most of all we are grateful for your continued patience and understanding.

It is however important to note that if you plan to come to St James’ Church to pray, then you will notice a number of physical changes and there will also be some practical precautions you will need to abide with:

In order to observe social distancing of 2m between individuals or household you will notice that some areas of the church are marked off, and that only limited numbers can be accommodated at any one time (maximum of 7 individuals/households), so you may have to wait for another individual/household to leave the church before you can enter. The church will also have a one way system in place and only a limited number of pews will be available to sit in.

On entering the church you will be asked to sanitise your hands and to leave your name and contact details (this will be held for no more than 3 weeks before being destroyed, but will enable someone to contact you should another individual or household group fall ill with the virus) with the person supervising (initially this will be Revd Mark – who will also be available for pastoral support if necessary). Whilst not mandatory, you may choose to bring and wear your own face mask.

When moving through the church, please avoid touching surfaces, pews or other objects where possible.

Children must be supervised at all times and also follow the social distancing guidelines.

Please note that all bibles and other reading materials have temporarily been removed, so you may wish to bring your own bible or prayer book if required.

The Government guidelines state that you should NOT attend private prayer if:
• You have COVID-19 symptoms
• You are in an at risk group (which includes being over 70yrs old),
• You are shielding or self-isolating.

When you are ready to leave, please follow the one way system in place, sanitising your hands before exiting. The pew will then be sanitised to allow the next individual to use it.

If after attending church you subsequently develop symptoms of COVID-19, please contact Revd Mark or a churchwarden, so that we can, in confidence, notify others who may have come into contact with you during your visit.

Provided this works smoothly, it is the intention that St James’ Church, Nayland will be open for private prayer each Saturday and Tuesday from 2pm-4pm.

It is hoped that from 5th July, St Mary’s Church in Stoke-by-Nayland will also open for Individual Private Prayer, it will open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 2pm-4pm.

In due course we hope to be able to begin a limited number of Eucharistic Services in one or two of the churches in the benefice (albeit with very limited numbers being present and with additional hygiene precautions) but we are awaiting updated guidelines from the government and the Church of England to facilitate this.

In the meantime we will continue to Broadcast services to the Benefice Facebook and YouTube pages, and Revd Mark can be contacted if you would like prayer support or resources to use at home.

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