St Mary’s during Covid-19
Services at Mary's during Lockdown 2021
Our PCC has taken the decision to stop public worship for the time being, while infection rates are so high in the capital. This was a challenging decision to make, weighing up the value and importance of worship in our churches against solidarity with the ‘stay at home‘ message. The threat to the capacity to cope in hospitals, seen in the declaring of a major incident by the London Mayor, and the unknown qualities of the new strain crystalised the need for a painful and sad decision to close.
Please note that St Mary’s is still open for people visiting for private prayer, as part of their daily exercise, 10am – 2 pm Wednesdays to Saturdays and 11:30am – 2 pm Sundays. We respectfully ask that you observe the now common safeguards of socially distancing, using hand sanitizer (we provide this), wearing your mask and completing our Trace and Track forms (or uploading the QR code displayed).
Lockdown Service Timetable
Our Sunday @9.15am service on Zoom focuses on children and their families for both churches of our parish.
Our Sunday 10.30am Eucharist/ Service of the Word on Zoom
Please sign up to our Church Mouse communications to receive the weekly Invitation To Service and Newsletter with Zoom details. This link can be found at the bottom of the homepage. If it is Friday – Sunday you can email Rev’d John Whittaker by clicking on this link: [email protected]
We are not currently holding services on Sundays at 6pm, Tuesday mornings for pre-school children, or 12.30pm Communion on Wednesday lunchtimes.
If you would like to pray on your own, we have written this service sheet covid 19_services_at_home designed to be used at home. We invite you to express your desire to pray and worship by using this sheet for a service held at home either by your self or with members of your household.
Covid-19 Safeguards: when public worship takes place
In order to ensure that we adhere to Government’s regulations we will have a system to ensure, as far as we can, that our churches are safe places in which to congregate for services and, therefore, have more chance of staying open. To reassure you we have outlined our new system below. Obviously, we ask that if you are experiencing, or have recently experienced, any of the Covid-19 symptoms please continue to enjoy our remote services from home until after the quarantine period has elapsed in order that our services may continue safely for everyone in our community. Full, written instructions are below and you can also watch the following video to visualise what is being asked of those attending St Mary’s church. Click here for the St Mary’s video
At St Mary’s you will enter the church from the cafe and leave from the Tower door. We will have church wardens and sides people welcoming you outside the church and we ask that you queue in an orderly and socially distanced manner. Our welcoming team will also be in the church to guide you so do not worry if you can’t remember the following!
When inside the church you will see signs indicating in which direction you should walk if approaching the altar for communion (clockwise if sitting to the right of the altar, anticlockwise if on the left).
On entering the church you will have to wear a mask (unless exempt or under 11), sanitize your hands (and again if you choose to take communion). The church will be cleaned between services on a Sunday. On weekdays it will be cleaned at the end of every day it is open to the public.
Our service booklets and donation envelopes will be stored in separate boxes for you to collect at the entrance and then to deposit again when exiting. Please leave the Track and Trace forms on your seat so that our cleaning team know which seats have been in use to aid with a speedy clean after service.
It is mandatory for all those attending our services to complete a Track and Trace form (or one form for a household) and by entering the church you are agreeing to comply with this. In accordance with GDPR regulations these forms will be securely collated for 3 weeks and thereafter destroyed.
Seats will be placed at 1-2 m distances apart. Please do not move or rearrange our seats as they have been set out in a while as to maximise the number of congregants within the social distancing guidelines.
While we may have music we, as a congregation, are unable to sing together. Instead, our choir is now allowed to sing so please sit back and enjoy their voices!
You will be able to receive communion though this will be in silence and the person dispensing it will simply nod. For those seeking a blessing you will be able to collect a blessing card from the basket on the altar before kneeling so that you know the prayers Rev’d John will be making for you when he stands before you.
Please note that children are very welcome to attend our church services, however, we cannot provide Sunday School provisions so families will have to stay together in the church.
While our toilet facilities will be open we ask that, where possible, you try to avoid congesting in these areas to reduce the risk of transmission.
During services only the ground level of the church, and the toilets, will be open. The church office, stairs, gallery and Brewer Building are closed to the public. The vestry will only be for the use of deacons and the clergy will robe in the church office.
Sadly, we cannot offer post service refreshments at the moment.
We appreciate there is a lot of detail above! We hope that rather than be daunted you are reassured that we are doing everything in our power to resume church services in such a way that they may continue safely for all until “business as usual”!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Rev’d John at [email protected]