My dear friends,
As I said at Parish Mass on July 18th I would study ‘The House of Bishops COVID 19 Recovery Group’ Guidelines that makes it clear “The Responsibility for making
Decisions about how to proceed lies with incumbent.” I have thus studied them at length and further discussed my decisions with Fr. Andrew and the Churchwardens.
The overriding theme of the document based on 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is that “we are called to be responsible to and for one another” and that with lifting of restrictions, “for many people ..this .. Is a source of anxiety.”
To this end we shall encourage the wearing of face masks while entering and moving around the Church Building and hand sanitiser will continue to be available at the entrances and exits, the one-way systems being abandoned. The Register will also be taken before Parish Mass though you will not have to sign in and out through the week.. On Sundays the complete rite will continue to be available for you to collect from the pile and through the week you will continue to need your laminated cards.
The “Bubble Seating” tape will be removed but aware that there will be some folk who do not wish to risk anyone sitting next to them single seats will be available at the front of the Church. This will allow for the maintenance of the family tables at the back on Sundays and the use of the more intimate chapels of S Martin and the Sacred Heart for mid-week celebrations.
We shall not be inviting you to share the sign of peace either. In the light of the
previous paragraph, while there has been a non contact trend we urge that this be only with those in the same row and never turn back as you may cause unease to someone sitting behind you.
All of these factors have led me to decide to continue with the administration of communion in one kind with the minister wearing a face –covering and not using words. The same, I am sorry to say is the reasons I am not re-introducing singing at present.
It will be a joy to reintroduce further lay participation during the liturgy:. The reading and intercession rota will come into force on Sunday August 1st. I take this opportunity to remind you that those who are asked to do the first reading and psalm should move (masked) to the lectern during the Collect and for the second during the last verse of the Psalm: please also note that, after pausing at the end of the reading the versicle is simple ’The Word of The Lord’, not as it was, ’This is the Word of the Lord. Those leading the bidding prayer should move likewise in the last paragraph of the creed. It is further helpful for devotion that the pauses in the prayers, and after the readings, be given a slow count of 3.
Please be assured the same rigidity of cleaning seats after mid-week Masses and of fogging the whole building weekly will continue.
On a more positive note we can now provide refreshment and after a suitable time of adjusting to the new systems tea and coffee will come back in not too long a time and we shall be discussing the pros and cons of holding a Parish Lunch in the not to distant future.
While some of these decisions I know will disappoint some I hope that they will bring comfort to others and continue to unite us as a pilgrim family here.
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