Vicars Message

A message from the Vicar updated 6th July

  

06 July 2020


Dear Christian Friends

Returning to Public Worship

You will be aware by now that the Government has given the go-ahead for ‘Places of Worship’ to be open for public worship from 4 July 2020.  This permission was permissive, and Bishop Keith, Archdeacon Ian and Archdeacon Mike have stressed that the return to public worship in parishes should be steady and safe.

Together with the Churchwardens, Standing Committees and PCCs of the 4 churches, I have now been able to give careful consideration to what I hope is a realistic a provision of services for the time-being.

A number of factors will mean that in this area of life, as well as in many others, a degree of flexibility will be required and this provision will be kept under review in all 4 churches.

For now, Services will be:


Acton

Church Minshull

Worleston

12 July

11.00 am
A service of Lament, Thanksgiving and Restoration

11.00 am
Café Church

9.30
Morning Prayer

19 July

5.00 pm
Evensong

11.00 am
Communion 


23 July

11.00 am
Communion

11.00 am
Informal Service

9.30
Morning Prayer

2 August

11.00 am
Communion

9.30 am
Service of the Word

9.30 am
Patronal Festival


Public Worship in Wettenhall will resume in September.



Once other churches return to worship, some adjustment may be required, depending on who is available to lead worship.  Please bear in mind most of those licensed to lead worship in the parishes, together with a number of lay worship leaders, are deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ and the decision to lead worship is theirs, and theirs alone and no-one will be asked to lead worship unless they wish to do so.

Every effort has been made to ensure that all Government and Church of England advice has been followed to ensure that church buildings are ‘COVID-secure’.  However, I am required to remind those who are ‘vulnerable’ or ‘shielded’ of government advice in relation to these groups.

Those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘shielded’

The advice to those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ by reason of age or underlying health conditions continues to be to stay at home when at all possible. For those who are ‘shielded’, please follow the advice received in the letter telling you that you are in this category.  The decision about whether to attend public worship is the decision of the individual.  Those who decide to continue to self-isolate for the time-being have my full support.  If it helps to make that decision, I have decide that in order to make public worship possible for those who wish to come, I will take services as I have taken funerals throughout lockdown, but I continue to self-isolate for all other purposes.


What can I expect when I come to church?


COVID-19 has not gone away.  This means that, whilst every effort has been made to ensure that our church building is COVID-secure, a number of measures need to be taken to make sure we are all as safe as possible as we begin to gather together again.  All measures have been taken in line with advice issued by the government and the Church of England.


Social Distancing

Everything has been done to ensure that those from different households remain 2 meters apart from each other at all times.  Please do everything you can to keep others safe by observing the measures which have been taken to ensure this happens by following any visual markings or spoken instructions given to you.  Please enter by the west door and exit by the south porch make your way straight to one of the pews.  You will find that some of the pews are roped off to help maintain social distancing and keep us all safe. 


Hand Sanitising, Face Masks etc
Touch-free hand sanitisers are positioned by the entrance and exit to the building.  Please sanitise your hands on the way into the building and on the way out.


Because we are able to maintain 2 meter social distancing, the wearing of face masks and gloves is voluntary, and entirely the decision of individuals.


Track and Trace

Your names will be recorded for Track and Trace purposes, as required by government legislation.  This information will be kept for 21 days, and in line with GDPR (data protection) this will be destroyed after that time.



Hymn Singing

I know that for many, hymn singing is an essential part of worship.  At the moment singing of any kind in public worship is not possible.  It will be possible to listen to music, and where appropriate music to be listened too will be included as part of the service. 


Communion

Communion services are possible.  For now, as you might expect, it is not possible to share the common cup.  Please be assured that receiving the bread only is a valid Communion. The Communion will be celebrated at the main altar, but will be distributed from the platform in front of the chancel.  I will wear both gloves and a mask to do this and will drop the bread into your hand to avoid contact.


Collection

It probably goes without saying that it won’t be possible to pass a collection plate round, or to bring the plate up to be offered.  A plate will be left at the back of church for offerings.  There are obvious challenges with cash, although it won’t be turned down.  If you would like to make either a one-off donation, or a standing order to be paid through your bank account, the bank details for St Mary’s Acton are:

Bank a/c no: 11758808; Sort Code: 16-26-14.  


Refreshments

Initially refreshments will not be served.  However, this is possible.  This largely depends on sufficient people being willing to do all that is necessary to ensure that social distancing is kept during preparations and the willingness of those partaking refreshments to remain in the pews to be served and remain seated whilst they consume drinks.  Cups etc would need to be disposed of by the person who has used them after use.


For those who do not feel able to attend worship yet
Worship resource materials will continue to be put on the website at www.stmarysacton.com and to be e-mailed out.  Services will also continue to be available on the Cross Country Parishes WhatsApp Group (please contact Chris Pope on 07771 684000 to be added to the group). Radio 4 will continue to broadcast Sunday Worship at 8.10 am as they have done for many years, although other broadcast and live-streamed services may begin to come to an end, although the C of E is encouraging churches to continue this where possible. 


Above all, those who wish to come to services are welcome, but I, and everyone else will very much understand those who decide that the best thing for them, at the moment, is to stay away.


With every blessing,


Yours very sincerely,  


Revd S Anne Lawson

Vicar of the Cross Country Parishes

of Acton Church Minshull, Worleston and Wettenhall and
Chaplain to the Cheshire Agricultural Society