The Vestry of the East End Team Ministry have been considering carefully whether or not it is right for us to resume in-person services in our church buildings. We have received a number of requests from members of the congregation to reopen: we have also been extremely mindful of the concerns people have around the potential risk in coming to church. Following our most recent Vestry meeting, we agreed to move forward with a plan for reopening St John’s for worship on Advent Sunday (29 November). Accordingly, we have sent a plan for reopening and a risk assessment to the Bishop and he has given his approval for us to reopen.
Please read the guidance below carefully. Above all, please, only come to church if you feel comfortable doing so. There will still be services on-line and on the radio that you can follow, as well as the Provincial services online. Because of the Level 4 restrictions, only those who live in the local authority area of Glasgow City Council will currently legally be able to come to church: please do not come if you live in any other local authority area.
And please, don’t come to church if you
• have any symptoms of Covid 19 (cough, fever, lack of taste/smell etc),
• have been asked to self-isolate,
• are in a vulnerable category and have been advised to stay at home
St Serf’s will not currently be opening. St John’s will therefore be the church for the EETM for the time being, and each service will be a Team Eucharist starting at 10.30 am. If you normally attend St Serf’s or St Kentigern’s and are able and would like to come, please feel free to do so, subject to the arrangements below.
I hope the following will answer most of the questions that you may have. If there is anything at all you are unsure about, please do get in touch with me in the first instance.
Is there any risk?
We have worked hard to minimize the risk by following Scottish Government and Scottish Episcopal Church guidelines. So church will be different, as are so many things at the moment.
What will be different?
You or your family group *must* stay at least two metres apart from everyone else at all times: from entering the building, during the service and whilst leaving the building;
You will have to wear a face covering;
Numbers will be limited to *15* congregants per service. So you will have to let me know 24 hours in advance if you are intending to come. You can do this by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone (07702 842727). Once we reach capacity, names will go on to a reserve list, and those people will get priority for the following week;
There will be no service sheets, hymn books or orders of service. Everything will be displayed on the screen by projector;
We will not be able to sing together ((though we may be able to have a cantor to sing solo if one is available).
Entering the building:
Please enter and leave by the main door and sit in the nave of the church, using the nave altar for communion. Please sanitise your hands on arrival
You will be welcomed by a sidesperson who will take a note of your contact details (which will be kept safely for 21 days by one of the Vestry members). You will then be directed to your seat.
The Collection Plate will be placed near the entrance. Please put your donation into it as you arrive. It will not be passed around during the service. It would be preferable if you could make your payment by standing order.
Readers and Intercessors have to keep their distance and use separate microphones. The Peace will be celebrated by nodding, smiling etc, but no touching of those not in your family group.
Children are asked to stay with their family.
Communion will be available to those who wish to take it, but only the wafer will be offered, no wine.
• Please follow the directions of the sidesperson/s, and stay behind the lines.
• Sanitise your hands before and after receiving communion.
• Remain standing, please don’t kneel.
• Whilst serving communion the priest will be wearing a face mask or shield and will have sanitised his/her hands immediately beforehand.
• The wafer will be put onto your hands with minimum contact.
• Receive the wafer and then step to one side before lowering or removing your mask and consuming it.
• Return to your seat following the arrows. A one-way system will be operating.
At the end of the service those nearest the door will be asked to leave first and sanitize on the way out. We are encouraged not to get into a huddle once we have left the building. The toilet will be available, but will need to be cleaned after each use, so if you can, please ‘go before you come’!
Cleaning of the church will be done 72 hours after its use, probably on a Thursday.
I want to stress that if you are in any doubt whatsoever as to whether you should come to church, you should stay at home. The service will continue to be live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube. Again, if there are any questions or concerns, please do be in touch.
Thank you for your patience and prayers during this difficult time. Please keep praying and please stay safe.
Rev Jim Benton-Evans