As for Private Prayer, we have to follow very detailed rules in order to open our church for Mass. Therefore, please take careful note of the following points, so that you are prepared:
1) Please do not come to the church at all if you feel unwell, or have any of the symptoms of the virus.
2) Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds at home before coming to the church as we have no hand washing facilities open here – only hand sanitiser.
3) Please note also that there will be NO toilet facilities available.
4) Please bring a pen with you as there will be a ‘Contact Details’ form to be filled in to help with the NHS ‘Test and Trace’ programme if required.
5) When you enter the church, you will be greeted by a steward, who will be wearing a face mask and gloves. (As worshippers, it is up to you what you wear in terms of PPE, but the latest (24th July 2020) government guidelines state: ‘People are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are with people they do not normally meet, such as a church’)
6) Please be aware that there is a possibility that the church will be full when you arrive and the Steward will need to ask you to try to come to another Mass. Otherwise, you will be instructed to sanitise your hands and pick up a Contact Details slip. You will also be invited to take a newsletter (which will contain the responses and the Alleluia for the Mass) in with you.
7) If you are attending Mass on your own, you will be directed by the Steward to enter the church by one of the side aisles. If you are a couple or a family, you will be directed to enter via the centre aisle.
8) Once inside the church, you will move towards the front until you are level with the steward in the centre aisle, who will direct you to your seat(s).
9) Please note that each pew that is in use is able to have up to 3 people sitting in it (with the exception of 4 pews with roof pillars which can only have 2 people or a family, with entry and exit from the Centre aisle only).
Note: Families using the family pews, should sit in the centre area of the pew, to maintain social distancing from others.
10) Pews in use have 2 seats together at the centre aisle end and 1 seat on the side aisle end. The actual position of the seats in the pews are marked by arrows and you must make sure you sit where the arrows are as they have been carefully measured to be correctly socially distanced in all directions.
11) AT NO TIME must anyone walk along the pew from one end to the other. Each pew must be entered and exited via the nearest aisle, whether that is a side aisle or the centre aisle. This ensures that no-one passes through anyone else’s space.
12) Once you have taken your seat, please fill in the contact details form.
13) Be aware that the church will be unheated and the doors front and back will be wide open – a) to maximise ventilation and b) to minimise the surfaces that need to be touched.
14) Bring a coat in case you feel cold!
15) There will be no singing by the congregation and all responses must be made quietly to reduce the potential of virus transmission.
16) When it is time for Holy Communion, remain in your seats and the Eucharistic Minister will come to you. (This will minimise any potential of social distancing being compromised by people queuing for communion).
17) At the end of Mass, please wait for Fr Chris to leave the sanctuary and then wait for the Stewards to direct you to the appropriate exit in an orderly fashion to ensure a safe exit for all. Please do not leave anything in the benches.
18) On the way out, you will need to:
a. Drop your completed Contact details form in the appropriate box
b. Put any offertory envelopes or collection money in the Collection box
c. Sanitise your hands again
d. Pick up a copy of the Parish Newsletter if you would like one and did not do so on entry.
19) If you are helping with cleaning the church after Mass, please remain in your seats until everyone has left.
We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible back to Mass, but please remember that it may be better to attend a weekday Mass if you are able to, at least until we see how things go. (Remember that the Sunday obligation is still suspended at this time, so any weekday Mass will be as good as coming to Sunday Mass).
We will try to get the newsletter published online by the Friday evening before the weekend starts, indicating which Masses that week will be open to the public and which will need to remain behind closed doors. (This will depend on the number of volunteers.)
If, after attending the Mass a few times and seeing how things work, you would like to join our team of volunteers, please let Fr Chris or Julie know directly, or else contact the newsletter email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
One final note. Obviously this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some people you may not have seen for a long time. However, please do this safely socially distanced outside the church and not inside!