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St Mary's

Coronavirus Update 14 Mar 2020

Saturday, 14th March 2020

Isaiah 43:1 says “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

In these times of worry and panic it is reassuring to know that we have a God who is faithful and in whom we can trust. Regardless of what happens we are secure in his loving arms. In the face of this current pandemic, whilst we need not fear, we are also called to show love to one another. Part of this love involves following the best practice that we can to ensure that people do not get sick, or if they do, that we do not pass the sickness on to one another and especially not to those more vulnerable to this disease than ourselves.

Following the latest Government advice from the chief medical officer on Thursday 12th March, the Church of England have issued new guidance. Whilst we will try and keep everyone up to date, if you are aware of church members who are not on email (or who do not regularly check their emails) please could you forward the latest news to them by phone or other means of communication. We are currently putting together a contingency plan for various scenarios as we have been requested to do, however at this stage what you need to know is below.

If you would like to see the C of E guidance which we are working to, it is available at: C of E Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches.

Further details below, but in summary:

St Mary's will continue to hold our regular services and activities until such time as we are advised not to. However:

  • If you feel ill and especially if you have a temperature or a new/persistent cough, please, please stay at home and do not come to church.

  • Follow the advice from NHS England and let one of the clergy or church offices know. The contact details for these are:

    • Lerys Campbell

      01252 935120
    • Rachel Hartland

      0771 794 2669
    • Church Office

      01252 871853

When you are attending services, please:

  • Know that hard surfaces and door handles will be cleaned before services.
  • Wash your hands with alcohol gel and/or soap and water as you enter church. We will repeat this prior to Holy Communion distribution.
  • Share The Peace without contact - using sign language, simple actions or just words.
  • Receive Holy Communion in one kind only (the bread); the priest will symbolically bless and consume a small amount of wine on behalf of the body of Christ.
  • Stand at the rail rather than kneel, to reduce the need for people to touch hard surfaces.
  • Place your offering in the bowl/basket provided on your way in/out of church; we will not be passing the collection plate.
  • Expect to share refreshments after service in a way that will reduce infection, until such time as we are advised to cease sharing refreshments completely.

Other Activities and Pastoral Care:

  • Mid week activities will continue at present, at the discretion of group leaders based on latest information, levels of risks, and the demographic of attendees.
  • Catering provision will be reviewed for every session for each activity. Please follow advise given.
  • Pastoral visits and home communions will continue to be offered by the clergy and others should you require them.
  • If you are requested to self isolate or think you may have symptoms of the virus, please inform us - we will not visit but will speak via phone or other methods.
  • If you are self isolating and/or are in need of practical help in anyway please contact a member of the clergy or one of the following people: Church offices, Church wardens, Home group leaders or pastoral team members.
  • If you would be willing to help by shopping for people/collecting prescriptions and dropping things off on doorsteps or in others ways which are safe to do, (or if indeed you are already doing these things) then please contact the clergy (via email if possible) so that we can make sure that no one is missed or forgotten.

If any activity is cancelled, or if the advice significantly changes:

  • We will do everything in our power to make sure everyone is informed in a timely way, with updates offered regularly.
  • If we need to cancel regular acts of worship, we will update this advice and let you know what other steps we will be providing to help us continue to worship.
  • We are working towards providing offline materials for worship at home, links to television and radio times of worship and other electronic ways of meeting together digitally to worship using face book and other platforms.

We continue to pray for those affected by this illness, for the scientist, doctors, nurses and many others around the world doing all they can to stem the spread of this disease and find a vaccine and/or cure. Please do continue to follow the medical advice and keep safe, whilst showing love to those around us.

God Bless you all