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Information about the restarting of services on 5th July

Dear fellow members of the churches in Yate Parish,

Information about the restarting of services on 5th July

I would firstly like to thank you for your wonderfully heartening response to my last letter about the impact of Covid-19 on the parish finances. Your great generosity has helped significantly towards replacing some of the income lost as a result of the lockdown. Thank you.

As you will have heard, last Tuesday the Prime Minister gave permission for the restarting of public worship from 4th July, subject to certain restrictions to ensure proper hygiene and social distancing. Accordingly, from Sunday 5th July we shall be holding the following Sunday services:

St. James, Westerleigh 10.30am service alternating Communion

and Morning Prayer (although 5th July will be MP)

St. Nicholas, Abbotswood 10.30am service alternating Communion

and Morning Prayer (although 5th July will be MP)

St. Mary’s, Town Centre 10am Combined service alternating

Morning Prayer and Communion

The reason for the combined service at St. Mary’s is that we do not have the ability to sanitise the church between services on a Sunday morning so will be adapting the normal services into a single service suitable for all ages.

For the time being 630 Praise will continue to be online and can be accessed through the Yate Parish Online Church portal ( with catch-up editions also available on our YouTube channel. We have also decided that St. Peter’s Church will remain closed for the time being.

We will continue to broadcast a recorded service through Yate Parish Online Church at 10am every Sunday for those who would prefer to remain in self-isolation or are otherwise housebound. We would like to broadcast live from our churches in future provided we can overcome certain technical issues. The online service will be changing at some point from a Communion service to Morning Prayer now that we are able to meet together in church to share Communion.

Over the past few weeks your Church Wardens and I have been working together to put in place measures to ensure your safety, including:

o Dividing the Ministry Team into three distinct bubbles to serve the three churches and avoid cross-contamination.

o All churches where worship will take place have been thoroughly aired and cleaned

o Each of the churches will be cleaned on a Friday and the church will remain closed from then until the Sunday worship to allow for an appropriate ‘quarantine’ period.

o You are requested not to attend any service if you feel unwell or are displaying any of the recognized Covid-19 symptoms, or if you think you may have been in contact with someone who may be Covid-19 positive. Those of you who are in a high-risk category are discouraged from attending at present.

o As you enter you will be asked to use hand-sanitiser. Doors will be left open to avoid the need to touch door handles. Your attendance will also be recorded so that, if it were later discovered that someone present at the service tested positive for Covid-19, we could provide accurate details to the Track & Trace service.

o The layout of the seating has been altered to ensure appropriate social distancing. You will only be allowed to sit with people from your immediate household in a ‘seating bubble’. This means that the traditional Anglican practice of clustering together at the back of church will need to be suspended!

o There will need to be a limit on numbers attending each service. The only venue where this might be an issue is St. Mary’s - if we need to turn people away at 10am we will rerun the service at 3pm after cleaning the church.

o Movement around the church will be regulated to create a one-directional flow where possible. There will be no processing of the cross or of ministers at the start and finish of services. Also, the Peace will be said from your seating bubble.

o There will be no singing as part of the service, either as sung responses or hymns, and no playing of the organ. In all three of the churches we do have the capacity to play recorded music for reflection and the Minister leading the service will decide whether or not to use recorded music, but we would request that you do not sing along.

o We will not be taking up a collection during the course of the service. All offerings will need to be placed into a basket on entry and we would prefer it if you didn’t donate coins as these are known to transmit infection.

o We will not be using the normal service sheets or hymn books. At St. Mary’s and St. Nix the service will be displayed on the screens. At St. James you will be asked to pick up a freshly printed Order of Service when you first attend and to keep that Order of Service with you when you leave, to be brought back the following week for use exclusively by you.

o For the time being we will not be serving any refreshments after the service and the Minister will stand in the open air outside the porch to speak to people as they leave. If it is raining the greeting is likely to be short!

o Toys will not be made available for use by families.

o Where relevant, toilets will continue to remain available but we will be encouraging minimal use and you will be asked to wipe down surfaces after use with alcohol wipes and then to wash your hands thoroughly.

It may be that further Government guidance will be issued requiring additional measures, but I hope you will feel reassured that your Church Wardens and I have taken very seriously the need to minimise any possible risk of Covid-19 transmission and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that it is safe for you to return to church. If you have any concerns that are specific to your situation then I will be glad to chat them through with you.

Yours truly,

Revd. Ian Wallace

Team Rector - Yate Parish


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