One Parish, Six Churches, One Community

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Opening Churches for Private Prayer during the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Public Notice – 21/06/2020

The opening of church buildings for individual private prayer

 

As you may be aware the Government announced on Saturday the 6th of June that it was giving permission for churches to open for individual private prayer from Saturday the 13th of June. The Incumbent and PCC have worked hard to be able to offer some opportunities for private prayer, legally and safely, across the parish. This program of sessions will be kept under review in line with Government and C of E guidance.

Program of opportunities for private prayer

Tuesday – All Saints’ Church, Wellingore – 10.30am-2.30pm

Thursday – All Saints’ Church Harmston - 10.30am – 2.30pm

Saturday – All Saints’ Church Coleby – 10.30am-2.30pm

St. Peter’s Church Navenby by appointment only (Ring 01522 426723)

IT MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THESE DAYS TO BE SUSPENDED IN THE EVENT OF A FUNERAL THEREFORE PLEASE CHECK THE WEBSITE BEFORE VISITING FOR ANY CHANGES.

Please be aware that our sessions are unsupervised and although we have put measures in place to try and reduce the risk, we are unable to guarantee that our buildings are
COVID – 19 safe. Please follow the guidance in the church and refer to the Frequently Asked Questions Document. Also please be aware that to facilitate social distancing and to reduce the possibility of surface transmission it has been necessary to use barrier tape. This will mean that the church will not look as it usually does, however without such measures we would be unable to open.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Why is my church closed?                                                                                                        
Due to COVID-19 certain restrictions have been put in place surrounding the opening of churches for private prayer. Due to the guidelines surrounding the safe cleaning of churches to ensure that they are ‘COVID – 19 safe’ and our capacity to do so, it is necessary for us to leave the churches locked for 72 hours after use, to ensure that any virus that may have contaminated surfaces has degraded. As a result the Parochial Church Council is able to offer opportunities for private prayer on 3 days per week across the parish.

Tuesday: All Saints’ Church, Wellingore – 10.30am – 2.30pm

Thursday: All Saints’ Church, Harmston – 10.30am – 2.30pm

Saturday: All Saint’s Church, Coleby – 10.30am – 2.30pm

St. Peter’s Church Navenby, by appointment only.

In the event of a funeral the building may be closed for a week for private prayer due to the afore mentioned restrictions.

Can we gather with other households, socially distanced, for prayer/worship?
No, unfortunately not. The government permission is for individual private prayer only. Corporate gathering for prayer and worship is not permitted. As we are unable to supervise the buildings, should there be evidence of this happening the Parish Church Council will be required to close the building for private prayer. Please respect this instruction so that the buildings are able to remain open for those who wish to pray privately.

Information about our virtual services and prayer and worship phoneline can be found on our website, www.graffoechurches.co.uk, or on posters on the church noticeboards.

Why is there barrier tape over a lot of the pews and areas in the buildings?
As it is not possible for us to supervise the open churches, to enforce adherence to the social distancing regulations still in force, it has been necessary to block off some pews and areas using barrier tape to ensure the guidelines are followed. This also reduces the areas which need to be cleaned, as our capacity of volunteers to clean the buildings is currently reduced due to restrictions.

Why are there no hymn books, prayers resources or bibles available?
It has been found that the virus can live on paper and similar materials for up to 24 hours and so to reduce the risk of transmission all materials such as these have been removed. You are welcome to bring your own materials with you, access our website or phoneline or contact the Rector for paper materials to be sent to you by post for use. Please do not leave any paper materials in the church.

 

Do I need to use hand sanitiser?                                                                                           
Hand sanitiser is provided in all of our buildings and we ask that you would please use it as you enter and exit the building. Please be aware that as the buildings are unsupervised we can not be sure that surfaces you may come into contact with are not contaminated. We would advise that you refrain from touching surfaces where possible, touch your face as little as possible and dispose of tissues safely in the bins provided.

Do I need to wear a mask or face covering when in church?
At present government guidance is that masks/face coverings must be used on public transport, in hospitals and enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible. Whilst we, or the government, do not require you to wear a mask or face covering we would ask that you would consider covering your face whilst in the building as a means by which to protect others. Evidence shows the spread of the virus occurs from droplet transmission which can happen from breathing it in but also through droplets landing on surfaces, therefore by covering your mouth and nose you are helping to protect others who may use the space after you, who are potentially more vulnerable.

I’m in one of the groups which the government deems to be at high or moderate risk in respect to COVID-19. Can I come to church for private prayer?
You are allowed and are certainly welcome to come into our churches when they are open for private prayer, however we strongly advise against this as we can not guarantee a COVID-19 safe environment and so you would do so at your own risk. Should you decide to visit for private prayer against this advice we would recommend that the beginning of the open session is better than the end as there is less chance surfaces will have been contaminated. We would ask those who are at less risk to try and visit during the second half of the open session to protect the more vulnerable in our community.

A member of my household has COVID-19 or symptoms of the disease. Can I come into church to pray?
No. Please protect others by staying at home for the government’s self-isolation period of 14 days.

When will public worship resume?
At present there is no set date for this to happen, however we are constantly monitoring any changes in government advice.

What do I do if I have been into the church and develop symptoms of COVID -19?
Please contact the Rector, 01522 426723, so that the public can be made aware of the day on which the building may have been contaminated so they can self-isolate.

WE APOLOGISE FOR ANY DISTRESS THESE RESTRICTIONS MAY CAUSE, HOWEVER WITHOUT THESE MEASURES WE WOULD BE UNABLE TO OPEN LEGALLY AND SAFELY AND INDEED SOME OTHER PARISHES HAVE DECIDED NOT TO OPEN AT ALL.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
GRAFFOE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL 19/06/2020