Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a new lockdown on Monday evening, and considering the seriousness of the current threat of infection of the Covid-19 virus, the churchwardens across the four churches considered the options for each church for the coming weeks. With a degree of inevitability, most actual services held in the church buildings are going to cease immediately, with the focus returning to on-line services, and fresh attention being turned upon those who are isolated and unable to access what is being provided through modern technology.
Whether the earliest likely ending of these restrictions is seen to be mid February, the beginning of March or Easter, it is clear that it will be some weeks before things change for the better, as we all hope the delivery of the vaccine will improve the situation greatly as more and more people receive it.
So provision from this Sunday, is to be as follows:
In All Saints’, St Mark’s and St Nicholas’, the church buildings will remain open for private prayer, each day, though in St Mark’s is will be on Sundays and Wednesdays only, but all actual services in these three churches will be cancelled. All Saints’ will provide a recorded service at 10.30 a.m., thereafter continuing to be available, St Nicholas’ will have services by zoom at 10.00 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. each Sunday and St Mark’s is likely to continue to provide a YouTube service, though it will probably not be ready for this coming Sunday.
St Mary’s, due to its size, is thought to be the safest place to continue with actual services in church, however, they will be curtailed and additional measures to underline the importance of social distancing are to be insistent and will be further monitored. Holy Communion will be celebrated each Sunday at 8.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. and Morning Prayer held Monday to Saturday at 8.00 a.m. The choir has been stood down and Evensong cancelled.
All funeral services continue to be held in St Mary’s, with a maximum attendance of 30.
If further restrictions become necessary, the churches will, of course, comply.
Whilst, with reluctance, these decisions were taken yesterday, the over-riding consideration of behaving responsibly and with particular care for the most vulnerable, became the guiding principle. That said, the loss to those whose desire to worship with others in the place of their spiritual home is high on their agenda for daily living, is far from being ignored, and we shall return to what we love and hope for in our churches as soon as it is considered safe to do so.