Re-Opening of St Mary’s Church, Slindon

Following the Government’s easing of restrictions, we will be resuming services on Sunday 5th July with Matins at 11.00am followed by Holy Communion.  This is great news: however, strict protocols are required and we will be limited to a maximum of 30 worshippers due to social distancing rules.  No singing is allowed; but the organ will be played.

While we are keen to welcome everybody back, people who fall into one of the categories considered “vulnerable” should consider carefully whether to attend: we will continue with the online services and extended pewsheet for those who continue to shield themselves at home.  Face masks are not required: but if you feel safer using one, please bring your own with you.

We hope to follow our normal pattern of services in the weeks and months ahead, accepting that safety restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The key features of the required protocol are:

  • Entry to the church will be supervised to maintain spacing and attendees will be shown to a pew after they have used the hand sanitiser on the way in and have picked up a green service book as they pass the rack.  Alternate pews will be roped off to ensure appropriate distancing.  Family groups can sit together.
  • The congregation will remain seated throughout the service and should speak quietly during the communal elements of the liturgy.
  • Communion will only be in one kind.  Philip will bring the communion wafers to the congregation in their seats.  He will have sanitised his hands before blessing the wafers and will wear a mask while bringing them to those taking communion.  The host will be placed into your hand, avoiding physical contact.  Only the priest will receive wine from the chalice on behalf of the congregation.
  • Following the blessing, you will be asked to leave in an orderly and spaced fashion as specified by Philip.  You are encouraged to use the hand sanitiser on your way out.  Of course, we recognise that people will be keen to chat with those they may not have seen for some time: weather permitting, this is best done in the churchyard with appropriate distancing.  You can also admire the lovely new bench in honour of Kate Proctor.
  • Contact details for all those attending will be logged for 21 days for the purposes of “track & trace” in the unlikely event of any infections being reported.

This is all very different and prescribed: but I’m sure you understand the reasons why.  We hope as many of you as feel safe will join us on Sundays – but fully understand if you cannot.  The church will be open every day for private prayers and worship.