St.Martin of Tours,
© 2023 Chelsfield PCC
Charity Number 1131573
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‘Staying in Touch’ – Church Communication in a time of Crisis
COVID Measures for the Parish of Chelsfield Updated 28 January 2022
On Tuesday we received renewed guidance from the House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group. The emphasis is in line with the approach taken by the Government to remove most coronavirus legislation but to promote local guidance that emphasises the personal and corporate responsibility of individuals and organisations to protect others and themselves.
“Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27).”
With this the responsibility for making decisions on how to proceed remains with the incumbent. This applies to acts of worship, to events run by the PCC or church community, and to decisions on whether to hire out spaces or allow other events to proceed.
Therefore, taking into account the ongoing high incidence of the virus and following a conversation with the churchwardens and the PCC these are our conclusions. The situation will be reviewed at least monthly.
Our current procedures will continue regarding Holy Communion, the Peace and keeping a record of those attending services in order to aid contract tracing should the need arise*.
Although now not a legal requirement face coverings for all apart from the medically exempt is requested and strongly recommended in line with the Church of England’s statement about crowded/enclosed settings, particularly where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. At Evensong services only, while congregational attendance remains relatively, low face coverings may be removed while remaining in the pews but should be worn when moving around the building.
Singing will continue by choir and the congregation but the choir may remove their face coverings to do so.
The serving of refreshments after services will recommence but please consider wearing your face covering if you are just talking and not eating & drinking.
We hope to be able to move forward in a considered manner as the incidence of the virus decreases. Let us pray that our position will be more like ‘normality’ by Easter.
Please also continue to pray for those working in the NHS and all suffering as a result of the virus.
* Following the guidance the list of attendees is kept locked in the vestry for 21 days then destroyed. If the NHS Track and Trace system requests it, we share the data with them and they contact people if required. A notice with all the information about this is displayed in the porch and at the back of the church.
Please do keep checking the church website and Facebook pages for details of all church worship and activities.
Above all keep praying and never forget that one day the present crisis will end. As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us:
‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. (Jeremiah 29:11)