News from the Parishes November 2020
News
Back to church
12
Sep 2020
Back to church

Dear Parishioner,
Following the decision by the NI Executive to allow the resumption of ‘in-church’ services,
and after consultation with the Bishop and the Select Vestry, we are delighted to announce
that services will resume on Sunday 13 September 2020.


We are sure you understand that the church ‘experience’ will be different to that which we
are used to and to which we all hope to return in the future. In the meantime, it is proposed
to have one service at 10.00am on a Sunday until further guidance is provided.


We are aware that some of you may not yet plan to return and you can be assured of our
continued prayers and recognition of all going through difficult times. For those who now
feel able to return please accept our reassurances that we have been diligent in making
our buildings as safe as possible and that we have been following government and church
guidelines.


In order that we protect one another please do not attend church if you or a member of
your household are still experiencing, or have not yet recovered from, symptoms of Covid-
19 or if you are in an at-risk group. For the time being, the weekly online service will
continue for those who still need to stay at home.

Some details of the new church ‘experience’ are:

  • Numbers will be reduced considerably because of the legal requirement to facilitate
    social distancing. Because of this it would be very helpful if those intending to come
    to church would advise the Churchwardens in advance. Please indicate the number
    coming from your household. If you are contacting on behalf of any other person(s)
    from another household please advise separately.This can be done online up to the Friday before. The Churchwardens’ e-mail addresses are as follows:
    Graham Galbraith grahamgalbraith1154@gmail.com
    Aileen Stockdale a.stockdale@qub.ac.uk
    Alternatively, you may contact the Churchwardens by telephone:
    Aileen Stockdale 028 9263 8862 on Wednesday 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
    Graham Galbraith 07909 998648 on Thursday 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
    It is hoped to have an online booking system on the parish website available in the
    near future. Details will be available on the parish website annahiltandmagherahamlet.org
  • A Church Warden and/or member of the Select Vestry will be at the entrance to
    assist you with any information or guidance which you may need.
  • Please enter the church by the usual entrance door and observe a safe distance if
    there are others waiting ahead of you to go in.
  • Everyone will be asked to hand sanitise on entrance and keep safe distance at all times, especially at entrances and exits. Some pews will be blocked for this purpose.
  • Face coverings are to be worn in church, unless exemptions apply.
  • The church will fill up seating from the front down as directed (unless someone needs to sit near exits for health reasons). This means that it is unlikely that you will be able to sit in your usual pew.
  • Households do not need to safe distance and can still sit together.
  • Please try to avoid touching any surfaces apart from where you are sitting.
  • Tissues will be provided if needed but please try to remember to bring your own.
  • The service will be conducted using a service sheet and there will be no books in the pews. Parishioners may bring their own bibles and prayer books if they wish.
  • In the current climate congregational singing is not encouraged. However, a soloist or, provided social distancing protocols can be followed, a small group may sing. The words of hymns will usually be printed in an Order of Service to allow worshippers to read and pray them as a soloist or small group sings. And because worshippers will be wearing face coverings it is now considered appropriate to humor murmur hymns as church attendees find more prayerful.
  • If a person experiences symptoms of Covid during a service they should inform a Church Warden or the Secretary to the Select Vestry immediately. A record of your attendance will be made in case a contact tracing process needs to take place in the event of a Covid positive person attending. Please fill in the requested information on your Service sheet and leave in the pew following the Service. These sheets will be kept for 3 weeks.
  • The collection will be taken at the exit as you leave following the service.
  • At the end of a Service please wait in your pew until you are directed by a Churchwardens and/or a member of the Select Vestry to leave.

Finally, as we now prepare for ‘in-church’ Services and for a safe and joyful return to
worship may we know something of the anticipation of the Psalmist “I was glad when they
said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord”. Psalm 122: 1


Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Howard (Rector)

Colin Hassard (Secretary to the Select Vestry)