Resuming Public Worship
You can register here for services from 8am on the Friday before the service.
Before registering your place for a service, please read carefully all the information below.
To register for the service of Holy Communion at St Richard's Church, Heathfield
on Sunday 20th September 2020 at 9.30am, please click here.
In order to ensure that we adhere to social distancing measures, numbers attending services will be limited to 30 at St Richard's and 35 at All Saints'. In order to manage this effectively, everyone is asked please to register in advance. This is to avoid anyone being turned away at the door once we are full.
Before you register to come to the service, please take the time to read the information below about resuming public worship in the Benefice. We apologise for the rather bureaucratic feel to this information: it is designed to communicate clearly the new measures that we have put in place so you know what to expect and to reassure you of the steps that have been taken to keep you safe.
Resuming Public Worship in the Benefice
In order to ensure your safety and that of our volunteers, our church services will look and feel very different from what we’re used to, at least in the early weeks and months.
So what will be different?
- Face coverings are now mandatory in places of worship. Everyone attending a service will be required to wear a face covering throughout the service please.
Who can come?
- There are no restrictions on who can and can’t come to public services.
- The most vulnerable and those shielding may not feel comfortable attending at the present time. Only you know what’s right for you and your family. The decision as to whether you come is entirely yours.
- You should not feel under any obligation to come in order to fulfil a particular role or duty. Your decision will be fully respected.
Where will services be held?
- From Sunday 30th September, services will alternate between All Saints' Church in Old Heathfield and St Richard's Church in Heathfield.
- St George’s is too small to facilitate social distancing measures for more than a very small number of people so will remain closed for public worship until further notice.
Registration in advance
- Perhaps the most obvious difference, and the strangest one for us to get used to, will be the need to register in advance that you would like to attend the service.
- The reason for this is that social distancing measures mean numbers in the congregation will be limited.
- Advance registration will ensure that this number is not exceeded, and will hopefully prevent people being turned away at the door.
- Registration will be predominantly online, but if you do not have access to a computer, you can register by calling the Vicar on 01435 862744 who will do this for you.
- Registration opens at 8.00am on the Friday before the service.
- If you register to attend a service and later decide you are unable to attend, please contact the Vicar by telephone as soon as possible to remove your registration to enable someone else to register.
- If you feel ready to come back and would like to, please do! No one should feel they shouldn’t come so as to keep the space free for someone else.
Arrival at church
- On arrival at church, please observe 2m social distancing at all times, including on the pathways outside.
- Please use the hand sanitiser immediately in front of you as you enter the church.
- Please make your way into the main body of the church immediately to save crowding at the entrance.
- The entrance doors will be fixed open to reduce contact and to increase ventilation. Where possible, windows will also be open to enable ventilation inside the church.
- You will notice that social distancing reminders are in place inside the churches and alternate pews closed off to enable social distancing.
- To reduce the risk of contact contamination, service sheets are not allowed to be used.
- The words will be projected onto a screen for the congregation to follow.
- Paper service sheets will be available only for those who may not be able to see the screen easily. If you use one, please take it home with you to recycle.
Music and Singing
- This is likely to be one of the biggest differences you’ll notice. Due to the risks associated with aerosol droplets, singing is not allowed in public worship for the time being. We realise this will change the feel of the service quite significantly, but we will be using the organ and recorded music where appropriate.
- It is hoped that the organ or piano will be played as people arrive for the service, and at the end, as well as during the distribution of communion.
- Recorded hymns will be played with words projected on the screen for people to follow in silence.
- There will be no sharing of the peace during the service.
- The Priest will wash hands upon arrival for the service and will use hand sanitiser.
- Only the Priest to handle the communion vessels at all times including the chalice, patten and ciborium. The Priest will lay up the altar.
- The Priest will preside from the Nave altar.
- The bread and wine will not be brought up to the altar during the gradual hymn.
- There will be no server. The priest will carry out the ablutions alone.
- The communion wafers will remain covered in the ciborium until the distribution.
- Only the Priest will receive the wine and will do so on behalf of the congregation.
- When the priest receives the bread, he or she will say “The body of Christ” to which all will respond “Amen” and the same with the wine.
- Communion will be given to the congregation in one kind only, i.e. the bread. Intinction is not allowed due to the risk of spreading infection.
- Distribution will not be from the altar rail due to the risk of contamination from repeated contact with the rail.
- Distribution will be from the front of the nave altar. Communicants should form a line in the nave aisle (maintaining 2m social distancing at all times) to receive the bread, standing, from the priest.
- The Priest is not allowed to speak the words of distribution, i.e. “The body of Christ” and communicants are to remain silent as they receive the bread. Communicants are encouraged to pray silently as they receive.
- Communicants should come up from the rear pews first, and make their way back via the side aisles. Communicants should NOT return to their seats by walking past the line of communicants waiting to receive.
- As it will not be possible for the Priest to administer the bread while remaining 2m distance from the communicant, the Priest may wear a face covering during distribution.
- The communion wafer will need to be dropped into the hand by the Priest rather than placed, in order to avoid contact.
- If contact is made accidentally, both the priest and the communicant should sanitise their hands immediately.
After the Service
- At the end of the service there will be no refreshments served.
- If you wish to make a gift to the church, there will be a collection plate at the door as you leave. Where possible, please consider giving using the contactless device at the back of church.
- You are encouraged to make your way out of the church at the end of the service and not to remain in the church longer than necessary.
- If you would like to have a conversation with another member of the congregation, please do so outside in the church garden, adhering to the usual social distancing requirements.
These guidelines will be kept under regular review and will be updated in light of any further changes announced by the Government, or change in advice from the Church of England or the Diocese.
Version No. 5
Issued on 23rd August 2020