Resuming public worship at St Laurence

The last few months have seen unprecedented interruption to public acts of worship. It is a joy that we can now resume these in some form, but a sadness that some aspects of worship currently cannot take place, and that we cannot return to church all together.

The PCC has agreed the following approach to resuming public worship at St Laurence:

  • Public worship will resume from Sunday 19th July, with a 30am Said Mass on Sundays and an 11am Said Mass on Wednesdays. There will be organ music on Sundays where possible, but congregational and choral singing by more than one person is currently not permitted.
  • The Wednesday Mass will take the same form as the Sunday Mass, with the same readings and sermon. Each Mass will have no more than one server present.
  • On arrival at church, each household/social bubble will need to wait outside the main door until a steward is available to welcome them and show them to a seat.
  • People will be invited to take a service booklet and take it home with them, to be re-used by them on a future occasion.
  • Everyone will be asked to use hand sanitiser on arrival at church, to bring hand sanitiser to use before receiving Communion, and to use it again on departure. People are welcome to wear masks if they wish.
  • Seating will be allocated such that it allows 2m distance between each household/social bubble. In practice, this means that the church can accommodate around 30 individuals – more if some people come in larger households/social bubbles.

Attendance at a service will need to be booked in advance, by the following means:

  • If you have internet, please book by emailing Joanne using the Parish Office address (office@upminsterparish.co.uk) – by 11am on Wednesday for the following Sunday, or by 12 noon on Monday for the following Wednesday.
  • If you do not have internet, please phone Deborah (01708 760485) by 6pm on Wednesday for the following Sunday, or by 12 noon on Monday for the following Wednesday.

It will not be possible to book for services more than a week ahead, although if you request to come one week and there isn’t any space, you will be offered a space for the following week.

  • Unfortunately, we cannot open the Children’s Corner or hold Adventurers at the moment, but activity sheets for children will be available and we will continue to explore ways to support the younger members of our congregation by other means. If you wish to join Adventurers’ Zoom meetings or other events, please let Susannah know if you have not done so already.
  • Mass will not include sharing the peace through physical contact. In the eucharistic prayer, a small amount of wine will be consecrated, but it will be received by the celebrant only. Everyone else will receive in one kind (host only). Communion hosts will be covered during the eucharistic prayer and not touched by the priest. Communion will be distributed by the priest coming to people in their seat. The priest will wear a visor for the distribution and will sanitise their hands before distribution (and also at earlier points). The words of distribution (‘The Body of Christ’) will be said prior to the distribution, with all who intend to receive Communion responding ‘Amen’ together, to avoid the need for speech whilst the priest is within a 2m distance of a communicant. The priest will distribute communion by dropping the host into the communicant’s hand, avoiding skin-to-skin contact. If any such contact does occur, the priest will sanitise their hands immediately, and the communicant is advised to do the same.
  • Silent blessings will be possible for non-communicants. If you do not wish to receive either Communion or a blessing, please communicate this to the clergy via email/phone before the service.
  • At the end of the service, departure will be via the exits in the Lady Chapel and St George’s Chapel. Any social interaction should be conducted well away from the exits, at a 2m distance from those not in your household, and not with a group of more than 6 people.
  • Susannah and Fr Roy will generally not be at the same service, in order to avoid the possibility of both clergy needing to self-isolate if someone attending the service develops symptoms.
  • Car parking and toilets will be available.
  • We will be able to have baptisms, weddings and funerals in church; with certain limitations and with no more than 30 people attending.

It is fully appreciated that not everyone will be able to return to church at this stage; we are all in different circumstances and it is right that each person should make the decision that best fits their situation. Please do not attend church if you have any symptoms of an infectious illness, or if you are self-isolating due to a suspected case of COVID-19 in your household/social bubble, and please inform one of the clergy at the earliest opportunity if after coming to church you subsequently test positive for COVID-19.

The church building cannot currently be open as normal, but until further notice we will continue to open for private prayer on Sunday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

If possible, we will record the Sunday Mass and put the recording on Facebook and YouTube later in the day. Plans are also underway for installing Wi-Fi in the church so that potentially we can livestream services.

Evensong will continue on Zoom for now, at 6.30pm on Sundays, and the Zoom Morning Prayer and Coffee at 10.45am on a Saturday will also continue. We will also continue to send weekly emails, and to post material to those not on email who cannot come to church.

Many thanks to all who have volunteered to help with stewarding or cleaning. You will be contacted shortly in relation to this. If you have not yet volunteered but find yourself in a position to help in the future, this would be very welcome; please contact me or Joanne.

I hope the above information is helpful. If you have any queries at all regarding any of the above or any other matter connected to public worship, please do not hesitate to contact me, Fr Roy or Deborah.

Susannah

     
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