Following the annonucement that public worship could take place from this weekend, there has been a flurry of activity at St Martin’s as we’ve been busy getting everything ready for our first church service back in our building at 11am on Sunday 5th July. There are lots of different emotions for people at the moment around the easing of lockdown, and whilst we share many of these, we’re confident that we are ready to worship together in one place again, and that we can do this as safely as possible, in line with government and Church of England guidance.
So what do you need to know before you set out for church on Sunday? Here’s a brief description of what to expect.
Please do not come to church if you or anyone in your household has a temperature, a persistent cough, loss of taste or smell.
The exact number we can hold safely in the building will depend on how many singles, couples and families arrive. We are not booking ahead, so arrive in good time and be aware that we’ll spill out in to the back car park if we need to. You might want to bring a jumper, just in case!
Please keep 2 metres away from people outside your household.
One way system
We have a one-way system: everyone enters through the main entrance, through the hub and into the Narthex, and exits through the double fire doors at the back, allowing everyone to leave through the large rear gates back towards Green Lane. Look out for the arrows on the floor and ask one of our hospitality team if you’re stuck!
You must sanitise your hands before you enter the building. We have hand sanitising points by the doors.
The hospitality team will keep a list of everyone who attends, so that we can trace congregation members if someone starts to display symptoms of Covid. If you are already known to us, you won’t need to do anything.
If you’re not already on the St Martin’s contact list, welcome! We’re glad you’re coming to join us! However, we’d be grateful if you would give our hospitality team your phone number and/or email address on arrival.
Masks are not compulsory but you are welcome to wear one, if it helps you feel more comfortable.
We won’t give out any paper handouts. Any words you need will be on the screen in church and notices can all be found on the emailed notice sheet.
Our toilets will be open during services. Please sanitise your hands before entering the toilets and wash your hands before you leave.
We are not handing a collection plate round but will leave a large plate at the entrance to the church for you to put any offering as you arrive.
We are not serving refreshments at the moment. Feel free to bring a drink with you (but please take any rubbish home with you)! We will aim to run our usual Zoom coffee after the service and if you have come to church, you can choose whether you go home to join in with this or join from your phones!
If you are shielding or you have been given medical advice not to go into public spaces, please do not attend church. Attending is, of course, your decision alone but please stay safe.
We are currently not allowed to sing in church, so will use music in slightly different ways throughout the service. Obviously – if you are still watching at home, you can join in as loudly as you’d like!
Liturgy and spoken responses
We are choosing liturgy carefully. When you speak, please use your normal speaking tone and don’t raise your voice.
There are no Bibles in church, so please bring your own, if you would like one with you. We will also display the readings on the big screens in church.
We won’t have any groups in church until at least September and have had to remove all the resources from our toddler area. However, we would love to see the children and young people and they are most welcome! Sue Jones has been producing resources you can print out and bring – check our website for what is already there – but please bring your own pens/pencils if you do this.
The service is being live-streamed online at the same time as it happens in the building – so we really are joining together as a church family. However, if you are in the building you are unlikely to be seen online, so please don’t worry about this.
We will try to share as much of what is happening on screen in church, as well as online, to allow for the fact that many of our congregation will continue to worship at home.
And everyone’s favourite – story time with Sandra – will continue too!
If you’re live streaming, this will continue to be available via our Facebook page – and remember that you don’t have to be a Facebook member to take part.
Please bear with us. It’s hard to anticipate everything that might be needed, so we will need to develop and learn each week, just as we did when we first went online in lockdown. The church family at St Martin’s have been brilliantly supportive of what we have been doing in lockdown, for which we’re really grateful but this is, of course, another set of changes and uncertainty! If things aren’t quite what you expect, do have a chat with us afterwards. This also goes for people watching at home – it won’t be quite the same as we have been doing in full lockdown. We’re improvising and learning together.
If you’re in church, it won’t be the worship you’re used to and, if you’re at home, it won’t be quite the same either, but for the first time for a while you’ll be joining with a group of your church family worshipping in the same place.
Most importantly, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit is with us and wants to meet with everyone, wherever we are and however we’re feeling. God wants us to worship him. As we take this next step together, let’s see what God does in and amongst us!