Rectory Ramblings

Welcome Back to Church

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all been enjoying this little bout of Californian sunshine.

I’m guessing that each of you will have your own preferred strategies for beating the heat.

Here at the Kautzer’s, it’s about the power of the paddling pool and ice cream!

On 19 July, we moved into phase 4 of the government’s post-lockdown roadmap and legal restrictions were lifted.

I am conscious that this step has been received with mixed emotions.

For some, it brings excitement and the hope of life moving forward again.

For others, the idea of opening up in this way while COVID-19 cases are surging is a cause of worry and frustration.

Whilst legal restrictions have been lifted, the government’s message remains one of caution.

The vaccine programme has enabled us to make huge strides, but the pandemic is very much still with us and the NHS remains in a fragile position.

We have been reflecting on how to move forward as a church community.

I found the Bishop of London’s words last week gave me a helpful perspective: ‘our approach needs to be cautious and careful.

Taking personal responsibility means responsibility for our neighbour, not just for ourselves, and taking precautions to protect those more vulnerable than we consider ourselves to be.’

As with all plans in COVID-19 times, we will need to be flexible and adaptable.

We must be prepared for things to change at relatively short notice.

However, from this Sunday we can look forward to singing together again!

To keep church as safe as possible whilst also enjoying new flexibility and freedom, we have made the following plans for the summer period:

(1) HANDS: please continue to sanitise your hands on entering church buildings and prior to refreshments.

(2) FACE: masks will be encouraged indoors. We will require masks for congregational singing unless you are exempt.

(3) SPACE: we look forward to increasing our seating capacity and welcoming more people to church.

- Please continue to book a space so we know how many to expect to each service. If you would like to sit in a social distanced section of church, please let us know when you book

- Please sit in your household group

- Where possible, please maintain social distancing when moving around indoors

- We will endeavour to keep the church as ventilated as possible

(4) COMMUNION: communion will continue to be offered in the form of bread only.

(5) REFRESHMENTS: we will recommence refreshments after services.

(6) STAY SAFE: As always, please do not come to church if you or a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been asked to self-isolate.

(7) GRACE: we may be approaching this time of transition from different places, and yet we are called to love and serve one another as members of Christ’s body. It is not enough for us to restart a church for the confident, ready and keen. We also need to be a church of compassion and belonging where people feel safe to reconnect, regroup, recover and regain their confidence again. Please have extra grace and patience with one another as we walk this uncertain road together.

We will keep these guidelines under review and hope, in time, to ease them further.

If you have any questions, please feel free to speak to me or one of the Leadership Team.

We are looking forward to a gentler pace over the summer with more opportunities to reunite with one another.

And please continue to pray – for an end to the pandemic, for wisdom for our government, for our church community as we navigate through these times, and for God to move in our church, and in our community.