Essential Guidance For Church Services
As deacons our priority, by God’s grace, is to provide the safest possible environment for those who desire to worship on the church premises.
Throughout this season we have been indebted to the Government for the guidance they have produced. We have also drawn extensively from the advice provided by both the Baptist Union and the Church of England. As well as our spiritual responsibilities, as trustees it is our legal obligation to provide a duty of care to those with whom we are responsible.
In order to maintain consistency in providing the safest possible environment, we have carried out a risk assessment and will also be implementing a ‘pre-event’ checklist. The pre-event checklist will be carried out before every service. For anybody who wishes to view these documents please get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
People Who Are/Have Been Shielding
To those who have been shielding during this season, we are aware that as of the 1st of August the government will be pausing the shielding guidance (government advice on shielding). Now we appreciate and totally respect that individuals may still wish to shield. To be clear, we will in no way encourage people to return unless they themselves have a peace regarding their own decision.
Once again, we will be adhering to the government guidelines regarding the social distancing measures (Government advice on social distancing). We acknowledge that every place of worship is different with respect to how they will implement these measures.
With regards to Chenies Baptist Church, in the sanctuary downstairs the new seating plan allows for distances of 2 metres between people horizontally and no less than 1 metre vertically. There will also be 1 metre distance in the aisles. Upstairs, between seats, there will be a distance of 1 metre horizontally (view seating plan).
We will require all people to wear face coverings whilst on the Church premises (children under age of 11 are exempt). This applies on entry, throughout the service and upon exit. Please note you will be required to provide your own face covering. For more information, plus an overview of the current Government, Baptist Union and Church of England advice, please click on this link to see our separate guidance - Guidance on face coverings.
In preparation for Sunday services, and for services in the future, we have introduced an online ‘Book In To A Service’ system. This is also in line with what has been advised by both the Government and the Baptist Union. We have decided to introduce this system for three main reasons:
I. Limited Space - Due to the restrictions of social distancing unfortunately we have a limit to the number of people who are able to attend services.
II. Seating – Pre-booking will allow those who are setting up the Church to be ready to seat everybody in advance. This means people will not be waiting too long to be seated.
III. Track And Trace – Should there be an issue regarding COVID19, we have system already in place should NHS Track and Trace request information regarding attendance.
To be clear all people will need to book in advance – no exceptions. Otherwise, unfortunately, we cannot guarantee you will be able to attend the service, as our priority will be to seat those who have already gave us advance notification and booked in. Therefore, it is imperative that you book and book as early as possible. For advice on how to register an account and then use the system please click on the link on our website and watch the tutorial - Link to Booking In To Service page.
The Sunday Service
1. Upon Arrival
A. Entrance – The only way that people will be able to enter the Church is through the side door closest to the car park. At this point we can only allow people to enter either individually or group by group. This may mean potential queuing. If this is the case, we ask everyone to adhere to the 2-metre distance rule when queuing.
Before you enter the building, you will be met by our entrance and exit warden. At this point a temperature check will be taken. At this point we need to remind people that if you are showing symptoms of an illness of any kind, no matter how mild, we ask that you remain at home in order to protect both yourself and others you may come into contact with. If you have a high temperature or display symptoms of COVID19 you will asked to leave as soon as possible and seek guidance from NHS 111 (for more information please view our 'Emergency Action Plan'.
B. Seating – After the initial temperature check is completed the warden will check that you are already booked in and provide you with your seat number. Before being directed to your seat, you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser that will be provided by the Church. Each seat inside the sanctuary is numbered and you will be seated either individually or with other members of your household or your bubble.
Once seated, please remain seated until the end of the service. Doors and windows where possible will be kept open to ensure that ventilation is good – so the temperature of the building may be lower than you expect.
2. The Sunday Service Itself
A. Length – In line with government, Baptist Union and Church of England advice, we will endeavour to keep our services shorter than usual.
B. Service leading and preaching – So that we can ensure maximum distance and maximum viewing for congregants, both the person leading the service and the preacher will be positioned in the raised pulpit.
C. Communion – For the foreseeable future we will hold a special communion service in the evenings on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every week. The meetings will take place at 6:30pm.
D. Offerings – We would strongly advise, if possible, all congregants switch to bank standing orders, if you need help with this please get in touch email@example.com. Alternatively, for those who still wish to donate cash offerings there will be baskets on the table or in the porch as you exit the premises.
E. Children – For those who wish to bring children we have allocated two family sections at the front of Church. Unfortunately, soft toys or colouring will no longer be provided by the Church. However, families are very welcome to bring their own. For those with smaller children, the Sun Room will be available for parents to use if necessary with the service being relayed via the speakers.
F. Song Worship – Unfortunately, at this moment, there will be no singing in the services. However, we will continue to put songs on the monitor at the front of the Church so people will be able to listen and quietly reflect.
G. Exiting – When the service has finished, we will ask for everyone to remain seated and the entry and exit warden will usher people out individually.
3. After The Service
A. Refreshments – Unfortunately there will no refreshments served after the service. We also strongly recommend that you bring your own drink if required.
B. Socialising After The Service – All people are required to leave the Church premises as soon as the service has ended and find another suitable location to socialise, e.g. the sward or the village green.