15th July 2020
Revd Linda Cronin
30 Crumlin Road
Tel 028 944 22361
Parish of Glenavy Re-Opening of our Church Buildings
I wanted to write you in order that you understand what is happening with regard to reopening our Church buildings following the lockdown.
The Select Vestry have recently received and considered prepared Risk Assessments for our Churches, in light of the documents, ‘Return to In–Church Worship Protocols for ROI and NI’ prepared by House of Bishops and the RB Executive Committee.
Whilst we could re-open now, it is felt that things are still uncertain, and it could be a bit risky to open immediately. There is a detailed risk assessment to act upon and we need to have in place cleaning protocols, one-way signage and many other things before we can reopen. The Select Vestry generally thought it would be better to do all of these things really thoroughly and carefully before we reopen. We want to ensure that each church building is as safe a place as possible for us before we re-open. So, our first service back in church will be at
11.30am on Sunday 6th September at St Aidan’s, Glenavy.
We are hoping that this will coincide with our services being live streamed each Sunday. Once we have been able to
do this first Sunday, we can hopefully progress to further services at each of our Churches.
We need to be preparing ourselves for the service to look very different to what we were doing before lockdown. Firstly, numbers will be restricted in each Church, due to required social distancing. We will not be able to sing or greet each other with a hug or handshake, have coffee together or stay in church to chat after the service. We will have to maintain social distancing at all times so we will have one system in and out, will have to sanitise our hands on arrival and give our names and contact details to the stewards when we arrive (for contact tracing should anyone subsequently test positive for COVID 19). We'll explain more about this nearer the time. In the meantime, please do be praying for all the preparations and be praying that we will all be kind, patient and gracious as we adjust to worshipping in a new way. It's going to be strange for us all.
We know that some people will not feel able to come to church because you are vulnerable or feel anxious about coming. We want you to know that this is absolutely fine – we want you to be comfortable in the decision you make for yourself. Additionally, we would ask that you don’t come to church if you have any symptoms of COVID 19 or are isolating because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. We all need to protect each other.
We will continue to provide our Sunday morning Zoom Church at 11am, throughout August – these will be led by our Readers. Likewise, the weekly ‘Thought for the Day’ sheet which many of you receive, will continue to be sent out.
Obviously, this is all subject to the COVDI19 restrictions remaining as they are. Should ‘lockdown’ restrictions be put in place again, then we will have to reconsider at that point.
Thank you so much for your understanding and I too look forward to the time when we can all worship together as a Church family in our buildings.
Yours in Christ
Revd Linda Cronin