Letter from Fr.Adam

     Dear friends

I had hoped that my first week wouldn't be dominated by Covid and changes to guidance but as l said in my sermon last week we can't always have what we want.
ln the guidance around the latest easing of restrictions, the national Church of England is clear that any decisions need to be made by the incumbent (mel), however l very much wanted to consult the PCC before implementing any changes.

At the PCC meeting on Wednesday night there was complete agreement that we needed to take things carefully and see how things pan out with the rise in cases we have seen in recent weeks.
Given this, the following arrangements will be in place from Sunday 25th July for both Sunday morning services and mid week services.
They will be continually reviewed ready for a further discussion at the next DCC and PCC meetings in September:

- We will keep our one way system and taped areas so that there is space around one another.
  You can sit with your friends however be aware of people who want to sit socially distanced and please check before sitting next to someone.

- We will allocate an area in each church for 2 meter social distancing and mask wearing for members of our church family who want this additional protection.

- Holy Communion will continue to be distributed from the chancel steps.

- ln services where there are more than six people please wear masks when sitting and moving around our church buildings.

- We will stand and sing hymns again but please wear masks when doing so (choirs will sing without masks).

- Processions - where these take place they will be in single line and no one will sing until they are in their place.

- Anyone leading worship will not have to wear a mask except when processing or singing hymns.

- We encourage everyone to sanitise regularly: when entering church, before and after receiving holy communion, and when leaving church.

- Track and trace - we will no longer need to book in for services but we do ask that you check in using the QR code when you arrive.
  lf you don't have a QR reader or you aren't signed up to the NHS app then checking in slips will be available in St Marys and these can be left on a collection plate as you leave.
  At the Church of the Ascension entry is past the sign in desk and we'll ask you to leave your details there.

- Servers can return from the start of August 2021.

- The Peace - we will continue to share it with a joyous wave!

- The common cup - we will continue with our current practice whereby the Priest receives the wine on behalf of the congregation and everyone receives the consecrated bread.

- Refreshments - Church of the Ascension has decided not to have refreshments for the time being.
  St Marys will offer refreshments, however it is up to you whether you want to take part in this.
  If you want to know the arrangements for baptisms, weddings or funerals please speak to me or one of the church wardens.

This is going to be a difficult time to navigate for all of us and l continue to ask for your grace and prayers where, as church leaders, we try to balance worshipping God by looking after and caring for those who are most vulnerable, with worshipping God in our usual liturgical and sacramental ways.

I am more than happy to discuss this with anyone, at any point, so please do drop me a call or an email if you would like to take me up on this.

With every blessing,
Fr Adam