Public Worship

Public Worship

We give thanks to God for our beautiful church building – once more a house of prayer, a school in Scriptural wisdom, and a place of blessing
We relaunched Public Worship in our parish on Sunday 13 September. Public worship is taking place in our parish church and our parish centre.
 
As a church community, we are grateful to all those who are volunteering in stewarding and cleaning, which are critical to our remaining opening safely. If you would like to volunteer for one of these roles, please contact us by email to office@oxtonstsaviour.co.uk – we’ll provide some brief training and add you to our rota!

Our services

Each Sunday we have three services in church plus three services for families in Room 3. In addition, we have a midweek period for private prayer and a midweek Eucharist. You can see our timetable below.
 
We understand that some members of our church family continue to worship at home, and as the pandemic continues we are ‘broadcasting’ a Eucharist online each Sunday morning. Morning Prayer is also available on our Facebook page each morning, Monday to Friday. For those without access to the internet, we provide a sermon and prayers on a dedicated telephone line each Sunday.
 
It’s important that we manage our own expectations about how Public Worship will feel in this period of the pandemic. Government and Church regulations intended to keep everyone safe mean that services are shorter, with no hymns. Social distancing means too that ticketing for some services is necessary.

Nonetheless, we give thanks to God that we are able to be together in church, and that we are able to receive the Sacraments and to come forward for an individual blessing.

Some of the lay ministries which enrich our worship are able to continue as part of the ‘new normal’ – examples include reading lessons and some choral singing. The public health restrictions necessary to keep us all safe mean that other ministries are not able to continue during this period – these remain an important and much valued part of our life together, and we look forward to relaunching them once the public health situation is different.


FAQs

Please note that this is a dynamic document. Answers will be updated as the public health emergency develops, and further questions and answers will be added over time. Recent changes:
2020/10/13 An answer amended concerning new Government regulations for the Merseyside City Region (which includes Wirral) and how these affect us before and after services – click here.
2020/09/10 A new question added: I wish to sign the Attendance Register as part of an application for school. How will this work? – click here.
2020/09/06 A new question added: I am scheduled to minister at a service (e.g. choir member, helping lead at Junior Church, reading a lesson, leading intercessions). Do I need to pre-book a seat for the service at which I’m ministering?  – click here.
2020/09/03 A small amendment to the route to leave Church after you have received the Sacrament – click here. A new question added: Will the services be different from the ones before the pandemic began? – click here. Slight amendment to the arrangements for Junior Church services – click here.

Why do we have so many services each Sunday? Aren’t most churches having just one or two?

Social distancing means that: fewer than 40 people can attend any given service in our parish church; and only around 30 people can attend any given Junior Church service in our parish centre.
Our worshiping community numbers over 500 people, around 100 of whom are children, so you can see that these figures present a particular challenge for us as we plan worship.
For this reason, we are holding many more services than most other churches – for instance, both Chester Cathedral and Liverpool Cathedral are holding two services each Sunday, whereas we are holding six. The logistical challenges of holding six services in a way that keeps everyone safe is one key reason why we relaunched services in September rather than sooner.
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Do I need to prebook to attend a service?

Pre-booking is necessary for services, except for the midweek Eucharist on Wednesdays. Pre-booking means that you can set out for a service with confidence, knowing that there will be room for you.
For Wednesday’s Eucharist, just turn up and we’ll ask for your contact information when you arrive, so we can store it securely for the NHS Track and Trace project.
There is information below about how to pre-book.
Once a service is fully booked, no-one else can be admitted. For this reason, if you pre-book and then your plans change, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can offer your seat(s) to another person. 
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I have, or have recently had, symptoms of COVID-19. Can I come to church?

No, you shouldn’t come to church if you have, or have recently had, any of the symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild. This also applies if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, even if you have no symptoms.
The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following: a new continuous cough; a high temperature; a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia). For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, Government regulations state that you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
For more important information, please click here.
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What if someone in my household has, or has recently had, COVID-19 symptoms?

If anyone in your household has, or has recently had, any COVID-19 symptoms, even mildly, Government regulations state that you must stay at home and not leave the house.
For more important information, please click here.
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I am clinically vulnerable. How will my needs to met?

The measures we have put in place for public worship follow regulations from the Government and the Church of England which are designed to keep everyone safe. As these regulations change, our practice will flex so that we continue to be in line with best practice.
In order to provide an extra measure of protection to those who are clinically vulnerable, there will be priority booking for people who are clinically vulnerable at the 8.00am Sunday service, and for groups containing one child under 13 at the 10.45am Sunday service. You can find below more information about our Priority Booking system.
Of course, you may choose also to use our Regular Booking system to pre-book for any service you wish to attend.
The Church of England advises those who are clinically extremely vulnerable not to attend church services. However, this decision is entirely a matter for each individual.
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Do I need to wear a face covering?

Yes. Adults and children aged 11 and over are required by law to wear a face covering in church and in the parish centre.
This does not apply to: those unable to put on or wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability; people for whom wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress; anyone assisting someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
Young children should not wear face coverings because of the risk of choking and suffocation.
Unless you are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering, you should put it on before entering the building.
You can take off your face covering in order to eat, drink, or take medication. Please see below the regulations for face coverings and the reception of Holy Communion.
Those leading the service from the chancel are not required to wear face coverings. They will put on a respiratory mask and a visor face shield before distributing the Consecrated Bread to communicants – this is designed to keep both the minister and the communicant safe.
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What happens when I arrive at the parish church?

When you come to our parish church for worship or private prayer, you should enter by the south west door (that is, the heavy wooden church door with the porch inside).
Inside the porch a steward will greet you and remind you to put on your face covering (unless you are exempt), and will record your attendance against the list of those who have pre-booked.
There is no ‘offertory’ during services, and so you will have an opportunity to give to fund the work of the church when you arrive at the porch of the church.
The steward will ask you to sanitize your hand, and will then give you the seat number for the seats you have booked. When you enter the nave of the church, please remember to follow the one-way system.
To prevent transmission of infection, no service sheets or hymn books are in use – you will find all the information you need for the service on the screens in church.
If the steward is greeting someone in the porch of the church when you arrive, please practise social distancing as you wait to enter the building.
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What happens when I arrive at Junior Church services?

When you come to a Junior Church service, you are asked to walk around the church to the glass doors at the end of Room 3, and enter by one of these. The main doors to the parish centre are in use as an exit for the parish church, in line with the one-way system we are required to operate.
Inside the door in Room 3, one of the Junior Church team will greet you and remind you to put on your face covering (unless you are exempt). As noted elsewhere, children under the age of 11 are not required to wear face coverings, and young children should not wear face masks because of the risk of choking and suffocation.
Upon your arrival, your attendance will be recorded against the list of those who have pre-booked.
There is no ‘offertory’ during services, and so you will have an opportunity to give to fund the work of the church when you arrive. We shall ask you to sanitize your hands and those of your children. Please observe the one-way system in place in Room 3. Exit will be by one of the doors at the end of Room 3, and not via the main doors to the parish centre.
The loos situated directly off Room 3 will be available for use. Baby changing facilities are available in one of the loos directly off the foyer of the parish centre.
If the steward is greeting someone at the entrance to Room 3 when you arrive, please practise social distancing as you wait to enter the building.
We respectfully ask you not to bring food to services in Room 3 or in the Parish Church.
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I wish to sign the Attendance Register as part of an application for school. How will this work?

Parents who wish to sign the register as part of the admissions process for St Saviour’s School need to attend at least two attendances per month.
When you arrive for any Junior Church Service or any service at the Parish Church, you will be able to complete a short form and give it to us. These forms will be used to complete the register. The forms will be stored securely with the register until the school application process is complete.
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I often sit in the same pew at church? Can I continue to do this during the public health emergency?

Only some of the pews can be used for seating – others need to be left empty to ensure social distancing. We are also required to have a one-way system in place, and this means that only pews which can be accessed from the north or south aisles can be used. The centre aisle will not be in use.
In church, each pew can seat only one single person and one couple, or alternatively one family group or bubble. For this reason, we need to allocate seats in order to maximize the number of people who can attend a service. This means that unfortunately we cannot seat you in ‘your’ pew.
You may notice, when you enter church, that there are fewer pews than before at the front of church. These have been removed in line with a temporary faculty which the PCC obtained from the Diocese, for safety reasons, very shortly before the Coronavirus lockdown began.
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Will the loos be open?

Yes – the loos downstairs in the parish centre are available for use by congregation members and those attending the weekly period of private prayer. Upstairs in the parish centre remains closed at this time. Baby changing facilities are available in one of the downstairs loos.
Hand sanitizer is available outside the lavatories, and we ask you to sanitize your hands (and your child’s hands, if applicable) before entering the loo. Before leaving the loo, we ask you to wipe commonly touched surfaces (that is, taps and so forth) using the wipes provided. Please place used wipes in the basket provided . Flushing wipes causes blocks in the plumbing system and so makes loos unavailable for others. Soap and the hand dryer are available for use after you have disposed of the wipe in the basket.
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I have children. How is the church addressing their needs?

Three Junior Church services takes place each Sunday in Room 3 of the parish centre. In Room 3, seating is around tables. Up to four people can be accommodated around each table, and booking is by table. These measures enable us to keep everyone safe by maintaining social distancing and to limit the number of people in the room at any one time. Children of school age are welcome to attend these Junior Church services. However, each table must have one adult and one preschool child.
We recognize that these measures will cause challenges for some families, and we shall review the situation once we have a clearer idea of the level of demand from families with preschool children.
There is priority booking at the 10.45am Sunday service in church for any adult who brings a child of preschool or primary school age with them. Within the limitations imposed on us, we are attempting to give this service a less formal feel.
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Doesn’t Junior Church normally meet as three congregations – Sand, Pebbles and Rock?

Yes – that pattern has enabled us to meet the different needs of children in a differentiated way, and we intend to return to it once the public health emergency is over.
At the present time, DfE regulations state that children meeting in a group without their parents need to do so in a stable ‘bubble’. Since we can’t know who will attend Pebbles and Rocks from week to week, this means that these two congregations can’t meet at present.  
Our new joint Junior Church services, which children attend in family ‘bubbles’, allows us to make provision for children from birth to the end of school Year 6 while keeping everyone safe.    
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In church there are normally children’s books and toy bags. Are these available during the pandemic?

Unfortunately not – we have removed these to reduce the spread of infection.
You should feel welcome to bring your own books and quiet toys if you feel these will help your child to settle at a service in our parish church. Please take care to pack these up and take them with you when the service is ended.
Children are welcome at all services in church. The 10.45am Eucharist on Sundays is a short informal service, where groups with a child under the age of 13 have priority booking.    
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I am scheduled to minister at a service (e.g. choir member, helping lead at Junior Church, reading a lesson, leading intercessions). Do I need to pre-book a seat for the service at which I’m ministering? 

If you’re in the choir for a church service, or are helping lead at a Junior Church service, you don’t need to pre-book for that service. For all other ministries you do need to pre-book a seat.
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How can I receive Holy Communion safely?

At each celebration of the Eucharist, the bread and wine used for the sacrament is covered at the altar (except for the bread which only the presiding priest will consume). At the end of the service, the presiding priest will distribute the Consecrated Bread to the communicants, and will put on a respiratory mask and a visor face shield before doing so. In line with current Church of England regulations, only the presiding priest will receive the Consecrated Wine.
When it is time to receive the Sacrament, communicants are invited to come to a point at the front of the chancel where the priest will distribute the the Sacramental Bread. Please follow the one-way system – this will mean that people seated in the north side will need to walk to the back of the church, then across the church in front of the font, before walking down the south aisle.
You should continue to wear your face covering until you reach the hand-sanitizing point in front of the Angel Altar.
At the hand-sanitizing point, in line with Church of England regulations, you should sanitize your hands, then remove your mask, then sanitize your hands again before moving (one at a time) to the priest.
The priest will distribute the Sacrament by placing the Consecrated Bread in your hand without using the Words of Distribution.
If your hand and the priest’s hand accidentally touch, both you and the priest must sanitize your hands immediately. Hand sanitizer will be available with which to do this.
After you have received the Sacrament, you are asked to leave the church directly, through the wooden door at the front of the north aisle (this door used to lead into the old parish rooms’ loo, but which now leads into the parish centre atrium). From there, please make your way to main exit of the parish centre. Before you leave, there will be another opportunity to sanitize your hands.
Please take your belongings with you when you queue to receive the Sacrament, and do not return to your seat after you have received Holy Communion – this is especially important when another Service will follow soon afterwards, as it prevents transmission of infection to the next congregation.
If you wish to receive a personal blessing from the priest, rather than receiving the Sacrament, please join the line of people coming to receive Communion. Please keep your face covering on when approaching the priest as a sign that you wish a blessing. The priest will offer a ‘contactless’ blessing.
We realize that this situation is not ideal, but ask you to bear with it in the interests of keeping everyone as safe as possible.
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How long do services last?

The Church of England recommends that services be shortened as a way of reducing the risk of transfer of infection. Our services last around 35 minutes.
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Are the services be different from the ones before the pandemic began?

Yes and No.
In some ways, our services do feel a bit different. For the reason given above, the new services last only 35 minutes, whereas most of our services before the pandemic began lasted for around an hour. This means that some of the prayers that we all love are not being said during the new services. (Though, of course, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t say these prayers at home.)
Congregational singing is not permitted under Government regulations, and this does give many of our services a different ‘feel’. St Augustine of Hippo, the father of western theology, said that to sing is to pray twice. Many of us are missing the opportunity to sing to God in church. 
Moreover, regulations mean that all communicants except the presiding priest receive only the Consecrated Bread, and we receive the Sacrament standing rather than kneeling. As a further precaution, we are distributing the Sacrament to communicants at the end of our services, and asking you not to return to your seat afterwards.
So lots which we (rightly) value is different or missing, and we all look forward to a time when parts of our worship can return. As we come to worship in church, it’s important for us all to recognize that things are not returning to normal in church for the foreseeable future. We are being invited to embrace a ‘new normal’.
At the same time, the most important parts of our worship remain constant. We continue to come together to pray with our fellow Christians. We continue to acknowledge our sins and to seek God’s forgiveness, to praise God, and to listen for him speak to us in the words of Holy Scripture. We continue to proclaim together our Faith, to offer ourselves afresh to God, to plead with confidence Christ’s one sacrifice of Himself, and to receive the blessings of Holy Communion.
In all these most essential ways, our worship of God on Sundays follows the same patterns which have shaped Christian worship across 2,000 years, and which shape Christian souls across the world in our time.
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Is there coffee afterwards?

Unfortunately not at the moment. We recognize that having the opportunity to meet after the service is important and we intend to move back to this in the future. However, the decision has been made not to open the parish centre kitchen at this time.
In addition, under current Government regulations for the Merseyside City Region (which includes Wirral), it is illegal for people from different households (or support bubbles) we meet either indoors or outdoors. Please be aware of this before and after services. 
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How do I go about pre-booking for a service?

Pre-booking is necessary each time you attend a service or the period of private prayer.
In order to pre-book you need to telephone the Priority Booking, or Regular Booking, telephone line during the time slots indicated below. Pre-bookings will not be accepted outside these time slots. Email bookings will not be accepted.
When you phone these lines, you will be asked to leave a message which includes your name and telephone number, the service you wish to attend on the following Wednesday or Sunday, and the number of seats you wish to pre-book. We shall return your call to confirm – normally on the next day.

In order to provide a measure of protection to those who are clinically vulnerable, there will be priority booking for people who are clinically vulnerable at the 8.00am Sunday service, and for groups containing one child under 13 at the 10.45am Sunday service.
People who are clinically vulnerable wishing to use Priority Booking for an 8.00am Sunday Service: phone our Priority Booking telephone number between 10am and 1pm on the Monday beforehand.
Groups containing at least one child under 13 wishing to use Priority Booking for a 10.45am Sunday Service: phone our Priority Booking telephone number between 10am and 1pm on the Monday beforehand.
No priority bookings will be accepted outside these times. 
Our Priority Booking line is 07385 583949.

For all other bookings, you should telephone our regular Booking telephone number.
To book a 20 minute slot during the time when our parish church is open for private prayer between 2pm and 4pm on a Wednesday: phone our regular Booking telephone number between 10am and 1pm on the Monday beforehand.
To book seats at a 7.30pm Eucharist on a Wednesday: phone our regular Booking telephone service between 10am and 1pm on the Monday beforehand.
To book seats at any Sunday service in the parish church or the parish centre: phone our regular Booking telephone number in the previous week, between 1pm on Monday and 1pm on Thursday.
No regular bookings will be accepted outside these times.
Our regular Booking line is 07471 439024.

People who are entitled to use the Priority Booking system on Monday mornings may, if they prefer, use our regular Booking service (on a regular basis) after Priority Booking closes, for any service they wish to attend.

Junior Church services on Sundays will be for ‘family groups’ – each of which can contain up to four people in the same bubble. We shall accept Junior Church bookings only from ‘family groups’ which include at least one adult and at least one preschooler. We accept this may cause challenges for some families, and we shall review this once the level of demand from families with preschoolers becomes clearer.
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What happens to the data produced when I pre-book?

The Church of England’s normal practice is to record the overall number of adults and children who attend each service, as well as the overall number of communicants on each occasion. At children’s services, we keep a register of attendance in line with safeguarding best practice. We shall continue to collect and keep this information.
In addition, to support NHS Test and Trace during the current pandemic, we are currently recording the names and contact details of those who attend each service or period of private prayer, and we are retaining this record for 21 days. This reflects the incubation period for COVID-19 (which can be up to 14 days) and an additional 7 days to allow time for testing and tracing. After 21 days, we are securely disposing of this information.
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Timetable for public worship

Sundays in Church
8.00am – BCP Holy Communion (Mattins on 3rd Sunday)

9.15am – Modern language Eucharist (Service of the Word on 1st Sunday)
10.45am – Modern language Eucharist (Service of the Word on 1st Sunday)

Sundays in Parish Centre
9.15am, 10.45am, and Noon – Service for family groups*

Wednesdays in Church
11,30am till 1.00pm – General cleaning
2.00pm till 4.00pm – Private Prayer (you can book 20 minute slots)
7.30pm – Modern language Eucharist

* ‘Family groups’ here means up to four people who are in the same bubble. Family groups admitted to these services will include at least one adult and at least one preschooler.

Timetable for online worship

Sundays
10.00am – Modern language Eucharist

Monday to Friday
9.00am – Morning Prayer

These online services are available at https://www.facebook.com/oxtonstsaviour
You do not need to be a registered Facebook user to access this page.

In addition, Sunday’s sermon and some brief prayers are available each week on a dedicated telephone line for those who do not have internet access. Call .0151 318 0581. Standard rates for calls to 0151 numbers apply.