Updated Pandemic Measures

Updated Pandemic Measures

Dear friends
A subgroup of our Parish Leadership Team has recently reviewed our public health measures in response to the pandemic, leading to a relaxing of a number of these measures. These changes, outlined below, will be put in place in the first few weeks of July.

Social distancing in our church and other buildings is now a personal choice. (The only exception is that the vestry areas in our church are more enclosed places and so some restrictions remain in place there.) We encourage everyone to respect other attendees who may wish to adopt a more cautious approach. 

Face coverings are now optional in our church and other buildings. (Some exceptions remain to ensure that Holy Communion is distributed safely – so restrictions remain in place for clergy and some lay ministers at the Eucharist.) 

Hand sanitisers remain in place: at entrances to our buildings; at the entrance to the vestry area and in the clergy vestry; near the altars and in the crossing, where they can be used by communicants (if they desire) and by administrants; outside each lavatory.

Remote access to worship: We recognize that some people still feel cautious about gathering with others, and we continue to provide worship online on a range of platforms, and also via a dedicated telephone line.

Reducing the spread of infection: We display on screens the words of the services and hymns at our principal Sunday services – this reduces the chance for infection to spread and is also good for the environment. Hymn books will soon be optionally available at our 9.15am service, and books are used at some other services. Children’s activity bags and collection plates remain out of use.

If you have symptoms of COVID19, please stay at home rather than coming to church. To read government advice on COVID19, please click here.

Staying safe at the Sacraments: We have published a detailed account of how we work to keep everyone safe at Holy Communion in our latest risk assessment. You may receive Communion either standing or kneeling. Communion is offered in two kinds, but many people choose to receive only the Consecrated Bread – and you should feel absolutely free to follow your own preference. Intinction is not currently permitted. We have a risk assessment in place for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

Making our Buildings safe: Our Parish Church is naturally well ventilated. Hand sanitisers are widely available for use as noted above. Our Parish Church opens only for services and other events. We have discontinued at this time the cleaning of pews between services – this remains under active review. We offer a variety of contactless ways to give. All groups which use our buildings are required to have their own COVID19 risk assessment in place.

Want to find out more? You can read our latest risk assessment here. We are also very happy to speak with you if you would like to find out more. We shall next review our risk assessment for COVID19 in October, or sooner should the public health situation markedly change.

Bearing one another’s burdens: inevitably, some of us will feel that the measures now in place are too cautious; and others will feel that they are not cautious enough. No matter what decisions you would have taken, I hope that you will be able to recognize in these measures a desire to balance competing goods.

God calls us to continue to respond with compassion both for ourselves and for others who feel differently from us. For in this way, we shall know within ourselves, and shall minister to others, the love of God. There is no higher calling than that.

With kindest regards
Joe

The Revd Dr J Kennedy
Vicar of Oxton St Saviour

July 2022