Church in Church Q&A
Issue 2 - 2021-07-20
When will Church be in Church again?
We're going to start on the 25 of July with one service in the building each Sunday:
- Sunday 25 July at 6:00pm
- Sunday 1 August at 8:30am
- Sunday 8 August at 10:30am
- Sunday 15 August at 6:00pm
- Sunday 22 August at 8:30am
Do I have to sign up?
No. We do not anticipate you needing to sign up for services.
Where will I sit?
We are going to ask people who come wearing a mask to sit on the pulpit side of the church. We are going to invite those who come not wearing masks to sit on the eagle-lectern side of the church.
If you sit on the pulpit side of the church, please sit socially distanced from other household bubbles.
If you sit on the eagle-lectern side of the church, please be sensitive to others, in deciding where you sit.
What about Zoom?
You can still attend each of our Sunday worship services via Zoom, at 8:30am, 10:30am and 6:00pm, using the Holy Trinity Ashby (Main) Zoom link.
What if I'm on a rota?
If you are on a rota you can contribute to the service via Zoom in the (now) familiar way.
If the service is in the building, you can still join us on Zoom and make your contribution to the service.
If you choose to be in the building (for one of the services listed above) you can read the bible, or lead intercessions from the building. If you choose to come to the building, please let us know, either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the service leader at least 15 minutes before the service starts.
For the other rota duties (music, leading services) we will be having personal conversations with those involved.
Will I have to wear a mask?
You are free to choose to not wear a mask. Please be sensitive to how much space others want. If someone is wearing a mask, please give them plenty of 'social distance'.
If you do not wear a mask, we will invite you sit on the eagle-lectern side of the church, with others who are not wearing masks.
Can I wear a mask?
If you decide to join us in the church building you can wear a mask and keep a social distance from others.
If you wear a mask, we will invite you to sit on the pulpit side of the church, and to sit with 2m between you and other household-bubbles.
Will the services be longer?
We are planning on keeping the same format, content and duration of our services, as we have found this to work well for using Zoom.
Why not all three services?
On Monday 19 July, Tim Phillips (our vicar) in consultation with our Standing Committee and various members of the Church Council (he could reach by phone), took the decision to only have one service in the church building each week. This was a change from our previous plan to have all three services in the church building.
The reasons for this change are varied, and primarily relate to the change in circumstances since the extra-ordinary PCC meeting on the 28 June when the council decided, by consensus, to open the church building for all three services.
The main changes since that meeting are
- A substantial and growing increase in the rate of Covid infections.
- A lack of clarity about the impact of long-covid on those who have been double vaccinated
- The issues surrounding the now widespread self-isolation required for people who have attended a large gathering (where someone later tests positive for Covid-19). This has wide-ranging impacts on holiday plans, and peoples willingness to attend larger gatherings.
As a result of these changes, we have been struggling to staff the additional volunteer duties we need to open the church building.
Taking this decision also means that we are able to avoid putting our volunteers under pressure to attend 'Church in Church' for services, when they have reasons to not do so or feel uncertain about joining us.
We want all of us to feel free to make week-by-week choices (and to keep changing those decisions) based on the factors most relevant to us.
Can we sing?
Yes, if you feel you would like to sing, you are welcome to do so.
What about Holy Communion?
We will continue to have Holy Communion on the 2nd and 4th Sunday's at the 8:30am service on Zoom.
The first Sunday when we might have communion in the building is Sunday 12 September at the 8:30am service. We will say more about this in the weeks ahead.
What about Tea & Coffee?
We are not planning to offer tea, coffee and biscuits during July and August.
Bottles of water will be available.
Why not a single service time?
I have been asked why we don't have a fixed time for a service in the building each week (e.g. 8:30am or 10:30am). There are a range of reasons for this.
These include how we value all three of our congregations.
By starting with our smallest evening service (though everyone is welcome), we have the simplest set-up in terms of technology (including the sound system, Zoom and song words). We also have the most space to road test our new post-restrictions good practices for living with Covid-19.
By cycling through our service times on a weekly basis we will have the opportunity to test and reflect on how we work sensitively with covid guidance and how we can use Zoom best for each service.
We want all our services to become a blend of the building and zoom experiences. People who are members of all of our congregations have expressed to me how much they value attending church using Zoom this year, and how in future they want to have the option of using Zoom to attend church, even as we return to using our building.
We already have one member joining us regularly from a care home, as well as others who have been so appreciative of being able to attend on Zoom when they would not have otherwise been able to attend in-person.
By having a service at a different time each week we will have space to think though all the issues (both Covid and Zoom related) and to get used to what it will mean to use our building with Zoom as we come to live with the corona-virus, rather than falling back into the ways we used to use the building.
What about Social Distancing?
This is going to be an interesting time of 'finding our way' both as a church and a country.
Please be sensitive to others and if you notice them increasing their social distance, please avoid unconsciously 'closing the gap'.
If people are wearing masks, please be particularly careful to keep 2m between you and them.
Can I contribute from home?
Yes, you can contribute to the service via Zoom.
For the services that are also in the building, those reading the bible, leading prayers (or even the service) will appear on the screen in church, with their voices coming through the sound system.
If you want to come to the building to read the bible or to pray, you are welcome to do so.
What about the rota's
We will presume that you are going to serve your duties on Zoom, unless you tell us otherwise. Please find the service leader 15 minutes before the start of the service, if you choose to read or lead prayers from the building.
Please feel free to change your mind, on a week-by-week basis.
What about Small Groups?
For small groups, we are going to leave those decisions to the groups themselves. If you have the care of a church group and would like to book the church building (after restrictions are lifted), please contact Emma Harris on email@example.com