Issued 10th August 2020 Download this message
It’s been a few weeks since the government allowed places of worship to re-open for personal prayer and services to restart. In some parishes there was an immediate resumption, but the majority have chosen to take their time over planning, so that the transition back goes smoothly and comfortably for everyone. Much depends on available staffing and the particular layout and location of each building. Bishop Andrew gave all parishes in Guildford Diocese a dispensation to delay resuming a weekly service of Holy Communion until September. Frimley have chosen that option for a range of reasons, all concerning the logistics of church worship within the severe constraints of social distancing.
We’re delighted to say that services will recommence at St Peter’s on Sunday 6 September at 1000. 6 months was a longer period of online worship than anyone was expecting so it will be great to join together again. But it will be different!
1. The first major action is temporarily removing 10 of the pews to a storage container in the car park. This will arrive on 14 August so the building is ready for a September return. The remaining 8 will be situated around the sides of the church and at the back, enabling us to bring in some chairs from the Hall. This will give greater flexibility to arrange seating for services and other occasions, especially weddings and funerals. Importantly it will also allow us to accommodate more worshippers, as far as guidelines currently allow.
2. Under present regulations, all worshippers will have to wear face masks during a church service, unless they have a dispensation for health reasons.
3. We also have to comply with ‘track and trace’ protocols, so one person in each party will have to leave us their contact details on arrival, which we’ll keep only for the statutory 21 days. We’ll try to ensure that no-one else sees or has access to the details you leave.
4. There won’t be any singing as things stand at present, either choral or congregational. We’re hoping our Music Director Krystle Hewitson will play hymns and music for us, and we’re also allowed one singer, but our band won’t be playing live for a while yet.
5. We’re not allowed to give anyone books or handouts. All the necessary words for the service will be projected on to the screen, though you’re welcome to bring your own prayer or hymn book if you wish.
6. Sadly we can’t offer refreshments for the foreseeable future, as there’s to be no mingling or informal meeting in the church buildings.
7. If all goes well we’re hoping to resume Wednesday morning services by the beginning of October. We’re also hoping that services at St Francis can restart in October, initially on a monthly basis.
8. We’re expecting these arrangements to last for a minimum of 6 months, as social distancing is likely to be a part of our lives for at least that long. It may well be necessary to extend them for up to a further 6 months. However, guidelines are prone to change with little notice and we’re expecting plenty of changes over the coming months. Please keep watching the website for further news and updates, and if you know someone who has no access to IT, please could you make sure they’re also aware of what’s happening.
Issued 20th July 2020
We are please to announce that we are now opening St Peter's on Frday as well as Wednesday and Sunday from this week (2th uly)
Issued 8th July 2020
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Worship after Lockdown
Not many days after allowing churches to open their doors again, the government has said that they can also resume usual worship activities. We’re delighted that freedom is back, but for the foreseeable future it comes with strings attached. The PCC is meeting on Tuesday 14 July to decide on how to proceed, as there are many considerations. We’re anticipating a clear directive from Bishop Andrew shortly, and this is what we’re expecting next:
Worship will have to comply with social distancing guidelines - much harder to achieve with pews rather than chairs
Initially at least children will have to remain with an accompanying adult, and soft toys aren’t permitted.
There won’t be any singing, although the organ or keyboard can be played and one singer only may perform – wind and brass instruments are also not to be played for now, and the choir will still be furloughed.
If you want to bring a Bible or Service Book please do, as we can’t give out books, although we’ll use the projector and screen for text.
You’ll receive a wafer only at Communion for the time being.
We’ll continue our present regime of online worship only until the end of August. We’re expecting we’ll have to meet our usual minimum of one Holy Communion service each Sunday from the beginning of September, but going forward our main services will likely be live-streamed each week, and we’ll maintain our on-line worshipping presence as numbers accessing it are far greater than we see in church.
We’re hoping if all goes well that we can resume a limited service pattern at St Francis from October, probably once a month to start with.
Please note that first priority in everything we set up will be put on maintaining and promoting everyone’s health and safety, and we’ll be compliant with all guidelines and regulations. But as a church our parallel first priority is making sure that everyone who attends our services goes home afterwards spiritually nourished and helped on their faith journey. Please look at our website regularly for more details as they emerge, or if you don’t have internet access, ask someone who has! And do use St Peter’s for your own quiet prayers in the meantime.
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Issued 2nd July 2020
We are preparing to open St Peters for public Worship early September: Watch this space for latest details.
Issued 25th June 2020
Welcome Back! We’re so pleased that once again the doors of
St Peter’s are open for our community to find space and time to pray and
encounter our amazing God. However, for the next few weeks both the time and
space are restricted, so please can you note the following:
We’re starting off by opening the doors twice a
week, on a Sunday and a Wednesday at 1000 a.m. until
around 1.00 p.m. Yes, those are the regular service times you’re used
to! These may be extended as time goes on, so keep an eye on our parish website
for updates and changes.
2. Because of the restrictions we have to observe, the building will feel strange to anyone who’s familiar with it. Please can you take on board the notices when you enter and use the sanitising gel before you move to the front pew to spend time in prayer.
3. We’ll do all we can to maintain St Peter’s as a warm and spiritual ‘house of prayer’ but please bear with us if some of the things you’re used to aren’t available yet. We’re hoping to bring them back and ease the restrictions as guidelines permit.
4. Please bring your own Bible or Prayer Book if you find that helpful, as the church ones aren’t to be used. Since we’re likely to have some warm days ahead, please also bring your own bottle of water so that you’re comfortable and don’t feel unwell. But apologies, the toilet has to remain locked for the time being.
5. For now we’re suggesting no more than 4 people in the building at a time, so please wait outside if the front pews are fully occupied. Remember that others will be praying too, so please don’t disturb them. It will be a joy to see friends again, but meetings are not allowed yet inside church so please go outside for catch-up conversations.
6. Although we’re relieved that the crisis is abating, at least for now, please remember in your prayers those who’ve lost loved ones over the past three months, those whose front-line work has left them exhausted or traumatised, and give thanks for everyone who has continued working to keep us going through the lockdown.