As you may have heard, the government has given permission for places of worship to be opened for private prayer only from next Monday 15th June.
Before we open Saint Patrick’s Church for private prayer, we need to show that our Church is a safe place for people when they come to pray. This will involve the completion and approval of a risk assessment and the purchase of the required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This will take time to complete to the recommended standards. The Church will need to be marked out with tape for social distancing, observing an entrance and separate exit door. It is recommended that people wear face coverings to enter the Church, using the sanitising gel provided. Those with cold or flu-like symptoms should not enter. Also please note that the Church toilet facilities will remain closed to prevent any risk of transmission of infection. The Church will also need to be cleaned/sanitised after each day of opening.
We are aiming to re-open the Church for the first time for private prayer on Sundays, starting on 21st June from 2pm – 4pm. The Church will also be open on Tuesdays from 10.30am – 12.30pm and on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. To enable this to happen we need people to volunteer as Church Stewards to ensure safety and to help sanitize at the conclusion of each period of opening. If we have sufficient numbers of stewards we will be able to extend our ‘opening hours’.
If you are able to offer your time to steward any of the above times, please contact Lorraine Miller who is preparing our rota: Lorraine.firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like two or three stewards for each opening session. It is recommended that Stewards are not drawn from those instructed to shield or from groups considered more vulnerable.
These measures may seem burdensome, or even a little daunting. They are however necessary, not least because if any churches are seen to be operating in a way that may increase the spread of the virus, there is risk that stricter measures such as prohibition or enforced closure notices could be imposed by local authorities or even national administrations. It is our hope that working effectively together, we will be able to open churches safely for private prayer, as a significant step towards the resumption of the celebration of Mass and the sacraments.
We look forward to being able to come as individuals to Saint Patrick’s very soon to make our private prayers to the Lord. We know that it will be a very welcome home-coming for many.