Reopening our doors
In order to conform to Government and Church of England guidance, we have undertaken a risk assessment of our church building and the arrangements we are required to have in place to keep the church environment as safe as possible for our visitors.
Due to the national lock-down and because Watford is a high-risk area we have decided to keep St John's Church closed at this time, and our services will continue to be live-streamed via Facebook.
As and when the building re-opens, we will continue with our specific COVID arrangements to ensure the safety of all, as follows:
Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) must not attend Church due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household and join us online for the service instead of attending in person.
We have set out detailed information on what you can expect in terms of the arrangements we have made to maintain as safe an environment as possible.
We would also ask you to arrive in plenty of time before the service as the additional procedures required will add to the time for entering church. Entry to Church will not be possible after 10:25am to allow the service to start on time as the service will also be live streamed on Facebook.
We have rearranged the pews at a measured distance of 2 metres. The pews can accommodate two individuals at either end of the pew, or can accommodate a family/household of up to six individuals. It will not be possible to select your own seats, instead, stewards will direct you to your allocated seats and we would ask you to remain in your seats throughout the service.
Even though we have rearranged the pews, there will be a limit to the number of people we can accommodate. Again, please do sign up in advance to indicate your attendance.
The mitigation actions we are putting in place include:
- Sanitising your hands on your way in and out of church;
- The main doors and the curates door will be open to provide ventilation;
- We will request that you confirm/provide your contact details upon entering the church to facilitate our record keeping in the event that we have to contact you at a later date. The Churchwardens reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who is unwilling to share contact details with us or is unwilling to provide assurance that they will contact us in the event of a positive COVID-19 test result;
- Orders of Service will be circulated with our weekly eBulletin. It would be extremely helpful if you could please print your own personal copy at home and bring this with you to Church. We will have a very limited number of printed copies available in church which will have been set aside for at least 72 hours in advance.
- Blue Sunday Service Sheets with the appointed readings will be circulated with our weekly eBulletin. It would be helpful if you could please print your own personal copy at home and bring this with you to Church, or alternatively please feel free to bring your personal copy of the Bible. We will not have any printed copies available in Church.
- The leather kneelers have all been sanitised. Soft material covered kneelers have been removed from use. Should you choose to use one of the kneelers we ask that you leave the kneeler on the floor after use to enable us to re-sanitise the kneelers after a period of 72 hours.
- The collection will be taken at the end by way of either the electronic card reader or by placing cash donations in the collection plate placed near the exit. Donations can also be made via our online donation facility.
- Please let the stewards know if you require a Gift Aid form. The stewards will take details of your email address and an electronic copy will be sent to you for completion. There will be no physical forms available in Church.
- Face coverings are encouraged, but are not compulsory. You will encounter Stewards who will be wearing face coverings and gloves.
- Visitors will not be permitted to touch or kiss any devotional items in Church.
- We will not be moving around or shaking hands during the Peace.
We will be following the guidelines on distributing communion, as follows:
- Hosts will stay in the ciborium at least 72 hours in advance;
- They will stay in the ciborium, which will remain closed, until distribution;
- The priest will elevate, breath over, and consume entirely the priest's host, which will be separate from the other hosts;
- Communion will be in one kind for the congregation;
- The priest will use sanitiser before distributing the hosts;
- The priest will take the hosts to the congregation, you must therefore remain in your seats to receive. The host will be dropped into your hands by the priest.
Whilst there are restrictions on the music we are allowed, we will have a cantor and the organ. There will be no congregational singing of hymns, instead we shall continue with the wonderful recordings prepared by St Martin in the Fields.
There will be no children's activities available initially and we will work towards providing a safe environment for the recommencement of such activities in due course. LOOK sheets and packs of colouring pencils will be available in ziplock cases which will have been isolated for at least 72 hours in advance.
We will operate a one-way system access to the toilets in the vestry, but only one person will be allowed access at any one time. Those visiting the facilities will be encouraged to wipe surfaces and to wash and re-sanitise their hands before re-entering church.
Please note that our services will be live-streamed on our FaceBook page. The camera will be focused on the area around the Nave Altar, including the lectern, and will not be turned to capture anyone present in the congregation.
There will be an opportunity to request for a candle to be lit for you, however, access to the candles will be controlled and restricted to reduce any risk of transmission. In addition, there will be no access to the Sacrament Chapel and devotional items in church will be cordoned as we ask visitors to avoid touching any devotional items, such as statues etc.
There will be no refreshments available after the service, however, we will continue with our virtual ZOOM tea/coffee session after the service at 11:45am.