Saturday 16 January 2021 (Second post)

Dear Church Community,

In addition to the services at Church tomorrow and the live stream, there is a new opportunity available to you to join with with an after-service virtual coffee break over ‘zoom.’ We’ve all missed socialising in the Hall over tea and coffee. The next best thing to that is to do it virtually. This will be at 12 noon. It will last around 15 minutes or so. Everyone is welcome, for an opportunity to see faces you’ve missed (without the need for face coverings!) and to have a quick natter. Peter Nunn will be hosting it.

The link to click on is here: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/4746104101?pwd=dnZWcm5kUnhXVWJSbjRqb0Nkdkp3UT09 

If you are asked for a Meeting ID, it is: 474 610 4101. If you are asked for a passcode, it is: 864228.

If you click on the link above, you should not need to enter the meeting ID or passcode, as they are very cleverly integrated into the link. However if you go via the app rather than the link, you’ll probably need to enter the ID and passcode. The easiest thing is to use the link. 

If you haven’t used zoom before, it is free to download to your phone, tablet or laptop. You don’t necessarily have to download the app or programme but could just instead click the link above and select the option to join in from your web browser. When given the option to use ‘computer audio’ the best option is usually to confirm that.

We recognise not everyone is a fan of zoom or familiar with it. But this is just another option for the church family to come together, should you like to. There’s no expectation that many will join in but everyone is welcome to do so.

I won’t be joining you as I’ll be getting ready for the 12:30 PM service in Church but you’ll be in great company with Peter and others. 

Many thanks,

Damian

Saturday 16  January (First post)

Dear Church Community,

This Sunday Christ Church will be open for public worship, in a very restricted way, so as to make a visit to Church as safe as is practically possible. 

The government continues to permit places of worship to remain open for public worship because it deems them as being ‘essential.’ The local church is the essential hope of the world, pointing to an essential saviour. In light of this it seems important we continue to remain open as much as possible and if considered as safe as possible. My decision to remain open remains one which is under constant review from week to week and is based on a thorough risk assessment and regular liaison between the Churchwardens, PCC and Ministers.

Like last Sunday, we will be open but with a temporary pattern of service times:

8:45 AM Sunday Service
10:00 AM Sunday Service
11:15 AM Sunday Service
12:30 PM Sunday Service

These are the headlines you need to know:

  • Each service will be no more than 30 minutes.
  • Each service will be identical.
  • Each service will have a maximum of 15 people in the congregation.
  • There will NOT be holy communion at any service.
  • Booking for services is still required and must be completed by 10:00 PM on Saturday evening.
  • Arrival will take place via the Hall entrance. 
  • Please be aware of the sometimes icy surface of the car park during the winter months.
  • On arrival, please approach the Hall entrance having already put on your face covering, rather than arrive at the entrance and then put it on.
  • Face coverings should be worn at all times (visors on their own are not sufficient)
  • In light of the increased transmission of the virus, if you have an exemption from wearing a face covering, please make contact with me and I will seek to make arrangements for an area of seating for you which keeps you and others even safer.
  • Please observe the floor stickers, use hand sanitiser and use the NHS app if you have it.
  • Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the start of the service.
  • Please do not make conversation with or pass anything to a Churchwarden or other volunteer on arrival (for your protection and their protection).
  • Exiting the building will happen through the front doors and funeral doors.
  • DO NOT attend if you have any symptoms which could be deemed to be associated with COVID-19.
  • DO NOT attend if you have been asked to isolate by the NHS or other authorities.
  • DO NOT attend if you know you have been in recent contact with someone who has subsequently tested positive for the virus (but NHS track and trace haven’t got around to contacting you yet).
  • Please do not attend if you have a seasonal cold or cough, as coughing and sneezing is a way the virus can be transmitted more effectively by those who have the virus but are asymptomatic and don’t realise it.

We are doing everything we can to make a visit to Christ Church as safe as possible and as safe as any other public place can be. This does not mean it is ‘safe’ from the virus. There are many factors which cannot be controlled: those who come who may be infected but not know it; those who come who may have underlying health conditions and not know it; the effectiveness of face coverings; the behaviours of people upon arrival, and so on. In the midst of a pandemic and a mutating virus with increased transmission, we possibly sometimes feel that nowhere is truly safe. We all have to therefore make our own assessment of risk. For some of you reading this email, you have been advised by the NHS, government or family to stay at home all the time. It is my duty as a community leader to remind you of this. Just because Church is open this Sunday, does not mean you have to attend.

However, the invitation to attend extends to all. Some will consider their mental, emotional and spiritual health as well as their physical health in deciding whether to come. Others will consider those you come into contact with later in the week. We all have responsibilities to ourselves and to one another. So please hear me loud and clear: do not come to Church if you sense you are unwell, do not come to Church if it causes you to fear and be anxious that you might be putting yourself at risk, do not come to Church if those who know you best and love you and care about you think it is unwise for you to do so, and certainly do not come to Church because you think it is expected of you. Come to Church if you will find it helpful, if you feel you need to, if you are able and comfortable to do so and feel safe doing so.

So what next…

You can book your place at a service by clicking HERE

Our public worship will still be live streamed. As there will be one service repeated through the day, it won’t be necessary to live stream all four identical services. We will live stream the first service at 8:45 AM, which you can then watch back at any point during the day on Sunday. You will be able to watch on our YouTube channel HERE and our Facebook channel HERE

May God bless you, preserve you, and hold you close to him now and always.

Yours in His service,

Damian

Monday 4 January 2021

Dear Church Community,

This evening the Prime Minister shared the concerning news about the rise in hospital admissions due to Coronavirus and its variant. We are entering a further national lockdown (subject to the parliamentary procedures).

The document outlining all the restrictions is HERE.

The surprising and good news is that attending a place of worship for communal worship is still permissible. I just wanted to share this with you as soon as possible. This is what the information says: 

“Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.”

I will let you know if the national Church of England or the Diocese of Blackburn have further comment on this.

If you have booked to come this coming Sunday but in light of the news feel no longer comfortable in doing so, that’s no problem. Just get in touch to cancel your booking. 

If you are in the shielding category or another category where you are advised to stay at home, then I would encourage you to follow that advice for your own protection. But the choice ultimately is yours. It’s a fine balance (and for some a crisis) between looking after our mental health, our spiritual health and our physical health. The key factor is to ensure we don’t put others at risk or inadvertently put ourselves at risk. 

We will as a leadership team at Christ Church look afresh at our risk assessments and all our health, hygiene and safety arrangements and make further improvements where we can.

And we will of course continue to live stream as much of our worship as possible, as well seeking to provide other options such as DVDs and audio CDs for those without an internet connection. On this matter, I would ask if there are people who might be able to help in this field, please do get in touch. For example, if you have a computer with a disc drive and would be happy to burn some audio CDs or video DVDs.

Lastly, if you are in a situation where you feel unsafe to travel to purchase food or cannot arrange food deliveries because of the sudden surge in others doing so (especially those who are shielding), please don’t hesitate to get in touch for the family at Christ Church to help.

With much prayer and best wishes, especially for those suffering and for those serving those who are suffering.

God bless,

Damian