St John's is Open for Worship
Added: 7 September 2020; Updated: 14 September 2020; 5 October 2020
On Sunday, 6 September 2020, after 24 weeks of closure due to Covid-19, St John's finally welcomed the congregation back into the church building for public worship.
A total of 32 worshippers, including the minister, organist and others on duty attended what was a different service to what they were used to before lockdown. In order to minimise the risk to their health, the congregation was asked to maintain a strict 2 metre distance from anybody not in their household group; to remain where they were seated and wear a face covering throughout the service. They were also asked to sanitise their hands upon entry to the sanctuary.
There was no singing of praise items by the congregation, but recordings of two hymns from a pre-lockdown service were played while worshippers were invited to listen and think about the meaning of the words. With a shorter sermon and other changes to the traditional format, the service lasted barely 40 minutes.
Because the size of congregation that may attend is drastically reduced from pre-Covid-19 numbers, a booking system has been developed by which members of the congregation can reserve seats for themselves and other members of their household. To book space, members will be required to phone a dedicated number during the week before the Sunday upon which they intend to attend worship. Places will be allocated as far as is possible while conforming to the rules regarding social distancing.
At the end of the service, as the congregation left, several positive comments were made It was agreed that it was good to get back to church, albeit in a much altered form. The time when we can move even further towards normal was keenly awaited.
In subsequent weeks, numbers have varied in the 20s and 30s. So far we have not had a full capacity congregation, so we have not had to turn anyone away.