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9th July 2020

The UK Government has relaxed the COVID-19 lockdown measures sufficiently enough that we, as a Church, can once more open the doors to our buildings for worship services.

The deacons and I are preparing to reopen the chapel on Sunday 12th July for the morning service only.  For the time being we will continue to use ZOOM for our Sunday evening fellowship time and our Tuesday evening meeting.

Let me assure you straight away that we will continue to stream the morning service to YouTube and produce DVDs and CDs for those who cannot attend in person.

We need to do all we can to make our Sunday morning time together as COVID-19 secure as we possibly can.  We have carried out a risk assessment and are putting in place measures adhering to the guidelines set out by the UK Government and Public Health England.

Although we are making every effort to minimise the risk of exposure to, and transmission of, the virus, inevitably there is some increased risk whenever people from different households meet together and for this reason it should be noted that the government is continuing to advise that:

  • Anyone in a high-risk category should avoid contact with others as much as possible

  • Anyone who has been sent a letter advising them to shield should continue to do so

  • Anyone over the age of 70 should stay at home as much as possible and take particular care to minimise contact with people outside of their own household

We, as a Church, wish to be a good witness to the community in which we worship and hence we fully intend to abide by the guidelines as they are set out at this time.

Whilst we are putting mitigations in place to minimise the risk, it is incumbent on each individual attending Church services to act responsibly, ensuring social distancing is maintained and observing meticulous hand hygiene for the protection of themselves, other attendees, our communities and our Health Service.

Symptoms of COVID-19 – If you are displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19 please DO NOT attend our Church services.  Instead stay at home and seek medical advice as necessary.  The symptoms are one or more of:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

The following should be noted and adhered to as we meet together:

  1. Social distancing – We will be implementing social distancing of 2 metres in the chapel buildings and throughout our chapel estate, this means that a household group must maintain a gap of at least 2 metres from any other household group.

  2. Entering the Chapel – Only one of the front doors will be used for entry to the chapel, someone will be on hand to offer advice should it be needed, please do not use the side entrances, these will be available as emergency exits.

  3. Record of Attendees – A list of everyone attending the chapel will be made and kept for 21 days, after which time it will be destroyed.  This list will only be used for NHS Track & Trace purposes, should it be required.

  4. Hand Cleansing – Antibacterial hand wash solution will be available in the lobby of the chapel, please make use of this as you enter the chapel and again when you leave.  Please make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before leaving home to come to Church and again when you arrive home after Church.

  5. Face & Hand Coverings – Face masks and gloves will not be provided at the chapel so, if you wish to wear them, please provide your own and take them home with you after the service.

  6. Seating – Seating in the chapel will be laid out so as to aid social distancing.  Please do not move the chairs.  When you get to chapel find a seat and do not move around the chapel any more than absolutely necessary.  The gallery will be available should it be needed but only the pews and seats nearest the external walls should be used (this will minimise the number of droplets travelling over the edge of the gallery to the floor below).  Please only use the stairs from the lobby to enter and exit the gallery except in an emergency.

  7. Bibles and Hymn Books – These will not be provided.  If there are any left out, please do not use them.  You are free to bring your own Bible from home, but you must take it and all other personal belongings away with you at the end of the service.  If you do not have your own copy of the Bible we can provide you with one to keep.

  8. Toilets – The chapel toilets will be available to be used should the need arise.  There will be antibacterial wipes in each cubicle and the flush handle and toilet seat must be wiped after each use (handle first, then seat).  The wipe must be placed in the bin NOT flushed down the loo.  Please make good use of your own lavatory facilities at home before leaving for chapel to minimise the use of the chapel toilets.

  9. Offerings – There will be an open-topped bucket in the chapel lobby into which you may place your tithes and offerings.  Please do not use the wooden offering boxes by the doors - they will be taped up.

  10. Singing – Although there will be songs played on the TV screens during services, there must be no congregational singing.

  11. Refreshments – For the time being there will be no refreshments after the service.  We are actively looking into ways in which refreshments can be provided safely, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we can enjoy a coffee after the service.

  12. Drinking Water – Some bottles of water will be provided in case you require a drink during the service, however it would be preferable if you brought your own.  Any bottles you use must be taken away with you at the end of the service.

  13. Ventilation – Some of the doors and windows will remain open during the service to provide a flow of air through the building; please do not close them.

  14. Touch Points – Please do not touch anything that you do not need to touch (eg. microphones, the lectern, musical instruments, sound equipment, etc.).

  15. Children & Young People – It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure children are kept safe and keep others safe.  It breaks my heart to say this but there can be no running around or climbing of the pillars, before, during or after the service!  There will be no Sunday Club, Bible Class or Little Learners at least until the schools break up for the Summer holidays, at which time we will review the situation.  Places will be made available for parents/guardians to take younger children out of the service if need be, but social distancing must be observed at all times.  All children and young people are welcome to stay in the main service.

I trust you understand why these measures are necessary.  They will be regularly reviewed and revised as government guidance changes.  Please feel free contact me if you need further clarification of any of the points raised in this letter.

The way we will be meeting will be somewhat different from what we are used to, but we come together to worship God and that is much more about our hearts and our attitude than about our physical surroundings.  Let’s come with our focus on God and on our Saviour, Jesus Christ and as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

God Bless,

Tim

Laxfield Baptist Church 

Reopening after lockdown

Laxfield baptist church
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01986 799138

pastor@laxfieldbaptist.org.uk

Laxfield Baptist Church, 

High Street

Laxfield

Woodbridge 

Suffolk

IP13 8DZ

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