Now the green blade riseth – hope is come again!

The Churchwardens, PCC and I are very pleased to let you know that following government guidance, St James will be shortly be re-opening.

Private prayer

The church will be open from 9am to 6pm every Wednesday, starting on Wednesday 8th July.

We have been told that the virus cannot survive more than 72 hours, so keeping the church closed for 3 days between use allows the virus to die, which avoids the need for a deep clean every time after use. 

The doors will be left open, to avoid the need to touch them, but please leave the “swallow curtain” in place as we don’t want them to become trapped inside. There will be hand sanitiser for you to use as you come in. * Please try to avoid touching too many things! Please sit in a marked pew and observe a sensible distance from any one else in the building. As the contents/ fluid of the hand sanitiser is highly flammable, we have been advised not to allow the lighting of prayer candles at this time.

Sunday Worship, every week at 10:30am

From Sunday July 12th – we will be back in!

The service will start as usual at 10.30am. Both car parks will be open to enable you to observe safe distances when  getting out of your cars. Please remember the guidance and think about arriving early to allow plenty of time to ‘wander’ through the churchyard especially if you will be crossing the road.

It is not essential to wear a face mask, but please do if you will feel safer.

When you arrive you may need to queue at 2m intervals, and someone may give you a sanitiser spray. If you think you may be allergic to any of the constituents of the sanitiser then please bring protective gloves with you. You will be invited into church by a warden or sides-person – the porch is a particular bottleneck so we need to ensure that it is kept clear – and they will direct you to your socially distanced seat. Family groups and household bubbles can sit together! We estimate that using the choir and children’s area we should be able to accommodate 30 – 40 people.

For parents of little ones – I’m afraid we have been told to put away all children’s toys, so you will have to bring your own to entertain yours, and there is currently no way to restart Jim’s Pilgrims. I’m very sorry about this but as soon as we can provide activities we will. 

All hymn books and bibles have been moved, and will not be used. The service outline will be on paper/projector screen.

If your offering is normally given in cash, then please put your donation in the box by the door, as we will not be  using an offertory plate.

Those reading or leading intercessions will need to sit near the aisle, and will use sanitising wipes on the lectern and microphone.

You will be invited up to receive communion, which will be in one kind – bread only, from the chancel step. Sanitiser will be available before and after.

There will be a one way system going up the aisle to the chancel step, again please keep your distance and then out through the vestry and back into the church by the west door. part from this time, only the vicar, sacristan, and churchwardens will be allowed in the vestry.

Please don’t feel any pressure to recieve communion if you do not want to – experience of other parts of “opening up” are that you may not know how you will feel until you are here. That is completely normal and understandable, and you should listen to your feelings.

We are not sure yet whether we will be allowed to sing, but the service will be shorter than usual.  The peace will be shared using sign language.

At the end of the service the wardens and sides-people will once again escort you through the porch! There will be no coffee time, and although I know you will want to chat and say hello, please observe a good distance, and don’t linger too long in the car parks before you depart.

For Everyone

There will be instructions printed and put in the porch and inside church

If you would like to read our risk assessment, it is here, or let me or the churchwardens know and we can send you a copy.

We know that for many reasons some of you will not be able to return to worship with us as you would wish. We will carry on broadcasting the services on Zoom every Sunday, and send a copy of the  sermon. Again let one of the churchwardens know if you would like a paper copy.

Again, following the guidance – please try to avoid touching your face and wash your hands thoroughly when you return home.

Please by aware that the church hall will not be open so the toilets will not be available.

We are currently planning on having one 10:30am service of Holy Communion a week. As numbers returning increase we may have to consider having two services.

 We are still one family, the body of Christ, even when we cannot physically meet together.

Rev Simon Woodley

Vicar of  St James Alderholt 3rd July 2020