On Sunday (12th July 2020) the leaders of Elim Church Bewbush met over Zoom to have the monthly review of church-life. In particular we looked at the possibility of recommencing Sunday morning services in the Barn Church building. This was in reaction to a number of people unable to engage with current on-line ministries and those that explicitly requested for phycial church meetings to begin again. We always want to be a fellowship that ministers well to struggling and eager!
It was noted that both the UK government and Elim’s National Leadership Team have now given permission for places of worship to reopen again. As well as this the Parochial Church Council that manages the Barn has agreed for us to start using the premises after the nursery closes for the summer on 17th July.
A series of draft Risk Assessments have been composed and submitted to Elim. Our most current version has now been acknowledged as Covid-19 2020 secure. With this in place we have tried to anticipate every difficulty and sought to mitigate each and every risk identified. This means the final practical barrier to our resuming meetings has been removed.
After extensive debate we agreed we would have two “first-steps” church meetings on 19th and 26th July 2020. There are considerable changes to how our meetings will work and this email has been sent to prepare you for these developments and let you know what to do next. If you choose to attend be aware that these are early days and there may be considerable delays on these Sundays as we work out the best configuration in practice. You may even want to bring a camping chair and a thermos of coffee so you can sit outside and talk to people while the stewards do their best under trying conditions.
Initially there will be no use of the small hall, no kitchen facilities, no children’s ministry, no worship and no refreshments. There will be a simple 30 minute child-friendly talk about Jesus from 10:45-11:15hrs. The speaker will wear a face-shield to inhibit the spread of the virus. This will be streamed onto YouTube and recorded for the podcast so that if you choose not to attend you won’t miss out in this respect.
Mandatory wearing of masks will be enforced which are to cover both nose and mouth. If possible bring your own to keep church costs down. Exemptions to this include children under 11 and those with specific physical or mental illnesses.
A two-metre social-distancing zone will be in place. The seating in the main hall will be marked out to satisfy this requirement.
The capacity of the hall has been reduced to 30 people.
A booking system will be in operation. Please respond to this email if you want to attend on Sunday, 19th July. Your email reply needs to detail your name, address, email address and telephone number. This will then be ticked when you arrive. You will also have to agree to a medical tick box to ensure you are appropriately healthy to attend. On arrival there will be a register for track and trace purposes. Your details will be kept for 21 days in compliance with government GDPR requirements.
There will be an extended arrival time from 10:15-10:45hrs to reduce congestion.
There will be an rigorous cleaning regime before and after the meeting. All touchable surfaces will be wiped down and the floor will be moped.
Various PPE will be available. Hand-sanitiser will be found at the entrance and anti-bacterial wipes will be in the toilets.
Parents will need to accompany their children to the toilet to ensure cleanliness is observed.
Signs will remind people of the need to wash hands regularly, wear a mask, use hand-sanitiser and keep two-metre social distancing. There will also be signage up to indicate a keep-right policy to assist with social distancing.
Please keep to your allocated zone throughout the meeting unless visiting the toilet and ensure your children are also kept within your area. To help keep children entertained please bring your own device, crafts or quiet toys etc. At the end of the meeting please wait to be released by a steward.
When using the booking system this is not a guarantee that you have a place automatically but more that we can see who wants to come and to see how best to fit in as many people as safely as possible. If we can or can not get you in safely then we will send you a message. Please look out for this. If we can not fit you in you will get priority the following week.
We have been told there will be no other users of the Barn Church during the school holidays so hopefully this will make things easier.
There will be no church meeting on 2nd August. However an alternative opportunity may be organised.
If you are worried about meeting with the church please don’t feel presurred to do so. If you are up for meeting you are welcome to join us, it is just it will feel quite different for the foreseeable future.
Yours in Him,
Rev. Kev Taylor