Grosvenor Reopening Information
6th July 2020
As you know, we are now in phase 3 of the government’s revised reopening roadmap. The implication of this for us as a church family is that we can begin to meet together again in the Grosvenor building to worship God and have fellowship with one another on Sunday mornings. We plan to meet together again this Sunday, 12 July and in subsequent weeks, God willing.
This is a significant development as it is only in exceptional circumstances (like those of the last few months) that we would refrain from doing so. Meeting together is central to our lives as Christians and although we are saved as individuals, we are saved to be part of the body of Christ – the people of God.
It is joyful to look forward to seeing each other face-to-face, especially having had so long apart. Even so, our times of gathered worship will look very different to what we have been used to prior to the covid-19 pandemic. There will be very tangible differences for all of us as we adhere to the various guidelines and regulations out of a loving concern for each other’s health. We’ll all also continue to live with the uncertainty of whether government guidelines change or whether there is a resurgence of the virus in the community. For some, there may be an understandable anxiety in meeting together with a relatively large amount of people indoors after months apart and with the legitimate health concerns that go with that.
We’re very grateful to a group of people from the church family who have given themselves to thinking carefully about how to gather again safely in the church building. Along with the elders, this group have discussed the many different pieces that need to be put together before we can gather again. We have asked many questions over the last number of weeks and have sought satisfactory answers. We’re sure you have plenty of your own questions and so we’d like to offer some answers to the questions you may have.
WILL THE BUILDING BE CLEANED PRIOR TO OUR MEETING TOGETHER?
Yes. In addition to the usual cleaning, all hard surfaces (e.g. door handles, chairs) will have been disinfected and will continue to be so regularly. The water system will also have been flushed out in order to ensure its cleanliness.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN COME?
The number of people present on a Sunday morning will be limited to 50 for the time being in keeping with government regulations. Chairs will be arranged so that each person or household group will have a 2-metre gap between them and the next person or household group. This obviously means that we will not have as many people present as we would like.
WILL I HAVE TO BOOK IN?
Yes. In order to keep our numbers within the 50-person limit, everyone will have to book in prior to coming. This will be achieved through the use of a booking system. This may feel unusual, and it is!
However, it will enable us to care well for each other. It will mean that people won’t come and be disappointed by not having a seat. It will also mean that everyone who wants to come has an opportunity to come over the course of a number of weeks. As the government regulation is increased to 100 people (effectively from 26 July in our case), we may be able to increase our numbers a little as well, while keeping our distance! N.B. Please don’t arrive without having booked in and received a confirmation email as we won’t be able to admit you.
HOW WILL THE BOOKING SYSTEM WORK?
Everyone who would like to come to church on a particular Sunday will register themselves
You can also register for friends or family members but please check with them first! Alternatively you may contact the office (firstname.lastname@example.org or +353 1 497 4798) or one of the elders in order to register. Registration will remain open until 11pm on Thursday each week.
Not everyone who registers will be able to come. Of those who register, fifty people (minus those involved in running the service) will receive an invitation on Friday to attend. Initially, if there are more than fifty who would like to come, those who haven’t received an invitation will be allocated a space in the following week. N.B. Please don’t arrive without having booked in and received a confirmation email as we won’t be able to admit you.
WHO MAY COME?
If you’d like to come and your booking has been confirmed, we’d be delighted for you to come. The only exceptions to this are if you have covid-19 symptoms and/or have been told to self-isolate.
Children are more than welcome but don’t forget to book them in too. For the moment cre`che and Sunday Club won’t be happening. However, the service will be shorter than usual. It is now recognised that children are low-risk when it comes to transmitting the virus but they will still need to abide by social distancing, coughing/sneezing etiquette.
WILL THE SERVICE BE AVAILABLE ONLINE?
Yes. We are very aware that for some, they will prefer not to come to church immediately for health concerns or personal reasons. For others they would have liked to have come but the 50-person limit will prevent them from doing so on every occasion. With that in mind, we will broadcast the Sunday service live on www.grosvenorbaptist.org Details of how to access this will be given in the Grosvenor Newsletter each week.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING IF I’M COMING TO GROSVENOR?
Please bring your Bible – in order to lower the risk of spreading covid-19 the red church Bibles won’t be available during the service.
Please consider bringing a pen and paper/notebook to take sermon notes. (Pens, paper, and hard copies of Grosvenor Weekly News will not be provided).
We also encourage you to bring facial tissues. We will provide some but bringing our own will enable us to practise good coughing and sneezing etiquette.
SHOULD I WEAR A FACE COVERING?
According to the most recent guidelines, the wearing of face coverings is strongly recommended in places of worship. Keep in mind however that some people shouldn’t wear a face covering: children and some people with specific conditions shouldn’t. In this regard we need to be gracious and understanding with one another. Before coming, please be familiar with how to correctly wear a face covering. It can be found by clicking here. Please also keep up to date with government regulations as they are changing from time to time.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I ARRIVE?
We will be delighted that you’ve come. We’ve really missed seeing you!
As you chat to others on the way to the building, through the carpark, and if you need to queue, please keep social distancing guidelines in mind.
At the door you’ll be given a warm welcome as usual, though without handshakes or hugs! A steward will check you off the booking list – this will also enable us to fulfil government tracing guidelines as we’ll know who was at Grosvenor on any given Sunday. You will be asked to sanitise your hands with the gel provided. Then the steward will bring you to your seat – please be patient as there may be a need to queue along the way. We’ll fill seats from the front so as to avoid people passing by one another unnecessarily.
WHAT WILL THE SERVICE BE LIKE?
The service will be a very welcome opportunity to worship God together as we pray, hear the Bible taught and reflect on a song or two together. In the first few weeks John Woodside will be continuing his series on “Psalms for Times of Isolation”. Although singing is a vital part of worshipping God together, we won’t sing for the time being – there is a lack of solid research as to the risks involved with singing and there is evidence to show that singing increases the risk of contagion. We will all miss this element of worshipping God but out of care for one another we will forego it for the time being. We will listen to a song being sung and reflect on the words together. We plan to start the service at 11am as usual and it should finish before 12.
We won’t share the Lord’s supper for the time being until we can do so safely.
CAN I GIVE FINANCIALLY?
As you know, part of our worship is by giving back to God some of what he has given to us. Offering bags won’t be passed around but there will be an offering bucket on the way out if you would like to give in this way. We encourage you to continue to give through the bank if you so wish.
WHAT FACILITIES WILL BE AVAILABLE?
The disabled toilet at the back of the church will be available to use for anyone who wants to use it but other toilets will be unavailable in order to minimise risk of contagion. We encourage you to factor this into your plans.
The baby-changing facilities in this toilet will also be available.
The kitchen will not be in use.
Along with the other approaches we’ve adopted, we will continue to review this in subsequent weeks.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE SERVICE?
We won’t have tea or coffee and we won’t stay around for too long. We will also continue to social distance. However, we encourage you to find ways to spend time with a small group of friends from the church family – perhaps bring lunch to a local park together.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER ACCESS TO THE BUILDING?
Access to the building is strictly limited for the time being in order to maintain hygiene. If it is essential to access the building, please register with the office to arrange this.
We will be actively reviewing the plans laid out above and further information will be made available if needed.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we have planned to reopen the Grosvenor building. We look forward to the church – that is, the people of God – coming in to worship him in the building soon.
On behalf of the reopening group and the elders, With every blessing in Christ,