Covid-19: 20th September Update from Rector John

Published on 4th October, 2021

Coronavirus (Covid-19)guidance : 20th September update

I would like to begin by thanking John Evans for circulating the ‘Return to Church’ questionnaire and compiling the results for our Ministry Area Council. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to fill in your questionnaires. Three requests and two observations emerged very clearly from your responses:

  • You would like to be able to sing in church again
  • You would like the 8am and midweek services to return
  • You would like the clergy to remove their masks whilst conducting services
  • You find the emailed and printed versions of our Newsletter very helpful
  • Those with internet access found online services particularly helpful when they were unable to attend church.

 In response to your requests, I am delighted to inform you that from Sunday 31st October you will be allowed to sing in church. (As long as there are no tighter Welsh Government restrictions introduced before this date.) Welsh Government Regulations and Church in Wales guidance will be followed, which means that we must all wear face coverings whilst singing, and if you’re an enthusiastic singer you will be encouraged to sing quietly.

From Sunday 21st November the 8am Eucharists will return in Rhiwbina and Whitchurch. Llandaff North will continue without an 8am Eucharist until a new vicar has been appointed.  On Monday 22nd November the Monday 10am Eucharist in Whitchurch will resume. We have chosen these later dates to ensure that there are no interruptions from a possible autumn firebreak that could be introduced by Welsh Government. We think it unwise to start sooner and risk being told to stop because of a potential increase in Covid cases this autumn.

With regards to face coverings, we have decided to follow Welsh Government Guidelines and continue to wear face coverings whilst conducting services. I understand that this makes it difficult for some people to hear, but as a clergy team we feel that best practice (ensuring your safety and ours) is to continue to wear face coverings for as long as the congregations are required to wear theirs. If the Welsh Government decides to ease this restriction, we will review our practice and follow their latest advice.

Evensong will not return this year as there are ongoing problems with the organ in St Mary’s and we are awaiting advice on the repair cost.

Current Guidelines from the Church in Wales can be found at: https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

What this means for us in our Ministry Area:

  1. Hymn Singing begins on Sunday 31st October (All Saints’ Sunday)
  2. The 8am Eucharist restarts in All Saints’ Rhiwbina and St Mary’s Whitchurch on Sunday 21st November.
  3. The 10am Eucharist in St Mary’s Whitchurch restarts on Monday 22nd November

 

However:

  1. Face coverings will continue to be worn by clergy and congregation.
  2. We will sing quietly to minimise risk of spreading the virus.
  3. Track and Trace details will still be taken.
  4. Cleaning and Sanitizing must be done after every service where the church is to be used more than once every 72 hours.
  5. Signage (advising one-way systems, use of hand gel and social distancing) remains in place.

As we continue to move forward it is still advisable that we proceed with caution, so:

  1. Gel will be provided at the entrances and exits of our churches.
  2. Parishioners are still encouraged to maintain a safe distance from others when choosing where to sit.
  3. Churches will continue to offer separate entrance and exit routes.
  4. Churches will be well-ventilated when services are taking place.
  5. Communion will continue to be administered in the way it has been throughout the pandemic.

As we move cautiously back towards a more regular service pattern, I want to thank you for your prayers, support, patience, and understanding.

With love and prayers

Fr John.

Refreshments

Refreshments are allowed to be served in our churches and church halls, but we must exercise caution regarding shared items.

If you wish to serve refreshments, please follow the advice below:

  1. Two people at most will prepare teas, coffees, etc.
  2. We recommend that anyone volunteering to serve refreshments should take a rapid lateral flow test the day before their meeting. These can be obtained free of charge from your local chemist.
  3. Volunteers must be wearing face coverings and they must use hand gel before and after serving.
  4. Teas, coffees and refreshments should be taken to people.
  5. Those being served must remain seated and be served by the two volunteers.
  6. Individually wrapped food items only should be served (so no packs of digestives or slices of cake)
  7. All bins must be emptied at the end of each meeting so there is no waste left for other church or hall users.
  8. All seats, tables, door handles and switches will be wiped or sprayed with anti bac materials at the end of each meeting.

Any church group or hall users who do not wish to follow this advice should not be serving refreshments in their meetings.

Thank you for taking the time and care to ensure that all our church buildings are kept safe as we emerge from this Codid-19 pandemic.

With love and prayers,

Fr John