Welcome to our Church
New service time & booking arrangements
- Our mid-morning Sunday service now starts at 10:00am. To be sure of a seat, you should still book a place for this service. Alternatively, you can join the service on-line as it'll continue to be live-streamed - see Service Video page for details.
- You no longer need to book a place for Sunday services at 8:00am & 6:30pm – just turn up. (You will need to sign in on arrival.)
- We have resumed the midweek service at 10:00am on Wednesdays (from 7 July). Again, there's no need to book, but you'll have to sign in on arrival.
- Please read the Rector's letter below about the easing of lockdown restrictions.
St Michael’s – easing of lockdown restrictions ...
The Ministry Team, Church Wardens and I met earlier this week to discuss how we, as a church, should respond to the Government’s decision to move to Step 4 of the “Roadmap out of Lockdown”. The approach taken by the Government is to remove most of the COVID-related legal restrictions but to promote guidance that emphasises the responsibility of individuals and organisations for protecting others and themselves.
In our conversations we held in mind the over-riding principle that, as members of the Body of Christ, we are called to love one another and to be responsible to and for one another, respecting especially those who are vulnerable. We were also conscious that Covid rates both nationally and locally are very high and rising, and that though the vaccine has meant hospital admissions and deaths are thankfully far lower than in the previous wave, these are sadly increasing too. Unfortunately, no vaccine is 100% effective, and it is estimated that around one in 10 fully vaccinated people will remain susceptible. There are particular concerns for those who are clinically vulnerable to the virus, as well as those who are, for whatever reason, unable to be vaccinated. This being the case, the Government continues to advise that measures like hand hygiene, social distancing and use of face-coverings in crowded indoor settings remain important for public health, even though they are no longer mandatory.
Whilst we welcome the increased flexibility to make local decisions, the team was unanimous in believing that, against this backdrop, we need to move forward very cautiously. I have therefore concluded that the time is not yet right to make radical changes, though we have agreed that there should be a degree of easing.
From this Sunday, 25th July, we shall be adopting the following policies:
Face Coverings Noting that face coverings are largely to benefit others rather than ourselves, and conscious that there are some amongst us with particular vulnerabilities, we are requesting that you continue to wear a face covering during services if you are able.
Social Distancing Seating will no longer be allocated, and you are free to sit with friends if they are happy to sit with you. However, we believe it is important that people can choose to sit apart from others if they wish. To enable this, for the time being we shall continue to use only alternate pews. We shall also be making cards available which can be placed on the seats next to you, asking that they be left empty if that is your preference. Please be ready to give others the space that they need to feel safe.
Booking Please continue to let us know if you want to come to the 10am service, so that we can be sure that we shall have sufficient space. If you forget to book, though, it might be worth coming along anyway if you are willing to take the chance – we will still be delighted to see you, and will be happy to accommodate you if we can. There is no need to book for the other services.
Bookings open on the Monday prior to each service, and will be taken by the Parish Office either by email, or by phone during office hours (refer to the Contact Us webpage for details).
Singing You are now welcome to join the choir in singing the hymns and Gloria. Singing generates more droplets, and increases the risk of passing on COVID if you are infected, so please keep your face-covering on, as it provides protection for those around you.
Sharing the Peace For the moment we shall continue to remain in our places to share the peace, and encourage you to do this in ways which do not involve physical contact. But please do feel free to exchange a verbal greeting with those around you as well as a wave and a smile if you wish.
Coffee From 1st August, we shall resume serving coffee in the Morlais Room after the 10am service. At this stage, we would encourage you to find a seat/group of friends each week and stick with them, rather than moving around and mingling more freely.
Finally, thank you to everyone who has let me know their views on these various matters – please know that you have been heard, and that I shall continue to bear your voices in mind as the situation evolves. I recognise, of course that some of you will be disappointed that we are not moving faster, but equally I know that there will be some for whom any easing is a source of anxiety. I hope, though, that you will understand how very difficult these decisions are, and accept that I have done my best to steer what I judge to be a sensible course taking into account all the information at my disposal. We shall, of course, be reviewing all of this regularly, and I am keen to take further steps towards normality as soon as it is prudent to do so. In the meantime I ask for your kindness and support towards me and one another as we journey forward together.
With every blessing
The Rev’d Liz Ratcliffe, Rector
22 July 2021
Things to do on our website ...
View the live-streamed video of Holy Communion at 10:00am on Sunday.
Read our Thought for the Day which we refresh each Sunday and for other special festivals.
We invite you to use our Service of the Word, at home, daily at 12 noon.
You can read our weekly Pew Notices.
Read St Michael's Church News (July/August edition) – a 'web-friendly' version of our monthly Parish Magazine.
You can read our COVID-19 procedures, which are designed for the health and safety of everyone participating in services or private prayer at church.
Or you can browse the rest of our website using the menu.