Update July 2021

On 19 July, the UK Government confirmed the move to step 4 of their Covid-19 recovery roadmap. The Government recommends continuing caution. Good ventilation, diligence in hygiene, wearing a face covering in enclosed and crowded spaces, and limiting contact with those we do not live with, are all noted as beneficial behaviours. 

In the light of this, the Baptist Union have recommended that it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to continue to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. Churches have a responsibility to protect their staff, congregations, communities, and other users of their buildings. However, it is now down to each church to determine for itself what these measures should be. You can read the BU essential guidance here.

We are sure many of you will be looking forward to worshipping together as a church family.  However, we are also sure that many will be wary or indeed anxious as this moment arrives with some of the highest case numbers we’ve seen and hospital admissions and deaths both rising.

The increased freedom brings some difficult decisions for church leaders.  The last year has been challenging, but we’ve had some rules to work to. Now that we have complete legal freedom, we have the challenge of how to best exercise that freedom.

Some would say that we should immediately operate our services exactly as we used to, sitting close together, singing with gusto and hugging all the friends we’ve not seen for so long?  But that will risk making those who are more cautious feel unsafe and therefore unwelcome. Our challenge is to listen patiently and be loving and gracious in how we handle differing perspectives. 

We’re really excited to be back together, and we want to ensure the safety of all our visitors and staff; so after careful consideration and prayerful reflection, the leadership are recommending that we proceed cautiously, to increase confidence in meeting together safely.

There will continue to be some restrictions in place and guidelines we need to follow in order to keep everyone safe.
To ensure some social distancing we will continue to limit the number of spaces (increased from 60 to 140), and everyone coming will need to book a seat in advance so that we can arrange the chairs with suitable space. It is our aim to provide additional space for those who prefer to keep socially distant. In order to allow as many different people as possible to come, we ask that you respect this and book your seats.

If you’re part of our church family you can book your place via  ChurchSuite but please do contact us in the office , or get in touch with your small group leader if you need any help with booking. We really want this to be as simple a process as possible, and we don’t want booking a seat to be a barrier to you joining us in person.
We also have been highly recommended to continue to take the contact details of everyone who attends in case the NHS Test and Trace scheme requires this information.A register will be kept at the Main Entrance to confirm all bookings. If you haven’t booked a seat, this will slow up your entry, as full details will need to be taken.

Face coverings are still mandatory for everyone attending, however we will now be able to stand and sing while wearing a mask. The band will be able to sing unmasked, but the rest of the congregation must continue to wear a face covering, so please bring one with you. We hope that this level of freedom will make you feel more like you can engage in worship, rather than be an “observer”, as some people have described previous services.
On behalf of the Leadership Team/Trustees.

Ephesians 4:1-3 to you: “I … urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Update January 2021

The Church Building remains closed until further notice, due to current Government Advice during Lockdown 3.0 The global Coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to find new and creative ways of being church wherever we find ourselves. We do hope you will continue to engage with us via our online platform, which can be accessed from our home page

March 2020 – We are mindful that while the number of cases in the UK is fairly small at present, we are in the early stages of an epidemic which is likely to cause widespread illness in weeks to come. Therefore, we would urge that the following protocols be implemented. They are likely to be updated in future weeks.

  • In accordance with government advice we request that people wash their hands, with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds several times a day and in particular after coughing or sneezing, or before preparing food (including communion).
  • Please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards. For the latest advice please use this link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
  • Those who have travelled back from a high-risk area (as defined by the UK Government at that time) should self-isolate. We urge members of the church family who self-isolate to let us know this, so that we can find ways of offering appropriate pastoral care during this time. Please use this email address to let us know pastoralcare@stpetersbaptist.org.uk
  • We recommend that we restrict physical contact until the outbreak has passed. In particular, those who greet on entry and exit from church will be instructed not to shake hands or offer hugs.
  • In addition to our normal cleaning and hygiene procedures, we will instruct our cleaners to wipe all door handles, bannisters and light switches with disinfectant/sanitiser daily.
  • Communion will be operated with individual cups as usual, and cubes of bread, in order to avoid handling by multiple people.
  • We will endeavour to have alcohol gel and tissues available in all the public rooms. (This is subject to supplies being available.) It would be advisable and helpful to us if everyone could carry their own personal sanitiser gel.

How can we respond to this outbreak in a Christ-like way? We should bear in mind that taking sensible precautions is not principally an act of self-protection, but primarily an action designed to protect others who are at risk in our congregation and our community. And we should continue to be open-hearted and attentive to the lonely, the vulnerable and the anxious, both within the church and beyond. Above all, we will face the future (which is always uncertain) with courage and faith in God.

Clean hands, open hearts!

Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to keep meeting together in order to encourage each other and to stir up love and good works in our life together.

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  (NRSV)

Approved by the Church Meeting 11.3.2020