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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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