Dear Church Family,
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 13v1
Having reviewed the latest changes to COVID regulations and the guidance issued by both the government and the Church of England, we wanted to update you on what this means for us at Saint James. The implications are exciting, not least because, from this coming Sunday we can finally sing together in our church buildings. What a joy that will be!
We recognise however, that, whilst for some of us these changes have been a long time coming, others may feel that they are coming too soon. This has been one of the big challenges of the pandemic: we have different vulnerabilities and attitudes to risk. Our hope is that as we enter this next phase it will continue to be an opportunity for us to look to the interests of others, before our own. So let’s continue to be patient as we bear with one another in love.
The Staff Team, Churchwardens and PCC have listened to people from across the church family and reviewed the latest guidance, and from this Sunday (25 July) we will make three changes to our current Sunday gathering. These will be held under constant review and will be in place until Sunday 5 September, when we hope to be in a position to make further changes.
First: from this Sunday, we will sing again inside our buildings, during the service. This is a really exciting development. We’ve all missed being able to sing together and our worship has been poorer for it, but what a joy it will be to lift our voices together in praise of the Lord Jesus once again! In order to care for those who are at more vulnerable, or feeling more at risk, we will continue to ask that people wear face coverings throughout our gatherings, including when singing.
Second: whilst social distancing is no longer required, we will set aside space within each of our buildings for those who would prefer to maintain social distancing during the service. Please just let the stewards know that you would prefer to maintain social distancing and they will ensure that you can do that. Please arrive in good time to allow the stewards to help you find the right seats (and, of course, so that you can welcome newcomers!). In Gerrards Cross, we will continue to sing together in the churchyard (weather permitting) as we close our time together.
Third: We are pleased to say that we no longer need to operate a bookings system for track & trace purposes. You may still wish to scan in to our buildings using the NHS Covid App, but please help us to get the word out that from now on you can simply turn up to church (which makes it easier to invite friends) without prior booking, but with confidence that social distancing will be in place, should you wish.
If you have not yet returned to ‘in-person’ church, please can we encourage you to review whether now might be the time to return? Whilst for some, there will be some good reasons to continue online, our sense is that for the majority of us there are rising eternal risks caused by holding back from returning to church. There are new people to welcome, brothers and sisters to encourage, and abundant opportunities to serve. Your church family needs you more than ever.
With love in Christ