It is almost six months now since we were last able to worship together in one of our churches on a
Sunday, and we know that many of you are desperate to return. For a number of weeks we and the
PCC have therefore been exploring how we might begin to re-open our church buildings for worship
and occasional services such as weddings and funerals in a COVID secure way, within government
and CofE guidelines.
We are pleased to be able to announce that on Sunday 27th September at 10:30am we are planning
to hold a Team Harvest Celebration at St Lawrence Church Tinsley, which will run alongside our
online Harvest Celebration service, with a view to commencing a weekly team service at St
We have chosen to start at St Lawrence because, following risk assessments on all our buildings, this
is the one with the biggest capacity. Also, because the graveyard is closed, the building is not likely
to be required during the week for funerals, which means there will always be over 72 hours
between uses and we will therefore not need to deep clean the building after each service.
Even so, numbers will be severely restricted by the need to maintain social distancing, we anticipate
a capacity of around 30 people allowing for family bubbles and so we will have to operate a
booking system, which will operate on a first come 1 st served basis. We would therefore ask you to
consider the needs of, and give priority to those from across the team who cannot access the weekly
online services, which will continue for the foreseeable future along with the weekly newsletter.
The COVID secure requirements mean that worship in church will be a very different experience to
what we were used to before the pandemic, and we will need to learn new ways of doing things and
to develop new patterns of worship in these unusual times. This will necessarily involve strict social
distancing, an attendance register for track and trace, hand hygiene stations, the wearing of face
coverings in church, not being able to sing and certain rules around communion.
Separately, we will be looking to re-open St Mary’s initially for funerals and other occasional
services, as it has an open churchyard, and therefore has held most of the funeral services within the
Team over recent years. This is an important ministry and service for our communities and we could
not realistically offer this if we were to hold Sunday worship there, as we need to leave 72 hours
between each use to avoid the additional deep cleaning requirements and this would in practice
mean only Wednesday afternoon being available for funerals.
For the time being St Helen’s will be holding a monthly midweek service on the second Thursday.
To book for the Harvest Celebration on 27 th September please call Julie Barringer on 01709 301927
between Monday 21 st September and Friday 25 th September. (Note that if all available seats have
been taken you will be offered priority booking for the following week). Please do not attend if you
experience COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change
in, your normal sense of taste or smell) or if you have not booked a seat.
Hopefully this will mark the start of a return worshiping together in person.
With our love and prayers,
Rev. Philip, Pioneer Minister
Monica Walker, Church Warden
Richard Edge, Church Warden
Eddie Short, Church Warden