Welcome back to St Michael’s, Offham

We are delighted to be able to announce that we are re-opening St Michael’s for Public Worship from Sunday the 26th of July.

However, there are a number of things that we need you to know and a number of things we need you to do. To start with, can we encourage you to watch this short two minute safety video to give you a brief rundown of how things will work and what we need you to do.

What will services be like?

  1. Every service will a service of Holy Communion. If, as we expect, you may only be able to attend two, three or four weeks, it is important that when you do attend, there is the chance to receive Holy Communion.
  2. Every service will be somewhat child-friendly. We cannot run Sunday School for the time being. Neither can children use toys or busy bags (other than ones they have brought from home). Neither is it appropriate to make every service an All-Age service. So every Minister leading or preaching will need to account for the fact children will be present and sat in a pew alongside their parents.
  3. Every service will be 30 to 40 minutes maximum. The risk of infection goes up the longer we stay together in the building, so we’ll keep things brief.

What services will there be?

  1. Initially there will be one service on a Sunday in Offham at 9.15 a.m. and one in West Malling at 10.00 a.m. There will be a sermon. Both services will be based on Common Worship Holy Communion.
  2. There will be a Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service at St Mary’s at 9.30 a.m. every Wednesday during August. There will not be a sermon. We will review again at the start of September as to whether this service can return to Sundays at 8 o’clock.
  3. Christenings will not take place in the Sunday service for the time being.
  4. If there is a Christening in a lunchtime slot on a Sunday, the congregation present that morning will be asked to help sanitise after their service.
  5. Online Worship will continue as pre-recorded videos and pre-prepared web pages to be published each Sunday. Each week, the rota will allocate ministry leadership to the online environment; separate to offline leadership for that week.

How many people can come?

Sadly, because of the regulations concerning physical distancing and maintaining two metres distance, our maximum capacity is based on five households. If you’ve watched the video (above) and are coming on your own, we may be able to take more than five households with individuals sat at either end of a pew.

If more people want to return to church services than we accommodate, we will need to allocate people into groups and then inform each group which Sundays they can attend. It may be that we have a group on the first Sunday and another group on the second Sunday and so on.

If you don’t want to return to church now and are happy to continue worshipping online, you will be able to let us know later when you do want to come to church. If need be, we will allocate you to a group. Hopefully, the physical distancing regulations will relax in time and we will be able to welcome more people into the same service until such time as we can all be in church together.

How do I let you know what I want to do?

At present, we are conducting a survey. We would be really grateful if you would click on the link for the survey and complete your details to let us know what you would like to do.

The more households that let us know their plans and wishes, the better we can fairly and equitably enable as many people as possible to return to church.

What do I need to bring when I come to church?

You don’t need to bring anything, but you might want to think about bringing the following items:

  1. A face covering.
  2. Your own pen (to fill out a sign-in slip if you’re asked to do so).
  3. Your own Bible (spare Bibles will not be available to pick-up and use in church).
  4. If you have young children, you may like to bring a busy bag for the children. We can’t provide any of our materials at present because of the difficulties sanitising those items.

6 thoughts on “Welcome back to St Michael’s, Offham

    • Thanks for letting us know, Vivian and Nell. We have made note of your intentions in the list. Best wishes, Rev David.

  1. David, Hazel is still having mobility problems and so we will probably wait a few weeks before trying to get into St Michaels; however your email my energise her. We shall still watch the You Tube broadcast when and if we can find it.

    If we can make it Hazel will still need her wheelchair and help in pushing it up the slope

    We would not wish to deprive others if this would be difficult.

    I will wait until you have a general response before seeking a lot. It is not too serious if we can’t be fitted in.

    Hazel & Peter.

    PS I note reference is still to 2 m spacing. I thought distance had been reduced to 1.5 m.

    Is it not possible to seat some in the chancel? If we can’t sing we don’t need the organ

    • Dear Hazel & Peter

      Thanks for the message. I’ll make a note of your response and add it to others received. We’ll see what we can do. As you say, the wheelchair adds some complexities but we want to include everyone and we can take that into account.

      In regard to distancing, Government guidance and Church of England guidance still requires the 2 metre rule to be followed wherever possible unless it is absolutely impossible to do otherwise.

      It may be possible to use the Chancel (and we’re keeping that up our sleeve as a possibility, depending on level of demand) but the organ will be used to provide music in worship (if not singing). For Holy Communion, people in the Chancel also gets tricky since the distance between people moving around would be less than two metres if people are also sat in the Chancel.

  2. A good informative video covering a very difficult situation.

    Hopefully the virus will recede and normality can return.

  3. Dear David,
    Thanks for your email. Its good to know things are getting back to normal.
    We would like to attend church on the 26th if possible.
    Many thanks Brenda & Brian.

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