Deuteronomy 31 v6
‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’
The Government has announced that limits on the numbers of people allowed to meet indoors and outdoors will be removed, including all capacity limits in churches and church halls, as well as removal of the 2 meter social distancing rules.
It will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering, though the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others. Ultimately it is an individual decision and is not enforceable.
There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and baptisms. There will also be no restrictions on choirs and music groups or on congregational singing.
There is no longer a legal requirement to ask individuals to check in via the QR code poster though it is strongly encouraged as is the maintaining of a register.
There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship. Communion will remain in one form ie bread. We will still refrain from sharing the peace, though both of these will be reviewed in the autumn.
Please continue to wash hands or sanitise and do not attend church if you are displaying Covid symptoms.
Very little is now mandatory, though the rules around self-isolation after contact with a positive case of Covid-19 do have to be followed
Please remember ‘One persons freedom is another persons fear’. I hope we can move forward positively but with caution as we consider and respect other people’s viewpoints.
Bishops Pete & Sophie share the view that St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapters 14 and 15, are vital here. The Apostle sets out there some principles for the church, to live well together as members of the Body of Christ. ‘Let us therefor no longer pass judgment on one another’, he says, but resolves instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another’. (14.13). ‘We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbour, for the good purpose of building up our neighbour’ (15.1-2) ‘May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Jesus Christ, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Reverend Gary Schofield, Priest in Charge, All Hallows’ Harthill with Woodall & Margaret Lovely Churchwarden