Private prayer and small acts of public worship
A message from Revd Caroline Risdon
You will no doubt have heard that expression, oft used by politicians, “it’s a marathon not a sprint.” Well these have proved wise words as our COVID-19 working group has discussed how St Alfege Church can re-open safely for private prayer and small acts of public worship. It is important for me to say that this is one milestone towards our eventual return to church as the full body of Christ, worshipping and singing and receiving communion together. We are on the way but we have not yet reached that wonderful destination.
So, let me list what you can expect in July and August:
Sundays, from 5 July, 12-2pm, private prayer
Wednesdays, from 8 July, 12-2pm, private prayer
Thursdays, from 9 July, 1pm, said Holy Communion with Priest receiving on behalf of the congregation.
Our main service of the week remains our Eucharist on Sundays via Zoom. Whether you attend the service via Zoom or in the church building, I will continue to receive Communion on behalf of the congregation. This is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a service together while maintaining necessary safety precautions.
This is phase one of our return to church. We hope to review and makes changes from the autumn but this of course depends on what happens over the next two months.
Nationally and locally, it is extremely important that we maintain the good practices which have protected each of us and our vital services. We are working together and for the greater good of our society. As the writer of the book of Hebrews states we need to “…run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12.1).
How we will keep you safe
We are delighted to reopen St Alfege Church on a limited basis for private prayer and small acts of worship.
Following a deep clean this week (week beg 29 June) we are introducing the following procedures and processes to keep everyone as safe as possible.
We will use the North Entrance to enter the church with a designated one way route through the church and exit out of the South Entrance (unless the access ramp is required).
This one way route through the church reinforces physical distancing guidelines - we will be retaining the 2m distance as a precautionary measure (map to be added soon)
There will be a limit to the number of people in the church at one time.
Please note you may be asked to wait outside if necessary.
Hand sanitizer will be provided on entry to the church.
There will be clear seating for private prayer and Holy Communion.
Please note we will not be offering toilet facilities at this time.
Two volunteers will be in the church- one to greet and direct as you enter and one located at the exit
There will be frequent cleaning of touchpoints eg seats and pews.
Hope - Faith - Love A message from Revd Caroline Risdon
On 22 June, it was exactly three months since we closed the church doors. We are in the process of preparing to re-open the church for private prayer. This is a much harder task than closing was! There is so much to consider in order to ensure everyone is safely able to enter and enjoy the church once more.
A small task group has been completing risk assessments, ordering equipment, arranging cleaning and seeking volunteers. Once everything is in place, we will open in early July (see above) for a couple of hours, two days a week.
This re-opening of the church for private prayer and Holy Communion once a week will no doubt have many of you wondering when we might be able to meet more fully for public worship in church. We may be looking towards the autumn at the earliest.And it is very unlikely that we will be able to gather as a full community initially. It is impossible to plan so far ahead and, of course, the landscape is ever-changing. Please do not lose heart. I've been very proud of the way we have continued to meet as a church online and to worship together over Zoom each week. We are not just a church for Sundays or in our building; we are a church of believers each day and in all our homes. There is much to thank God for.
If you walk past the church, you will notice our banner; a colourful rainbow with the words Hope- Faith- Love emblazoned across the top. These three words come from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, where he tells us that “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
We chose to put the word 'Hope' first because that is what we feel the Christian story offers people. But it is a hope borne out of love. The love of God within which we were each created; the love of God through which we are sustained each day; the love of God which dwells in each caring and kind gesture. This type of love is like a ripple in water, it moves ever outward. This is important because, of course, coronavirus and lockdown have affected people all over the world.
Readings, prayers and sermon this week
Each week we will provide a ‘service sheet’ comprising the readings, collect, and prayers. The sermon for the week will be available here. Our intercessors will continue to write prayers each week. This information will be published every Friday and can be found here.
We will continue to pray for those in need and remember the departed. If you would like someone's name to be included in the online prayer list please email David McEvoy by 5pm on Thursdays.
Many efforts are being made by local authorities and charities to help those in need. If you are concerned about yourself or anyone else, please contact the church office. Our administrator is currently working from home along with other members of the Heart of Greenwich team. We are keeping in regular contact with all our heritage volunteers.
In March we also had to suspend all the activities which take place in the hall and heritage visits to the church. We do not have any plans to restart these at the moment.