Coronavirus: Returning to Church

Reopening of Tabor Baptist Church Building for Services

Coronavirus GuidanceBelow is a copy of the letter sent to church members and congregants from the pastor, containing information relation to restarting church services, in an easy to read webpage.


Dear Congregation,

The church officers have met to discuss the reopening of the church building. The Welsh Government have produced their guidance for churches to make sure that their buildings are Covid Secure and from 13th July churches are allowed to reopen. We are planning for our first service to take place on Sunday 26th July at 11am and I will be in contact to see how many are planning to return. Whilst we have been able to hold online meetings we have all felt the need to meet together when it is safe to do so. Now that the “R” rate is under control in Wales and shops and businesses have reopened we feel it is the right time to start meeting again. We would urge you to take advice from family and, if need be, your doctor if you have any doubts about returning

Who can return

  1. All who are shielding or self-isolating should not attend services. Your doctor will have sent you a letter if you are shielding.
  2. If you have signs of a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell you should under no circumstances attend. You should report yourself immediately to the NHS phoning 111.
  3. If you are over 70 please consider wisely if you should return though you are welcome to do so
  4. At present we are not encouraging young children to return who cannot keep 2m distancing
  5. For those who cannot return we will continue to provide online services. Nobody should feel bad for not returning to church.

Measures taken to keep you safe

  1. A detailed risk assessment will be undertaken.
  2. The church will be deep cleaned and seating will be set out to keep the 2m social distancing.
  3. Within the building clear signs and tape will be used to ensure 2m distancing.
  4. Hand sanitiser will be provided for all on entering and exiting the building.
  5. All unnecessary furniture will be removed from the worship area and no Bibles or hymn books will be provided.
  6. There will be a minimum of 3 days between services. (Therefore initially we will hold just one service on the Sunday and if a mid-week meeting services takes place, it will be on a Wednesday)

Procedures

  1. You may or may not choose to wear a mask (The BMA are recommending masks in all settings)
  2. When you arrive a steward will be at the bottom of the steps and will wipe the hand rail after each person uses it.
  3. Queuing outside of the church will be at a 2m distance.
  4. At the entrance there will be a hand sanitising station for all to use,
  5. Another steward will tick off all regular congregants and take full contact details for any visitors. These details will be stored for 21 days for track and trace purposes.
  6. Families and ‘younger’ congregants should seek to come 15 minutes early and sit in the balcony. Over 60’s should come after this and sit below. This arrangement may be modified. Conversations should be kept within your family and should not take place across groups.
  7. Those who sit below in the main church should fill up from the front, so that we minimise the need for people to pass each other.

Please also note:

  1. Government rules are that singing is not permitted, except for a soloist. If hymns are played with their words please therefore do not sing.
  2. As no Bibles will be provided please bring your own. (Hymns will be projected but if you cannot see and need a large print hymn book we can safely clean & deliver it to you beforehand)
  3. At the end of the service those downstairs will be asked to leave first and will leave through the main double doors starting from those sitting at the back. Then those in the balcony will be asked to leave. No teas and coffees will be served after services.
  4. Please do not linger on the path or engage in conversations along the path.
  5. Instructions will be given out at the beginning of each service for regarding social distancing, the use of the toilets etc
  6. Initially we will not be returning to holding communion services until we can work out a way of doing this safely.
  7. A children’s talk will take place to cater for any older children who are there. There will be no Sunday School and no crèche provided. Children should sit with their parents.
  8. Visitors will be given guidance by the steward on the door. If young children happen to be brought, then the parent can take the child to the upper vestry (All soft toys will have been removed and a Covid Secure area sectioned off)
  9. If numbers exceed the maximum capacity that we can safely house, we will look at providing 2 services on a Sunday and deep clean in between. But until this happens, if we exceed capacity those who arrive last will have to go home.
  10. Cash giving is still permitted using the box at the entrance of the church. However this will only be emptied the following week, to avoid contamination.
  11. If the 4×4 chair is needed to escort you to the building please let us know at least 3 days before the service so that PPE can be worn by the person escorting you.
  12. If, after attending a service, you show any symptoms of a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of smell or taste you should call 111, self-isolate, and apply for a coronavirus test. Should it prove positive you must inform us straight away.

We thank God for a large building and for facilities to house up to around 50 people safely. Please remember the government advice and abide by it, not only to keep yourself safe, but to keep those around you safe. Be a good Samaritan!  Please be aware that whilst the risk of contracting the disease is very small COVID has not been eradicated from Wales. As church officers we realise that the decision to return to church services is an individual one, and we will respect each other. Also we understand the rights of individuals to request others to stay at a safe distance of 2 metres should the rule be accidentally infringed.

We are trusting that despite these restrictions God will be honoured and glorified as we meet together to seek His face and hear His Word.

With Christian love and greetings

Pastor Andrew Love (on behalf of the leadership)