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Update on re-opening our Church. Pilot Service 2nd August

From the Rector and Select Vestry,

We have been working hard throughout July to ensure we can re-open our Church safely in August. We are following the guidance laid out by both the NI Executive and the Church of Ireland.

We plan to hold a pilot morning service on Sunday 2nd August to allow us to test the safety measures we have put in place with a smaller group.

We will then provide a walk-through video on our website and social media to let you see how things will be when we return.

God willing, we plan to welcome you back to our first Sunday morning service at 10:30am on 9th August.

However, if you feel unable to join us in Church in the coming months, we will continue to provide support and ministry through video/audio recordings of sermons.

The Sunday morning video of the service will hopefully be available on the website and social media at 12 midday each Sunday.

The audio will be available from Saturday evening, but should you require a CD version please don’t hesitate to contact the Rector.

Covid19 is one of the biggest challenges our local Church is facing. We will continue to need volunteers to assist on a Sunday morning. Please email info@ballinderryparish.org or ring 07909855139 to find out how you can help.

We hope to provide more information in September regarding Sunday School and other Church Youth groups. At this point, NI guidance is that we cannot restart these activities. An update on bible studies and prayer groups will also be available then.

In terms of maximizing your safety and that of other parishioners we ask that you:

  1. Follow 2m social distancing (on coming in and out of the building, and while seated).
  2. Put on a face mask before entering Church and wear it throughout the time you are in the building. This is not mandatory but strongly encouraged. It is not expected for children under 11 years but is encouraged.
  3. Use hand sanitizer on entering and leaving the church building (provided).

What else will you notice?

  • When you arrive in the Church grounds you may need to wait for a few minutes to enter the building. As with shops and other public buildings, markings on the ground will help you to socially distance at the entrance to the Church building.
  • You will be provided with hand sanitizer at the door and reminded that wearing of facemasks is strongly encouraged to protect you and your fellow parishoners.
  • As you enter the Church you will be guided to a pew by a warden/volunteer. We will be seating people in the Church starting from the front. This safety measure will reduce people passing in the aisle. Please sit with those you travelled with where possible as this will allow us to accommodate more people in Church.
  • Numbers will be limited in the building. We must use alternate pews to maintain social distancing and there will be clear markings to help you. Please note that we must only seat 3 people in a pew (socially distanced) if each is attending alone. We can seat 2 groups of 2 or a larger family group in a pew.
  • At the end of the service you will be guided from your pew to the door by a warden/volunteer. This will be one pew at a time to ensure social distancing and from the back of the Church.
  • We will put in place a system to assist with “contact tracing” should someone who has been in Church be later found to have Covid19. This will involve the taking of photographs before the service starts so that we can locate where everyone is seated on a particular Sunday. Please be assured these photographs will only be kept for reference for 21 days, after which they will be deleted. We will also have a form to complete for visitors to allow them to provide contact details (which will be destroyed after 21 days).
  • The gallery will be closed as there is a health risk, in terms of droplet spread, to people seated on the ground floor.
  • We are delighted that Mr Robert Yarr will be playing the organ. We also hope to have the music group playing in the coming weeks. Unfortunately there will be no group singing based on current NI guidance (this may change over the months ahead based on updated information).Cushions have been removed as these are Covid19 risks in terms of surface cleaning. You are welcome to bring your own cushion if you wish.
  • The toilet will only be available if it is an urgent need due to infection control guidance.
  • You can place a freewill offering envelope in a box on your way out of Church. We would strongly encourage you not to use cash (similar to many shops). The reason is that it creates risk for those in our Parish who count the offering. Setting up a standing order with your bank or using a cheque is much safer.

If you have any questions in terms of our guidance please contact info@ballinderryparish.org or ring 07909855139.