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Update on re-opening our Church. A letter to all in the Parish

From the Rector and Select Vestry

Due to the Covid19 Pandemic it has been more than 3 months since we were last able to meet together in our Parish Church. Updated guidance at the end of June has allowed us to make preparations to re-open our Church. However, we need to ensure this is done safely and that we follow the clear guidance laid out by both the NI Executive and the Church of Ireland. In order to meet the requirements of the new guidance things will look a bit different when you come back to Church.

Covid19 is one of the biggest challenges our local Church is facing. We cannot re-open without your help and we need volunteers who could assist on a Sunday morning. Please email info@ballinderryparish.org or ring 07909855139 if you want to know more about how you can help.

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?

  • You will be directed to a pew using a system to ensure we follow social distancing. You need to sit with those you travelled with where possible.
  • 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.
  • The gallery will be closed as there is a health risk, in terms of droplet spread, to people seated on the ground floor.
  • Unfortunately, there will be no singing based on current NI guidance (this may change over the months ahead based on updated information).
  • All books and soft furnishing (pew cushions) will be removed as these are Covid19 risks in terms of surface cleaning.
  • The toilet will only be available for use if it is an urgent need.
  • 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.

We will be in contact again closer to the date of opening. At this point, we are aiming for early August but this will depend on all our safety measures being in place and on NI guidance at that time. We will provide a walk through video on our website and social media to let you see how things will be when we return. If you have any questions in terms of our guidance please contact info@ballinderryparish.org or ring 07909855139.

Numbers will be limited in the building. We can only use every other pew due to social distancing.

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.