Church after lockdown

Last revised: 14th August 2020

Following an update from Welsh Government, we have resumed holding Sunday services in the building. On this page, we aim to answer some of the questions you may have about this. If you still have further questions, or any additional thoughts, please get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Please note: We have written this page primarily for those in membership or regular fellowship of Litchard Mission. If you are not a member and are planning to visit us on a Sunday, please get in touch first, so we can ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Is it safe to have services?

We are thankful to the Lord that the answer is now, “Yes.” We have been following public health advice, and the experiences of churches in England, and are confident that we can hold services safely. However, the risk of transmission is still real, and the safety of our services depends on us carefully following guidelines. So, even if you feel some of the instructions are overly restrictive, it is important that we all follow them for each other’s good, and for our witness to the local community.

Why return now?

Meeting together for worship is a really important part of our life together as church, and we have wanted to resume this as soon as possible, even if there will be significant restrictions initially. We also believe a gradual phased return will enable us to serve people better than a sudden complete return later on. Sunday 2nd August was the earliest date that we could realistically meet with appropriate precautions in place.

What time will the service be?

In order to accommodate everyone, we will need to meet as two different congregations at 11am and 4pm. You are welcome to come to either service. The content of both services will be identical. We recognise this is not ideal, and we will move to a single congregation as soon as it is safe for us to do so. We will aim to resume our evening service after that point.

What will happen in the service?

The service will be between 50 minutes and an hour long. We will pray and listen to God’s word, and someone will preach. The church Bibles will not be available, so you will need to bring your own Bible to follow along. It is not currently considered safe to sing, but we will listen to a few hymns together. We know it will be hard to restrain ourselves from singing, but please save your voices for the car journey home!

Who can come to the services?

If you’re reading this, we would love to see you at one of our services, but only when it is safe for you to return. If you have been advised to shield by your GP, it is important to wait until the shielding period has ended. We also urge those of you who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions to continue following all relevant guidance. Additionally, if you have Covid-19 symptoms, we ask you to stay at home in line with guidance.

Will I need to book a seat?

Although our capacity is more restricted than usual, we are not currently intending to introduce a booking system. This may change as the congregation size increases. However, we would ask you to let Pastor Adam know if you are planning to come for the first time, so that we can make changes to the seating if necessary. Similarly, if you want to invite someone from outside of your household, you will need to check with Adam in advance to avoid disappointment.

Will children be welcome?

Yes! We recognise there will be particular challenges for young children, and we want to work with parents to ensure a safe environment for families who come. We would encourage those with young children to come to our 4pm service if possible, as this will make social distancing easier. Caroline will be producing craft packs that will connect with the theme of the service. These will be put together in advance to reduce risks. Junior Church will also continue to meet fortnightly online, on Zoom.

What if I can’t come to the services?

While lockdown restrictions remain, the service will continue to be broadcast on YouTube. Our plan is to provide a livestream of the 11am service, which you will be able to access as usual from our YouTube channel. Until this is possible, we will provide a recording from 6pm, Lord willing. We will also continue our distribution of DVDs and audio CDs to members without internet access.

What will happen when I arrive?

We would ask people to arrive in good time for the service, so that we can admit everyone safely. To ensure people’s safety, we will need to follow a specific process on arrival:
1. When you arrive, you will be greeted by stewards outside the main entrance.
2. When you enter the building, please use the hand sanitiser provided.
3. Your name will be included in a register, which we are required to keep for Test and Trace purposes. This will be stored securely in a locked cabinet, and destroyed when no longer required.
4. The steward will show you to an area of seating. This may be either in the main hall or in the schoolroom.
5. Once you are seated, please remain in your seat until the end of the service, unless you need to use the toilet facilities.

Will I need to wear a mask?

We are asking everyone to wear a mask or face covering, unless it would be unwise for medical reasons. We know that masks are weird, uncomfortable and unfriendly. But they do help to limit the risk of transmission in indoor spaces, so this is one simple thing we can do to keep each other safe. If you wear glasses, pushing your glasses down your nose slightly may help to prevent them misting up.

Am I allowed to talk to people?

Our interactions with each other will sadly be very limited when we first meet. We need to follow the 2-metre social distancing guidelines at all times, and are not able to stay after the service for casual conversation. We know this will be hard, as we may be desperate to give everyone a hug and say something encouraging! But for the immediate future, we will have to make the most of brief exchanges, waves and various hand gestures.

What about prayer meetings?

We are not yet able to resume gatherings for prayer, but we will continue to meet online each Wednesday. We will keep you updated on this as guidance changes.

If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch…