Following our recent survey, we would like to update you on our current thoughts as elders on resuming church meetings. So much at the moment is still uncertain, and we continue to trust the Lord for wisdom as the situation develops. But the following eight points summarise the starting point for future discussions. As always, we welcome any feedback and thoughts from members and regular congregants.
1 – We will resume some form of Sunday meeting as soon as we can
Meeting together is such an important part of our lives as Christians. We recognise that initially our Sunday services may look and feel very different, and that our congregation may be smaller. But our intention is to meet as soon as we can, rather than to wait until we can meet “as normal.” In the survey, most of you felt able to return “at the first opportunity.”
2 – We will not meet before the Welsh government advises us it is safe
We have no intention of meeting before government restrictions are lifted. We believe the current restrictions are in place for our good, and for the safety of our community. Our decision to open will be led by guidance from the Welsh government, which may differ from that issued elsewhere in the UK. We will also consult with other local churches. We want to meet as soon as we can, but we do not want to put one another at unnecessary risk.
3 – We urge people to continue following medical advice
Some of you have been advised to shield by your GPs, and it is important that you wait until it is safe for you to return. We also urge those of you who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions to continue following all relevant guidance at the time. Additionally, if you have Covid-19 symptoms, we ask you to stay at home in line with guidance. We do really want to see you all again, but only when it’s wise. If you need to wait a bit longer before you return, the Lord understands, and so do the rest of us.
4 – We will rearrange seating to comply with relevant social distancing guidelines
We do not yet know what restrictions will still be in place when we meet again. But we will ensure that our seating arrangement enables appropriate social distancing between households. We will communicate the specifics of this in advance of the first Sunday, as guidance changes.
5 – We will probably not all be able to meet at the same time
Our building only has a limited capacity, even using the schoolroom as an overflow. Based on the number of you who intend to join us on the first possible Sunday, we anticipate that we will need to hold two services at different times in order to accommodate everyone. This is obviously not ideal, but we do not want to create an unnecessarily risky environment. We will aim to move towards a single congregation as soon as it was wise, and the evening service will resume after that. We will clarify the situation in advance of the first Sunday, as guidance changes.
6 – We will take various other precautions, as appropriate
It is impossible for us to eliminate all risk from our meetings, and we continue to trust the Lord to keep us. Nevertheless, there are some basic precautions we can take as a church. Most of the options on the survey were widely supported, and we intend to put these in place. We will let you know the details in advance of the first Sunday.
7 – We will meet for prayer as soon as possible
The current situation has probably shown us even more clearly how great a privilege it is to come to our Father in heaven in prayer, in all situations. We intend to resume at least one meeting for prayer as soon as it is possible to do so, in line with the previous points. This may happen before we are able to meet on Sundays.
8 – We will not have a separate Junior Church when we first meet again
Mainly because of issues around building space, we are not planning to run a separate Junior Church when we first meet again. We will continue to welcome families with children of all ages, and will work hard to ensure everyone feels included in the service. Caroline and Adam have begun planning for this, and will update you in advance of the first Sunday. We will resume Junior Church at some point after schools have returned in Wales, in conversation with parents and leaders.
If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch…