Church Open for Individual Private Prayer

I am sure you will share in my delight that permission has been given for us to start to use church buildings again, starting with individual private prayer. 
Offering you a quiet space to be still, enjoy the peace church offers and reflect.  

We will continue to offer our online Sunday Worship at 9.30 am via Zoom, as well as our weekly mailing and morning prayer.
We enjoy welcoming new people to our worship each week and would love for you to join us. 

In order to open our churches the Churchwardens, Ministry Team and PCCs, have put in place a method to keep everyone safe and which adheres to Church and Government guidelines.    
 
In this letter we hope to give you a sense of what to expect when you come into church and outline some of the measures we have put in place for yours and other peoples’ safety. 
The church will look different to what you are used to with some areas being taped off or covered up.
We are also required to display a number of signs and we ask that you adhere to them. 
Towards the end of this email there are links to two short videos which we hope will help you as well get a sense of what to expect.

Which Churches and when? 
Initially we will open the following churches for individual private prayer from Monday 22nd June 2020.
They will be open at specific times on certain days. 

  • St Bartholomew’s will be open:
    Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon and on
    Sundays from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
  • St Lawrence will be open:
    Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm 

Cleanliness and Hygiene
Prior to opening both Churches have been cleaned, however we cannot guarantee clinical hygiene standards. 
You will be asked to use the hand sanitizer provided to clean your hands on entering and before leaving. 
Throughout the opening period the seating that is used will be wiped clean before another person uses it.
 
Use of the Building 
You will enter by one door and will be directed to leave by a different door. 
Whilst this may seem strange when only a few people are using our buildings this measure has been put in place so that when we are allowed to hold Sunday worship this will have become familiar practice. 
Also when we gather for Sunday worship these exit doors open onto open spaces so when you go out, and if you wish, you can have socially distanced conversations with other parishioners.

  • For St Bartholomew’s you will enter through the normal (south) door and exit by the kitchen (north). 
  • For St Lawrence you will enter through the normal (west) door and exit by the south porch.  

Unfortunately for the time being service books, bibles, leaflets, pens and paper have been removed.  
Should you wish please do bring your own bible or prayer book with you. 
As is the custom at St Lawrence tea lights are available with an already lit candle for you to light your tea light from.
 
We are sorry but neither Church is able to offer toilet facilities at this time.    

Prayer Space 
Each Church has a specific area which has been set aside for individual prayer. 
In St Bartholomew’s this will be in the main body of the church and in St Lawrence that will be in the Lady Chapel. 

Seating will be identified by a sign which says ‘please sit here’ when you leave we ask that you turn the sign over ‘awaiting cleaning’ this indicates to the person supervising the session where cleaning is needed. 
Please feel free to stay as long as you like.  
There will be a limit on the number of people we can have seated at any one time. 
We will do our best to accommodate by opening up other spaces, but should the need arise you may be asked by the supervising person to wait outside (weather permitting) until space becomes available. 
 
Confirmed COVID 
In the event of us being notified that a person confirmed as having COVID-19 has visited one of the Churches that Church will be closed with immediate effect and necessary cleaning procedure will to be put in place.  
 
Government Advice on Attendance 
We do not wish to stop anyone who wishes to come and pray during these set time periods, but government guidance states:

Individuals aged 70 years and over attending the place of worship
Certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions.
Individuals who fall within this group are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their household.
 
Children attending places of worship
Parents or guardians should ensure children maintain social distancing.
Young children should be supervised by the parent or guardian at all times, and any facilities for children (play corners, books, toys) should be removed.
 
The information set out in this letter is subject to Government and Church of England advice, which can be withdrawn or changed at short notice. 
We will endeavour to keep you informed of any changes, but do hope you will understand if changes have to be made.
 
Kind Regards    


Revd Paula Challen
Rector Tove Benefice

What to expect from your visit to St Lawrence Church, Towcester
What to expect from your visit to St Bartholomew's Greens Norton 


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