Covid-19 restrictions on Church Gatherings
Update 30th July 2020 - Open for Worship
Thank you all for being so patient and gracious in bearing with the leadership team, supporting them, praying for them and respecting that they have been working hard to see us re-open safely as soon as possible. Your understanding has been truly appreciated.
I am pleased to say that we have reopened for small groups and Sunday morning gatherings. However, what we are able to provide at this time will be significantly different to anything we have had before.
Regarding small groups.
For the sake of maintaining compliance with Covid-19 regulations we have clarified small groups as 12 people of less including the group leader. If a group leader wishes to hold the group meeting in the hall at MCBC they must contact one of the following:
Janet Down; Terry Salter; Roy Shooter or Jonathan Bugg.
These four are able to see if the hall is available and will then require the leader to be fully aware of the contents of the small group procedures. It is expected that these leaders will then ensure that all attendees to the small group meetings comply with what is asked of them to ensure everyone’s safety.
Regarding Sunday morning gatherings.
As many people will still not be able to come to MCBC for legitimate health or other reasons and we have been reaching a high number of people with our live streams, we will continue to live stream. The technology to live stream from the church building to the quality that we have been (or ideally even better) is not in place at present and so the Sunday gatherings at MCBC will for the short term be a live stream projected onto the big screen.
Covid-19 regulations mean that there must be no congregational singing, and social distancing of 2m will have to be maintained. This means that although we will most Sundays be live streaming music, attendees at MCBC are not permitted to sing along.
The number of those attending is limited in order to maintain social distancing, and in order to maximise the number who can attend, we are implementing a booking system. If you wish to attend MCBC on the Sunday morning, you must book using the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively for those without internet, call the church office on 02476 382577 and leave a message on the answerphone. In either case you must state who you are, how many of you are coming and a contact number. Either method is acceptable but your request must be in no later than 09:00 on the Friday morning before the service you wish to attend. Once 09:00 Friday arrives the names of those wishing to attend will be processed. Priority will be given to those who have not got internet access and as such have been excluded from any form of teaching or fellowship during lockdown. The next priority will be given to anyone who was not successful in previous weeks. This does mean that you might apply to attend but be unsuccessful in attending as often as you would like. Booking will mean that we can set out the correct number of seats in the correct household groupings to maximise attendance. We have calculated that with careful planning we might be able to fit as many as 45. This will reduce as the number of smaller groups and individuals attending increases. Bookings will reopen 09:00 on the Monday morning following the service.
- MCBC has always been a welcoming church and has often had visitors. If you would like to come along and haven't previously joined us, please book in like anyone else stating you are visitors and we will give you priority.
- All applicants will be advised by Friday evening if they are booked in to attend. If you do not receive a phone call or email, I’m sorry but you will have to wait for another week and re-book although priority will be given to you.
- If once you know you are coming and then develop symptoms of Covid-19 please DO NOT attend. If possible let one of the leadership know so we can a) include you in our prayers and b) re-allocate your places.
- Once you know you are coming please do not get to MCBC too early as the doors will only open 10 minutes before the service is due to start. However, on arriving please can you queue 2m apart from other household groups or individuals ready for the doors to open as this will make life a lot easier.
- Once you are through the doors you will be required to clean your hands with anti-bac gel and then go directly to the seats allocated to your household group. Any children attending must remain with their household group and bring any toys, books etc they might need as we cannot at this time provide any for them.
- The live stream will start at 11:00 as has been usual during lockdown.
- Once the live stream is over, those sitting nearest to the entrance will be requested to leave first and then the next and so on thus ensuring no one comes into unnecessary contact with anyone else.
- A light hearted video showing these rules is available to watch by clicking here.
I know these restrictions are less than ideal but until the government regulations and recommendations are relaxed further, this is the very best we can do at present. Please be assured that as soon as we are able to provide worship and preaching live in the building whilst maintaining a high quality live stream we will do so. Also as soon as anything in the government recommendations changes we will respond to it as quickly as we can.
Compliance with this system is for the benefit of all attending so please consider others and respect their safety as well as your own when attending.
Update 11th July 2020 - Government's permission to open for Worship
Many of you were I am sure, like us, very excited to be told by the Government that we could re-open our buildings for acts of worship. However this has not translated into an immediatley open, services as normal MCBC. The reason is that everything we might want to do must be risk assessed and then various measures put in place to prevent inadvertant onward spreading of the Covid-19 virus. These assessments although well under way in preparation for the Government's permission are still taking a great deal of effort to ensure the safety of all who might wish to join us.
We are doing everything we can to reopen safely as soon as possible so please watch this space for updates.
Update 15th June 2020 - Private Prayer
We are very excited to be able to announce that we are now open for private prayer coincident with our FoodBank opening hours. If you wish to come in and use our dedicated and risk assessed prayer space for your own private peace and prayer please come along to the Front doors which will be open for Foodbank and simply say you have come to pray. Foodbank times are Monday or Thursday between the hours of 10:30 and 12:00 midday. If you wish for anyone to pray with you (socially distanced of course) then please just ask any of our people present.
We hope to see you there.
We are sure that everyone is concerned at this time as well as being inconvenienced greatly due to the restrictions on meetings etc. to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. We at MCBC wish we were able to remain open to provide opportunity for worship and prayer, especially when at this time the message of the hope and peace of Jesus Christ is so vital in our community. However, government guidelines prohibit gatherings of any significant number and as such we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to figure out ways of ensuring pastoral care and spiritual growth continue unabated. To this end:
All midweek gatherings are suspended until this crisis is over. However the office answer phone will be regularly checked and messages will be triaged and responded to accordingly.
Foodbank remains open to provide vital help to those who have need but this will be carried out "through the door" rather than on a welcome in basis, in order to reduce the risk of infection in either direction. All the recommended practices of regular handwashing, hand sanitiser and the staying at home of anyone with a new cough and/or fever will be employed.
In place of our regular sunday gatherings there will be a short message on our MCBC Facebook page using Facebook live at 11:00 every Sunday morning. Throughout the week there will be regular "thoughts for the day" as well as updates and pastoral news via email and every attempt will be made to get hard copies of this information to those without IT at home.
In the event of a funeral being needed the guidelines are that small "family only" gatherings be held. This in normal circumstances will be at the crematorium or graveside. Contact with our pastor is normally via the Funeral Director but once again, messages via this website or on the church office answer phone will be picked up and responded to.
When everything is over and the restrictions removed we plan to hold a celebration service on our first Sunday back and everyone who wishes to give thanks to God for his faithfulness through this situation is warmly invited to join us. Details will posted as soon as they are known.