The Church Council met on 17th July 2020 (by Zoom) and recommitted itself to worship, study and prayer. We agreed to continue to pray for each other and seek discernment and wisdom at this time.
Whilst the Church Council retains legal responsibility for the reopening of the church, it delegated the task of making and executing decisions regarding the phased reopening of the church to the Church Leadership Team.
During the whole of the COVID-19 the Church Leadership Team has met together every three weeks online via Zoom to pray and carefully consider/plan how as a church we can continue to worship and grow as disciples, love and support each other, and how we can serve our wider community. We are reminded that through this difficult time we remain a community who love and care for each other.
We have agreed to continue the online service via YouTube every Sunday morning at 10am for at least several more months. We also have a separate printed service sheet issued every week to those who can’t access the online service.
We have taken the decision to not open or start Sunday services with people attending church in September – due to all of the restrictions we would need to impose, it would be very strange and different to what we remember as normal. There would be no singing, we would need to wear masks, seats would need to be booked, lots of people would not be able to attend, there could be no refreshments or social time after the service, and we may only be able to get up to 20/30 people safely in church.
We are therefore considering and setting out a plan to get us from September to the New Year – this plan can be amended, speeded up, or slowed down to reflect changing local restrictions and government direction/legislation. Regular updates on the gradual reopening of church will be provided as we continue to react to the swift changing situation and national and local guidance, including guidance from the Methodist Church.
We welcome any views on these proposals via email to leadership.team (@) frodshammethodist.org, via your pastoral visitor or to one of the Church Leadership team.
Every activity/event which we propose and which eventually starts will be the subject of a detailed Covid-19 risk assessment, with the wider effect and risk assessment of the church and any collateral impact from one event/activity on another also assessed. We have noted that for some of these events and activities to take place, zoning of the whole of the Church premises including the hall, annexe etc. would be required (we would need to separate parts of the church premises to make sure no one from one event/activity went into another zone of church which was saved and cleaned for a separate activity) and/or enhanced cleaning will be needed.
As part of this plan we hope in September to be able to move the online service to be streamed live from church. There will be no congregation present, but it will enable more flexibility and permit more than one person to be present and help lead it. There is also the potential for funerals restarting at church later in September, but numbers attending will be significantly restricted. It is possible that we may be able to restart youth group at church in some format and maybe the regular walking group.
As we move later into October, there is a possibility that we may be able to permit a very small number of people to attend our live streamed services at church, but the services will continue to be streamed on YouTube for all to attend online or listen via their phone. Even later in October we are looking at if we can start some sort of short spoken prayer service for a small number of people, possibly midweek.
During November and December, and into the New Year, we will look to gradually reopen activities and events at church. Sadly it is too early yet to give any real detail of what this may look like as, at the time of writing, we have no knowledge of any potential second waves of Covid-19, how Government advice may change, of the effect of local lockdowns, etc.
We will keep everyone updated and we appreciate everyone’s patience, love and support as we try to carefully pick our way through this difficult situation.
The Leadership Team
Frodsham Methodist Church
Written by the Minister & Members