I rejoiced with those who said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
Lots of people have compared the time of lockdown to the Exile which the Israelites experienced when they were carried from Jerusalem to Babylon. Though it seems like a long time since we were able to gather to worship together in Sunnyside, our exile – praise God – has not lasted for over 50 years. However, there are some similarities: we have longed to return to worship in the church building we know and love; we have sought to continue lives of faith in the situations in which we find ourselves and serve those around us just as the Lord commanded the Israelites (Jeremiah 29); we will be returning to find church is not as it was before we left because things are different. Things will be different in part because we are still living with the challenges of Covid-19; it will be different because we have been changed by our experience of lockdown; it will be different because the needs of those we are seeking to serve will have been affected by the past four months.
We are conducting a survey to discover how you have found lockdown and would be really grateful if you would complete a copy. Your answers will help us to plan in the months ahead. Please click here for a copy of the survey which can be returned to Rebecca by email or by post to the Vicarage. Please may we have your completed forms by 25th July. Thank you,
Our next step
On Sunday 26th July, we plan to open Sunnyside for public worship but it will look different to services in March. Initially, we will be holding a service of Morning Prayer at 9am. There will be a sermon but no singing. There will be no Holy Communion yet though we hope to reintroduce this soon. The service will be about 40 minutes long which gives us time to get home if we also wish to join in with the online service at 10am. We will be continuing with an online service for the foreseeable future.
Government advice continues to be that those who are shielding should stay at home until 1st August and that those who are over 70 should stay at home as much as possible. This does not mean you are not welcome at church but please bear this in mind when you are deciding whether or not you will come to public worship.
Anyone who is self-isolating because they or a member of their household have Covid-19 symptoms or have been told to self-isolate by Track and Trace should stay at home.
How Sunnyside will look if you come to church on Sunday 26th July:
- You will be met at the porch door by someone who will take your name and a telephone number if you are a visitor. This information will be kept for 21 days and given to the Government if it is needed for Track and Trace. This information will not be used for any other reason.
- You will be asked to use hand sanitiser as you enter the church.
- Government advice is to wear a face covering in places of public worship so please put on a face covering as you enter Sunnyside (unless you are exempt)
- You will then need to find a seat and must only sit with people from your household. The chairs have been arranged to allow social distancing which means that the church looks rather strange. There are 45 available.
- There will be a printed order of service on your chair. Please take this home with you to recycle as they can only be used once because of the risk of infection. We cannot use the pew Bibles because of the risk of infection so do bring your own Bible if you would like to.
- We will not be handing round the collection plates or using the tokens. There will be a plate by the entrance for you to use if you wish. The service leader will take this up and pray God’s blessing on the contents and the money given directly from our bank accounts.
- At the end of the service, you will be invited to leave via the West Door as we need to create a one way system. Please use hand sanitiser provided on the way out.
- The accessible loo in the Lobby will be available if needed.
We are called to show our love for God by loving one another. We can do this very practically by:
- Not coming to church if you are feeling unwell or should be self-isolating
- Maintaining social distancing at all times, both inside and outside the church building
- Practising good hygiene by applying hand sanitiser
The church building continues to be open for private prayer on Mondays 10am-12 noon and Fridays 3pm-5pm.
If you have any questions about the unlocking of Sunnyside, please speak to Rebecca or one of our churchwardens, Chris and Tony.