Following the most recent update to the Church of England guidance in May 2022, our two Parochial Church Councils have respectively discussed our churches, our practice in public worship and the implications of the guidance.
As in wider society, most Covid-19 restrictions have been removed and we are operating in church in a way that is ‘mostly’ normal. However, to briefly summarise, there are still a few things to note.
- It is good practice to sanitise your hands as you enter and leave church;
- It is a matter of personal choice as to whether you wear a face covering (including for singing);
- There is no particular social distancing requirements.
- Please don’t come to church if you test positive for Covid-19.
- The Peace continues to be shared by smiling and waving, and not with physical contact (shaking hands, kisses or hugs).
- The offertory can now be made by distributing collection bags or plates. The contactless giving plates will continue to be available at the rear of church.
- Holy Communion is being distributed by the Priest intincting (dipping) each wafer into the wine, thus enabling each person to receive bread and wine. We have taken the decision not to return to the One Cup for the time being.
- At Holy Communion, the Priest will continue to wear a face covering during the Eucharistic Prayer and distribution.
- At St Mary’s in West Malling, for the time being, we will continue to use a Nave Altar because of the particular Covid risk of walking to the High Altar during a period of the service when the Choir are singing.
- Online Worship continues to be provided as a live-stream from St Mary’s each week. If you have not already done so, please do subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you get alerted when a new service is published online.
It is vitally important that we continue to look after one another and support each other, regardless of circumstance or health or vaccination status. It is really important to us as leaders that no-one feels excluded or unable to participate and we would reject any notion that only the vaccinated, or any other division of people, are allowed to be included in our church’s life.
Please do contact us if you would like to ask questions, talk about our plans or if there is any other help or support we can offer.
We will continue to keep our practice under review, and we will pay careful attention to updates issued by the Church of England or by Government.
Rev David Green,
the Lay and Ordained Ministers,
the Churchwardens and PCCs
of West Malling and Offham