Church open for worship
4th July 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
God be praised! Our churches can be open for worship again from today. We have made
all the necessary preparations to ensure that people can once again return to the Lord’s
house and receive the sacraments – which are so vital to our life as Christians. This has
involved a lot of hard work for which those responsible need to be thanked.
Let me say that it has grieved me to be at the altar without you. It is not natural or
normal for a priest to offer Mass without his people. However, I have done it for your
good and for the good of all the Church.
The Mass is so much more than a mere communal meal – it is the very gift of God’s
own self to us. It is His love, it is His forgiveness, it is His Calvary and His resurrection,
it is His everlasting Passover, it is the foretaste of heaven, it contains for us everlasting
life, and it is our partaking in the life of God, it is our gateway to heaven. It is essential
to our life as Christians and without it there are inevitable consequences to our spiritual
We shall be open from Sunday 5th. We shall be open from Sunday 5th.
But we all need to understand that the ‘new normal’ will not be like the ‘old normal’ –
at least not for now. The government permission to open for worship, as with permissions
for shops, hotels etc., comes with strict conditions. In order to keep everyone as safe as
possible, we shall try our very best to keep to the rules. But before I explain how this will
work, it is important that I make some conditions very clear.
Although the government permission means that there is once again a legal requirement
for Sunday worship in parish churches, the bishops have kept in place the dispensation
from attendance at Sunday Mass. This means that anyone who, for any valid reason feels
unable to attend, should consider themselves absolutely free to stay at home.
Further, the following should NOT attend:
Anyone with symptoms or suspected symptoms of Covid -19
Anyone who has been in recent contact with someone with Covid – 19 symptoms
Anyone in a vulnerable or shielding category
Anyone who is self-isolating
We will continue to live stream the 10.30am Parish Mass from Goldthorpe for the
time-being for those who cannot be with us just yet.
There is also a strong recommendation (which we shall implement) that we collect
simple contact details for all who attend. This will enable us to make contact should any
member of a particular congregation contracts Covid – 19.
In practical terms there are regulations as to how the service runs:
There will be hand hygiene points at the entrance and the exit with clear signs to ask
people to use them
Books and re-usable orders of service may not be handed out. We are using single use
leaflets which you must take away with you.
For the time being there can be no singing, although we shall have organ music at
various points in each Sunday service
There will be no common cup and no exchanging of the peace
Communion will be received in one kind standing at the chancel step, in the hands, with
No collections will be taken. There will be plates for cash or envelopes, but please note,
cash poses a risk of infection, not least for those who must handle and count it. (Ideally
as many people as possible should switch to standing order.)
There will be no gathering before or after the service (though of course, if the weather is
fine, there is nothing to prevent a socially distanced chat in the grounds – but not in
groups of more than two households or six individuals!)
There will be no public toilets available
At Goldthorpe from today there will be the following services each week