You may be aware that the government have now permitted churches to open for private, individual prayer. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference have issued guidelines and requirements that need to be followed before an individual church is given permission to open.
Most significant among these is the requirement to have stewards in attendance. To see if it might be possible for Sacred Heart and/or Our Lady & St Edward’s to open, get in touch if you think you could give some time to volunteer as a steward. We can then decide when and for how long each church could possibly open.
Stewards must be known to the Parish Priest and already volunteering in the parish in some capacity (i.e as a reader, Eucharistic Minister, cleaning rota, PPC member …..) If you are known to the Priest, but don’t already volunteer, you will have to fill out a ‘New Volunteer Form’ so that you can be registered as a volunteer. Stewards must be between 17 – 69 years of age and must not be in the clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable categories set out here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/
Stewards will be asked to welcome people who pop in for prayer, ensure that people stay 2m apart, control the maximum number of people in the church at any one time by operating a ‘one in, one out’ system if necessary, ask people to use hand sanitiser when they arrive or leave, frequently clean door handles and other ‘high touch’ surfaces …. and at the end of each day when the church has been opened, it must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
If you think you could give an hour or two each week to help with stewarding and cleaning – then email either firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com or call your parish office. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to open St Augustine’s at the moment due to work about to start on the roof.
If we get sufficient stewards, then we will be able to plan for opening in the next couple of weeks