Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Responding to the challenges relating to the Coronavirus
31st July 2020
COMING BACK TO CHURCH IN AUGUST
At Cregagh we want to create an environment that is both welcoming and safe. While we would actively encourage you to come back to worship, believing it safe to do so with the measures we have taken, we also want to say that no one should come to services if they have any symptoms.
As we continue to move forward towards something more like normal it is imperative that we do so by insuring that all actions must be in line with current guidelines and restrictions. With no changes to PCI guidelines regarding 2m social distance the same arrangements for services that are currently in place will continue for the month of August, continuing to provide a service at 10am and 12noon, accommodating up to 60 people on each occasion. Doors will be opened at 9:30am and 11:30am so that folk can be guided and seated.
Members are still being asked to register, due to ‘contact tracing’, by contacting Michael on email: email@example.com or phone: 07548635075, indicating which Sunday(s), how many are ‘in their bubble’ and attending with them, as well as which time slot(s). As before those who have registered will be asked to inform Michael if for whatever reason someone cannot attend so that the register will be as accurate as possible.
The services themselves will continue to be slightly shorter than normal and present arrangements regarding offering will remain in place for the month of August. While we recognise there is an unease about congregational singing, the official advice given to us by both PCI and the NI Executive is that it would be very low risk to have it as part of our services. In an attempt to alleviate fears we have not shared in congregational singing over the past three weeks. A further attempt to respect these concerns while moving forward is the plan to incorporate live singing to the congregation as part of the service, something which the PCI guidelines suggest and encourage, namely,
“The Northern Ireland Executive is not prohibiting singing in services of worship, rather seeking to be permissive with certain mitigations in place. While the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Executive did not see singing as such a risk that it required regulation, the principles of ‘less rather than more’, ‘softer rather than louder’ and ‘listening to some and singing some’ are all useful guides, at least in the early days of return to Church. So a blended service could well be the way forward, made up of some pieces sung by a small group (socially distanced themselves and four metres from the congregation), some worship songs on video and a few shorter and perhaps softer congregational praise items.”
Being mindful of concerns raised surrounding this, singing to the congregation can be shared without causing discomfort or putting anyone at risk, by limiting it to one piece of live singing in the middle of the service being provided by a soloist or at most a duet. The singing will be shared from the back of the choir stalls, much further away from the front row of the congregation than the guidelines recommend. Considering that preaching is not that different an action than an individual or pair singing we would hope, over the month of August, that doing this would be one more step towards normality while still acting well within the restrictions. Some short responsive prayers will also be introduced, but please do not feel any pressure to take part if you do not wish to.
It is encouraging that the trialled return of KidZone has gone so well, Karen and Jim are happy to carry on covering the month of August and there is no longer a requirement for separate registration in advance. Unfortunately the restrictions are still extremely tight regarding crèche so it will not be available for at least the month of August. However babies are very welcome at our services!
The issue of offering lifts to church has been raised a number of times over the last week. We appreciate that this is a difficult one but the official position in terms of the guidelines is that folk should not offer nor provide lifts to anyone outside of their bubble.
It would be anticipated that all practices would be reviewed on Monday 24th August and that an update would be produced, sent out and made available for distribution on Friday 28th August.
Cregagh Presbyterian Church is an active and family friendly congregation in Belfast at the heart of the Community on the Cregagh Road, midway between a busy shopping area and a residential neighbourhood. We aim to ‘Love God and Love our Neighbour’ by being willing to hear God speak and serve Him obediently in our homes, in our work, in our leisure and in our community.
If you’re checking out church for the first time or just looking for a new one we have a place for you.
With Special Services and Events throughout the year, and numerous organisations there are plenty of opportunities to grow, get involved, and serve.
We recently unveiled our Vision for Cregagh document, click here to find out more.
All services suspended until further notice.
Still have questions? Please contact us.