Reassembling for ‘in-person’ Worship

Dear friends,

Reassembling for ‘in person’ worship at Bradley Road Evangelical Baptist Church

download this letter here or download Risk Assessment document here

Psalm 122:1 says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” We no longer go up to a physical temple to worship; rather the people of God are that dwelling place of the Lord by his Spirit. We are thankful to the Lord for sustaining us during this unprecedented time of needing to worship from our homes, rather than gathering in person.

The Welsh government recently announced that churches are permitted to re-open their buildings for religious services. As we explained in previous communications, we are aware of the announcement and we are in the process of considering the guidance, but also that this does not mean that we will be resuming services with immediate effect. Much preparation has already been made, but it will be prudent for us to be fully aware of what standards need to be met so that we are able to gather in the safest way possible. We also need to be sure of when resuming services will be the most beneficial to all the congregation. At present, unless there are significant changes, we think it is sensible to say that we shall not be reassembling until sometime in late September or early October.

We recognise that there are different viewpoints within the congregation on the risks involved in reassembling and that some may not be able to return even in September/October due to underlying health concerns and the consequent vulnerability to Covid-19. We also know that many have questions and perhaps concerns about what it will look like to reopen the chapel. With this in mind we are providing you with a written copy of procedures we are intending to follow so that when we reassemble, we can reassemble responsibly and in a way that glorifies God. In the near future we shall also be releasing a video which will show you these guidelines ‘in action’. In planning for our return to ‘in person’ worship, we have sought to take into account as many of your concerns that we were aware of, but we continue to invite you to speak to us about anything in this document you find difficult or on which you need clarification.

It is vital that we stay united as we move forward. We are all united in our love for our God and our desire to worship Him. Therefore, differences of perspective on risks and related matters can be opportunities for us to bear with one another, to look out for the interest of others, to be patient and kind and to assume the best of one another. This has been the goal of the elders and deacons in forming these plans, and we pray that God may grant us all the grace to move forward together in love and unity.

Yours in Christ,

Andrew, David, Jonathan, Matthew, Nigel and Peter

Reassembling Procedures

Before coming to a service

  • Remember: Services will be still be live-streamed, available online via the website, on the phone via ‘Twilio’, or we can deliver a CD to you if you prefer. We want everyone to be involved, even if you are unable to be physically present. Let us remember that we are spiritually united to Christ and therefore spiritually united to one another, whether physically present in the chapel, or at home watching or listening. You should feel no pressure to be physically present, knowing that we understand your concerns.
  • Inform us of your intention to come. Please phone Andrew or send him an email or a message on his mobile. Please inform Andrew if you change your mind and decide that you are not coming.
  • If you have not let us know you are coming, we shall do our best to accommodate you, but we cannot guarantee you a seat. We shall also do our best to accommodate visitors.
  • What to bring with you:
    • Your own Bible
    • A face-covering
    • Alcohol gel & disinfectant wipes for personal use (alcohol gel will be available at the entrance and exit of the chapel and disinfectant wipes are available in the toilets, but we ask you to also bring your own for further usage)
    • As the weather turns cooler, you may wish to bring something warm to wear as windows will be open to increase ventilation.

All pew Bibles and hymnbooks have been removed from the chapel and will not be available to use. We shall be projecting all hymns on the wall and large print copies will be available for those who need them. If you need large print copies of the hymns, we would ask you to let us know when you inform us of your intention to come.

  • Covid-19 Symptoms
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of taste or smell

If you, or anyone in your household, has any of these symptoms, please join the livestream of worship rather than attending church physically. You should also obtain medical advice regarding testing and track and trace. Please also inform Andrew so he can coordinate any support you may need.

When you arrive

  • Car Parking: If are you are able please park in nearby streets to prevent overcrowding in the church carpark, thereby leaving spaces for those who could benefit most from parking in the church carpark.
  • Entering and exiting the building and one-way system: Please see diagram 1. Please enter through the carpark fire-door and exit using the foyer doors. At all times please follow the one-way system. There are arrows on the floor to direct you. You may need to queue to enter the chapel. Please use the markings on the floor as a guide to help you maintain social distancing while queuing. You may wish to bring an umbrella in case the weather is bad while queuing.
  • Put on your face-covering before entering the building. This should be worn at all times when you are in the building. This only applies to those aged 11 and over. Face-coverings for children aged 0-10 will be left to the discretion of parents. If you have specific concerns about this policy please discuss this with us in advance.
  • Upon arrival you will be greeted by a steward who will direct you to wash your hands using the hand sanitiser provided as you enter the chapel. Another steward will direct you to your seat, in general filling up seats furthest from the entrance first. It is important that you sit in your allocated seat to maximise the limited seating which is available. Seating areas are arranged to accommodate families, couples and those attending on their own. No household will be sitting within 2m of each other as seats are arranged with 2m distancing rules applied.
  • Please note: Records of those attending a service will be kept. This is for the purposes of tracking and tracing, should someone who attended our services be found to have contracted coronavirus. This information will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed.
  • Take your seat: The church will be thoroughly cleaned following government guidelines prior to each service, but you are most welcome to wipe your seat down for an extra layer of protection using disposable wipes that you have brought along. Ideally, once seated, you should remain in your seating area until the end of the service. Please enjoy fellowship with those in seating areas nearby to you while remaining in your seats, but please do not move around the building to speak to others.

During the service

  • Children: Children must remain with their family units at all times. We are pleased to be able to continue to offer a children’s talk during the service, but children will not be asked to come forward to ‘The Corner of Truth’. As we begin to reassemble, we are not going to be able to offer a Sunday School during the main service. However, we are thinking through what other provisions we may be able to offer to support your children and will keep you informed. Government guidance presently requires us to remove all creche areas, play corners, books and toys. Should you require activities to occupy your younger children during the service, please bring these from your own home.
  • Social distancing: Please keep 2m away from other household/family units at all times, unless you are bubbling with another household attending the service. We do not anticipate the need for any family unit to come within 2m of another.
  • Singing and conversations: We shall be following government advice not to sing until we are advised otherwise. We are also encouraged to speak in a lowered voice in our conversations so as to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Offering: There will be no seat to seat offering during the service. To manage risks in the present crisis, we would prefer to be ‘cash free’, so if you use online banking, our preference would be for you to deposit your offerings directly into the church bank account, or via Stewardship. If you are unable to use internet banking, an offering box is available as you leave the chapel building.
Church Bank Account: Bradley Road Evangelical Baptist Church
Sort code: 30-99-95
Account number: 00097585
Giving through Stewardship: To use this service, either regularly or for a one–off gift you will need to open a Stewardship giving account and you would then pay directly to Stewardship instead of the church bank account. Visit: https://www.stewardship.org.uk/

As a registered charity, the church is eligible for Gift Aid which boosts the amount of money the church can receive from gifts given by basic rate tax payers by an extra 25%. This is the tax you paid when earning the funds to provide your gift. In order to claim Gift Aid on your gifts, you need to complete (and return to us) a form. If you would like a form to Gift Aid please contact David Neal at david.neal@bradleyroadchurch.com.

  • Symptoms: If you develop symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 during the service, please leave immediately with your household/family unit and inform Andrew or Nigel via telephone.
  • Toilets and baby-changing:
    • Toilets: To access the toilet please follow the one-way system (see diagram 2). To re-enter the main building, follow the one-way system out the foyer door through the carpark and enter again using the carpark fire-door returning to your allocated seat. Please follow all the instructions on the signage inside the toilet. In particular, please note the importance of closing the toilet seat before flushing, wiping down to the best of your ability all points of contact using the disposable wipes provided and washing your hands using the soap and water provided. Please do not flush disposable wipes down the toilet; rather dispose of them using the bins provided. Children should be supervised by parents when using the toilets.
    • Baby-changing: After using the baby-changing facility, please wipe it down using the disposable wipes provided in the toilets. Please place all nappies in a plastic nappy bag and dispose in the black bins in the carpark.
    • Queuing: Should you need to queue for the toilet or baby-changing facilities, please queue in the school room, using the markings provided to maintain social distancing (see diagram 2).

After the service

  • Kitchen: The kitchen is now closed and should not be accessed for any reason, except for those needing access to items for cleaning the chapel. If you require water, please bring your own water bottle to the service.
  • Refreshments: Regrettably, we will not be able to serve refreshments after the services for the time being.
  • Fellowship: Please enjoy fellowship with those in seating areas nearby to you while remaining in your seats, but please do not move around the building to speak to others.
  • School Room: The school room is closed, except for queuing for the toilets, and should not be used for after-service fellowship or any other purpose.
  • Children: Children are to remain in their family units at all times and adhere to the 2m social distancing rule. If this becomes a problem then parents are free to take children outside to Bellevue Park and have them play there, but always under direct supervision.

Expectations when coming to a service

If you have read this far, it will be obvious to you by now that the feel of church for the foreseeable future is going to be very different to what we are used to. As we have already noted, we shall be following government advice not to sing until we are advised otherwise. This will have a big impact on the ‘feel’ of our services. Furthermore, we should be aware that the guidelines say ‘that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time as this reduces the risk of transmission. Once completed, participants should be encouraged to leave the premises promptly and not gather, to minimise the risk of contact and spread of infection.’

However, trusting the words of Psalm 122:1, we believe that it is still good to plan to meet ‘in person’, despite these limitations, and that as we meet, God will be glorified and we will receive a blessing. It is essential that when we do meet, that we listen to those who are there to help us follow these guidelines. In this way, we can demonstrate to one another the biblical virtues of love, patience and trust in those guiding us. Please come ready to support each other, remembering that we are doing our best to demonstrate Christian fellowship and that we are all wanting to glorify the Lord.