Church Services Guidance
Updated Guidance from 19 July 2021:
Following the announcement that the legal Covid19 restrictions will lift on 19 July 2021, the PCC and Staff have considered which previous restrictions to reduce at Highfield while also seeking advice from the Church of England guidance.
In our services we will continue to encourage social distancing and so we continue to ask all those who wish to attend a service to reserve their seat in advance. The chairs in church have been laid out at a 2m distance in singles, pairs and groups, so that you can sit with your household. However we understand that you may wish to come to church with friends who you feel comfortable not to socially distance with and so if you would normally attend on your own and you would like to book in with friends please do so on one form. Please indicate how many of a particular grouping you would like, e.g. if there are 2 of you coming and you would like to sit together in a pair of seats you need to reserve 1 pair of seats. We will then be able to accommodate the right number of groups and still encourage social distancing for those that would still like this precaution.
We will continue to encourage people to wear face masks in the building, to use hand gel as they enter and exit and to choose to mingle with friends outside of the church building. We will also allow singing behind a face mask at our services.
We look forward to seeing you!
Service Guidelines during Covid19 Pandemic:
In order for us to be able to open the church for services, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all those entering the building.
Please make yourself familiar with the following guidance before attending:
Are you well before you attend?
- If you have had COVID-19 symptoms within the last 14 days, or you live with someone who has had symptoms in the last 14 days, you should not be attending.
- If you are currently shielding, we ask you to consider staying at home and enjoying our Highfield at Home digital stream for the time being. Although we miss seeing you, we don't want you to put yourself at unnecessary risk.
Prior to arrival
- We have had to significantly reduce the number of seats available inside the church building. We are therefore asking all those who wish to attend a service to reserve their seat in advance. Our ‘Reserve your Seat’ Booking Form will close at midnight on the Thursday before the Sunday service. Due to the high level of demand, if you arrive after the service starts, we reserve the right to give your seat to a visitor.
- If you have not reserved a seat, you can turn up on the day, but we can’t guarantee you admission. You will need to register your details at the door, and we’ll only be able to admit you if we have capacity in the building.
- The chairs have been spaced out to ensure a 2m distance is maintained between households/bubbles - please do not move them.
- Some of our services are now being live streamed. The 'Reserve your Seat' Booking Form will clearly indicate if a service is live streamed.
- When you arrive please join the 2m social distanced queue system at the West Door and follow the instructions of the stewards for when to enter the building. This is to allow us to stagger arrivals in the tight lobby space. Stewards will open the doors and start registration 15 minutes before the service starts.
- Please wash your hands for at least 20 seconds on arrival, or use the hand sanitiser provided by the door.
- Face coverings are now mandatory for all those attending church (in line with Government guidance from 8 August) unless you are exempt. Children under the age of 11 are not required to wear a face covering.
- Please remember to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, put used tissues in the bin straight away and then thoroughly wash your hands.
- If the service is being live streamed, the stewards will let you know and direct you to the non-video area of the church if you don't wish to be visible in the live stream. The service leader will also remind you about the live stream and give you an opportunity to move before the service starts.
During the service
- Musical worship will still be a part of the service, but at present members of the congregation are not permitted to sing. We will encourage you to stand if you would like to and engage with the words and music as you feel led.
- The service leader will guide you as normal from the stage, with all words on screens. Please note there will not be bibles available in the chairs.
- When Holy Communion is celebrated, the priest will ask all those wishing to take part to stand in their places. The administrants (having used hand gel and wearing a mask) will then come to each individual with a wafer (gluten free wafers will be available on request). Currently restrictions mean that the cup will not be shared and only the priest will take the wine.
- The toilets will be open and will be cleaned (along with the rest of the building) thoroughly after each service. Please note that only one person will be allowed in each set of toilets at a time and a queue may be necessary.
- Unfortunately, we are unable to offer hospitality at this time and so the hospitality area has been cordoned off.
- Children are welcome to attend with their parents in the main church but will need to remain seated to ensure social distancing. Please bring your own toys and colouring for young children as we are unable to provide these at present.
- Unfortunately, we are unable to offer prayer ministry in the services due to social distancing. However, if you would like to talk with someone please make yourself known to the service leader after the service who can contact you over the telephone later to offer prayer or pastoral support. In the meantime, please remember you can email any prayer requests to email@example.com
- Our normal service collection will not take place instead we ask those who would like to give to do so online by clicking here https://highfield.church/servicecollections
- In the event of a fire evacuation, you should follow the normal process of leaving the building and congregating at the normal assembly area (Glebe Court). Where possible, please follow the 2m social distancing guidance, but it is appreciated that this will not always be possible. The potential of fire and imminent threat to life is seen to be a higher risk than the potential spread of COVID-19 and so should therefore take priority.
- If you become unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 whilst in the building, you should inform a warden and go home immediately, and follow the government’s stay at home guidance.
After the service
- The service leader will prompt you how to leave safely row by row, so we can avoid crowding as we exit.
- Should you test positive for Covid-19 after the event please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can take the necessary steps to deep clean the building. Test and trace will contact you and us to inform us of any further action needed. For more information please read https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/
While we realise that it will take time for us all to get used to the new way of attending church, we are really grateful for the opportunity to gather again for a worship service and are thankful for your assistance in making it safe for everyone who can attend.