COVID -19 Information
After six months of not being able to meet together for worship, at last this period of drought seems to be coming to an end. The Lord permitting, we shall be meeting for worship in our Meeting House in Needham Market as from the first Lord’s Day of next month, 4th October, at our usual times of 10.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.
Only the Lord knows whether or not this re-opening of our building for worship will be permanent or not. We shall have to see how the coronavirus pandemic develops and how the government chooses to handle it. But we can be very thankful for this respite and take comfort from the fact that our Heavenly Father has the heart of kings (and other rulers) in his hands, and we can trust him to do what is best for his glory.
It is necessary, however, to remind you of some points that need to be observed by those who wish to physically join with us in worship. I had a letter from a friend in Wales recently, in which he said he had received a letter from his Church Council, pending the re-starting of services in their building. He described the letter as “cold, unfriendly and unwelcoming and accompanied by two A4 sheets of rules and regulations to be observed by those attending.” It left him feeling that he could not worship the Lord under those constraints.
Well, I want to avoid anything like that reaction in our case, so I hope you will bear with me as I run through a few things that are needed not only to keep ourselves on the right side of the law, but, more importantly, so that we bear a good testimony to those round about us, and don’t spoil our witness by showing a lack of care for people’s physical as well as spiritual welfare. So here goes:
If you haven’t already done so, please let us know if you plan to attend. Please us the contact details in this website. This is to help with seating arrangements. Please put on a face covering before you enter the building.
Please don’t come if you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Our services will continue to be relayed on Zoom and YouTube, and CDs will still be available for those who would like them. We don’t want anyone to miss out more than is necessary.
The inside of the building and all door handles will be cleaned and sanitised in preparation for each service and afterwards. During the services, ventilation will be provided as much as is practicable given the changing weather and the problems of traffic noise.
The building will be open twenty minutes before service times, i.e. 10.10 a.m. for the morning service and 6.10 p.m. for the evening service.
Only the front door will be used for entering and leaving the building, except in an emergency, when the fire doors on either side of the building can be used.
When you enter the building you will be asked to use sanitiser on your hands. Contact details of people attending will be kept for 21 days for NHS Track and Trace purposes, after which they will be destroyed.
Please also keep coats and other personal belongings with you, rather than use the coat hooks in the entrance hall. However, in wet weather, I think it would be advisable to waive this request.
Please bring you own Bible with you, and hymn book too if you have one. This will be very helpful, as, although there are Bibles and hymn books available in the building, if used, they will need to be sanitised and put to one side for 72 hours after each service.
If you bring any children with you, please keep them close to you at all times while you are in the building.
The seating will be arranged with safe distancing measures in place. You will be shown to a seat when you arrive. At the end of a service, please remain in your seat until a steward asks you to leave the building. This is so that there won’t be a “traffic jam” in the aisle or the entrance hall.
Hard as it is for us not to have conversations with one another, especially after not having been together for half a year, please don’t gather in little groups in either the entrance or main halls.
Again, it is most regrettable that there will be no singing. However, Keith will play for the hymns and worshippers can follow the words with a hymn book. I can’t see any reason why people cannot sing under their breath if they wish, albeit behind a face-covering.
In order to reduce the risk of spreading infections, there will be no offering box available at the services. Please make your offerings by Standing Order, bank transfer or by sending/giving a cheque to the pastor (made out to Needham Market Evangelical Church). If none of these options is practicable for you, please speak to the pastor and he will do what he can to help.
Please don’t enter the back room or the kitchen more than is absolutely necessary. (You will, of course, have to pass through the kitchen to access the toilets). If you regularly need a drink of water, please bring your own bottle.
Please be assured that once the building is open again regularly, services will still be available on the internet or telephone, so that those who have been advised to isolate themselves, or who simply don’t feel ready to meet with others in a building won’t lose out.
It is obvious from the foregoing, that when we are open again, things will be different in some ways to what we are used to. I’m afraid it is inevitable that we shall feel uncomfortable about some things, like the lack of physical contact, the absence of congregational singing, and the wearing of masks. These things may seem like thorns in the flesh to us, but let’s remember the promise of the Saviour that his grace is sufficient to enable us to endure much greater trials than these.
I don’t want anybody to feel we are approaching this in a “cold, unfriendly and unwelcoming” manner, so if you have questions, comments and/or suggestions, they will be welcomed and considered.
As we take this step in the life of the local church, let us give thanks for the facilities provided by the telephone and internet, without which we would have been really isolated over the last six months. Let us pray that the continuing opportunities afforded to us by these means will be wisely used by us, and made fruitful under the mighty hand of God. Above all, let’s pray that the Lord will glorify himself as he works in and through us to make us as a city that is set on a hill and cannot be hidden.
Risk Assessment for Needham Market Evangelical Church
Please click here for a copy of our Risk Assessment for the reopening of the Church building.