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Attending places of worship post restrictions

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MattA7

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Does anyone on these forums intended to start going back to church, mosque, siinagog, etc after the restrictions are abolished. I haven’t since March 2020 but hope to start attending soon especially as I was probably about the only social interaction I really had.

Anyone else in a similar situation?
 
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davews

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Churches have been able to have services since last December, OK with social distancing, masks and no singing etc. Churches vary as to whether they have opened, ours (Methodist) have had roughly monthly services (and Zoom other weeks) but now are having more. After the 19th we plan to go back to normal services. Our service today was almost normal, little social distancing, intermittent masks, fairly quiet singing. Some of our members are still covid shy and staying at home, others raring to go again.
 

etr221

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My church resumed 'in person' services, to fairly normal schedule, a couple of months ago, simultaneously live streamed, and has slowly been relaxing Covid restrictions - next week the congregation can sing quietly behind their masks. Vicar and the rest of church leadership being distinctly cautious - compared to other places I go it's very Covid secure, taking it seriously. (And people with Covid on the prayer list encourage this)
 

30907

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Because my wife is CEV we have been following Govt advice and didnt return to the church building until shielding officially ended - in fact we waited until we had had both jabs.
We currently attend a midweek "said" service only; this is because Sunday services have a choir and the level of aerosols must be significantly higher, and I think that will continue while case levels are 10x what they were in May and still rising.

Thankfully the main services were livestreamed from about week 3. At least at home we could sing along! It will be good to sing with others again....

Churches I know of are being cautious, knowing that older attenders are relatively more vulnerable even after 2 jabs, and that someone in the CEV category (1 adult in 15) might well turn up unannounced. Not to mention that many clergy (etc) and other "key" people are CEV anyway...

My daughter (a GP) has asked her church council to keep one of the services as covid-secure - social distancing etc (not a problem in a large building).
 

John Webb

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My local Anglican (CofE) church has been running services each Sunday since Easter. The main service has social distancing, mask wearing and no singing - instead we are listening to vocal versions of hymns and songs, except for the last one when we go outside and sing well-spaced out. (Physically, that is!) We're hoping to be back to normal by the end of the month; it will be a case of 'wait and see' what we can do.
 

MattA7

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The mosque I usually attend has been running with social distancing and limited numbers however as I live quite far I wasn’t wanting to attend when they could be full due to the limited capacity (they were often overcrowded pre pandemic) however hopefully once restrictions are abolished on August 9th (I live in Scotland) I will be able to start attending.
 

gingerheid

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If they go back to normal I won't go back, but if they keep it a bit sensible I probably will.
 

Peter Mugridge

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My wife is refusing to go back until it feels like a normal, proper, church again.

I never went anyway.
 

The Ham

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The church I attend has been online only (Zoom and Facebook) until about May, when the children's work started up in person (prior to that it had been online too).

Then about 4 weeks ago we were all able to attend in person (although still allowing people to join via Zoom and Facebook if they wish to). To attend we had to book in advance and were allocated seats with social distancing in place and masks being required.

Going forwards not entirely sure what the rules will be (in part due to awaiting government confirmation Monday evening). However in time online will likely be scaled back to being the sermon only, rather than the full service.

Interestingly we've actually seen people join our church whilst during doing online church.
 

island

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I have been attending my local Catholic church on weekends whenever it has been open.

The priest is quite sensible about things (despite being aged 77) and has opened up to the maximum of his ability. Singing (choir only from a sectioned off area) resumed at Easter weekend, the taping off of every other row was dropped a month ago, and he has signalled that he will consider face coverings a matter of personal choice after this weekend.

The shared chalice might never come back, but that isn’t necessarily any harm.
 

duncanp

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Friday's Alex Cartoon The Telegraph is an amusing comment on all the petty restrictions associated with weddings, and is a pun on the difference between Bans and Banns.

Regarding the shared chalice, it should be possible to replace this with small individual vessels into which the wine is poured.

https://charlesfarris.co.uk/catalog/non-conformist-communion gives some examples of what is possible, and I think the mainstream churches (CofE and Roman Catholic) should show some flexibility in changing their rules to adapt to the post COVID world.

Or if everyone bought an egg cup from home, they could have their own vessel from which to drink the wine, without any risk of cross contamination.


Alex Cartoon - July 9th 2021.jpg
 

Simon11

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Does anyone on these forums intended to start going back to church, mosque, siinagog, etc after the restrictions are abolished. I haven’t since March 2020 but hope to start attending soon especially as I was probably about the only social interaction I really had.

Anyone else in a similar situation?
Ive been to a few services now.

It is so daft that you still cant sing when there while singing is no problem when watching the footy!
 

ChrisC

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Ive been to a few services now.

It is so daft that you still cant sing when there while singing is no problem when watching the footy!
The restrictions that have been in place for places of worship have applied to all places of worship and takes no account for different faiths and local circumstances. Difficult, but probably the most fair way of doing things. However, there is a very big difference between a large lively evangelical church or a large mosque which can be full with hundreds of worshippers, and a village church which may only have dozen or so people attending. Yesterday, I went to my local village church which is a large building that could seat about 300 but there were only about 20 people there, all socially distanced, wearing masks, and strictly no singing. It did seem a bit of a farce when a few hours later people would be crowding together to watch the football and singing would be no problem. The elderly vicar taking the service suggested that perhaps he should kick a football around the altar then we would all be able to sing!
 

duncanp

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The restrictions that have been in place for places of worship have applied to all places of worship and takes no account for different faiths and local circumstances. Difficult, but probably the most fair way of doing things. However, there is a very big difference between a large lively evangelical church or a large mosque which can be full with hundreds of worshippers, and a village church which may only have dozen or so people attending. Yesterday, I went to my local village church which is a large building that could seat about 300 but there were only about 20 people there, all socially distanced, wearing masks, and strictly no singing. It did seem a bit of a farce when a few hours later people would be crowding together to watch the football and singing would be no problem. The elderly vicar taking the service suggested that perhaps he should kick a football around the altar then we would all be able to sing!

At my church, we were very naughty in that we sang God Save The Queen on the Sunday after the Duke of Edinburgh died. (April 11th)

That was three months ago, and no-one has dropped dead from COVID-19.

I also know of other churches that have scheduled funerals to coincide with the times of public services, which means that the number of people attending could exceed the maximum number of 30.

Hopefully the rules regarding places of worship will be clarified in the announcement later today, and life can return to something resembling normal.
 

duncanp

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Were churches that busy before Covid that you could not anti socially distance anyway?

In many of the older Victorian churches, built in the days when church attendances were much greater, it is possible to practice (anti) social distancing without having to turn people away.

In smaller, more modern church buildings built since the Second World War, there is more of an issue, and some have had to institute booking systems.
 

MattA7

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Looks like there will be no legal restrictions in places of worship after 19th July for those fortunate enough to live in England.
 

MikeWM

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Looks like there will be no legal restrictions in places of worship after 19th July for those fortunate enough to live in England.

Though given the various mainstream religions seem to have been amongst the worst offenders for supporting and gold-plating restrictions, so we'll have to see how much 'advice' they continue to follow after the 19th. I fear a lot.

While I was raised Catholic, I currently have no faith - but I still take some comfort from going into a Church and sitting quietly for a while. I'm hoping to be able to do so again at some point, but I won't while over-the-top nonsense remains in place.
 

initiation

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Though given the various mainstream religions seem to have been amongst the worst offenders for supporting and gold-plating restrictions, so we'll have to see how much 'advice' they continue to follow after the 19th. I fear a lot.

While I was raised Catholic, I currently have no faith - but I still take some comfort from going into a Church and sitting quietly for a while. I'm hoping to be able to do so again at some point, but I won't while over-the-top nonsense remains in place.
Yes. A reminder that the Church of England closed all churches before they were required to by law and made no effort to push for places of worship to be reopened. The Archbish of Canterbury celebrated Easter in his kitchen rather than streaming it from a church or chapel.
 

deltic

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Been going to my Catholic church ever since they re-opened after the first lockdown. Numbers have been slowly creeping up and sometimes been pushing the social distance limit a bit. Interesting that its generally the older people who attend and the families who have not returned as much. A few people have got huffy and walked out when told they had to move as to close to other people. The question is whether the kiss of peace (handshake will ever come back). Not sure why they dont follow the Indian practice of hands together and bowing which was common in Dubai.
 

30907

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In many of the older Victorian churches, built in the days when church attendances were much greater, it is possible to practice (anti) social distancing without having to turn people away.

In smaller, more modern church buildings built since the Second World War, there is more of an issue, and some have had to institute booking systems.
Not to mention older (mediaeval) churches.

Covid secure capacity is typically about 25% which impacts a lot of churches even though many older worshippers have had to stay away.

Yes. A reminder that the Church of England closed all churches before they were required to by law and made no effort to push for places of worship to be reopened.
The first is true, the second isn't. It just didn't make the headlines/ trend on SM. :)
The Archbish of Canterbury celebrated Easter in his kitchen rather than streaming it from a church or chapel.
Precisely because churches were closed.
BTW I think we called it wrong.

While I was raised Catholic, I currently have no faith - but I still take some comfort from going into a Church and sitting quietly for a while. I'm hoping to be able to do so again at some point, but I won't while over-the-top nonsense remains in place.
Meaning track and trace? Can't think what else affects churches during the week
 
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initiation

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It just didn't make the headlines/ trend on SM. :)
Clearly not campaigning enough then. I was aware of some letters signed last year but there didn't seem to be much coming from the top...

Precisely because churches were closed.
Churches are workplaces for clergy. Even at the very start of restrictions last March/April, there was an exemption for them to hold private services in church that were then streamed on the Web. Instead, it took months for this to happen.

It was a decision by the CoE to go beyond what was required in law. Does not bode well for releasing restrictions after the 19th.
 

The Ham

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Clearly not campaigning enough then. I was aware of some letters signed last year but there didn't seem to be much coming from the top...


Churches are workplaces for clergy. Even at the very start of restrictions last March/April, there was an exemption for them to hold private services in church that were then streamed on the Web. Instead, it took months for this to happen.

It was a decision by the CoE to go beyond what was required in law. Does not bode well for releasing restrictions after the 19th.

It depends on the church, whilst there were some which closed and had no online presence at all. There were others where they had an online presence from week one.

In the car of the church I attended (not CofE) there was a daily, other than Saturday, meeting which could be joined. Likewise the church my parents attend (CofE) has a similar online presence. Both didn't have any online presence beforehand, other than audio of the sermon on their website. That quickly changed to Zoom meetings with online video recordings and then in time included livestreaming on Facebook.

I also know if at least two friends who are CofE vicars who also went to at least weekly online video meetings (and certainly more).

For the church I attend (which typically had 60 people including kids pre lockdown, so isn't overly large) songs started as composite videos where people had recorded in their own homes and as restrictions eased moved to recorded weekly at the church building before being live from the building.

Sermons were a mixture of pre recorded videos or live from people's homes, again moving to being live from the church building as restrictions eased.

We are fortunate that we have people who are tech savvy, including being able to find a local phone number for those without a computer to be able to join to the Zoom meetings from a telephone call (clearly they can't see what's going on).

I suspect that those churches who haven't gone online are those which are going to struggle with numbers as their members looked elsewhere for content.

As I've said before the church I attend has seen people join during lockdown.
 

2192

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Our church holds 28 with social distancing, (90 without) so at the start of lockdown we replaced the comfy cushioned chairs with old plastic stackers that would clean easily, two metres apart, and they were used for a funeral, and are still in place. Midweek activities all stopped (eg Pensioners lunch, old folks keep fit, coffee groups, Chinese Church). Sunday service, now mornings only, had 11 last week (plus a cat). For communion we used bread cut into cubes (about 1cm), which the steward brought round and dropped one into each hand with sugar tongs (anyone old enough to remember those?). The wine was in tiny glasses and brought round and people each took one from the tray themselves. A third steward collected the empties. No singing, sadly. Attendance less than pre-covid still. The only midweek activity to resume so far is old folks keep fit, and they observe social distancing, and are careful about ventilation. A lot of folk moved their giving to monthly standing order instead of cash in the plate, and are continuing that way.

Zoom services got going during lock down, and some people came who wouldn't have come to normal services, so some churches are continuing with face-to-face-plus-zoom all in one.
 

MikeWM

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Meaning track and trace? Can't think what else affects churches during the week

Primarily yes (though fussiness about masks, sanitiser, etc. doesn't help either).

Given the history of religion and issues with state suppression and persecution of people of specific religions, any place of worship that demands you leave your name and address to even enter - whether the state requires it or not - is showing wilful ignorance of that history, in my opinion, and I cannot support it (not even, in this case, by leaving false details).
 

Strat-tastic

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At my church we have three songs to sing outside at the start of the service. It works well.
I'm part of the band and we set up at 10 am and bless the neighborhood 8-) :lol:
 

35B

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We’ve been open since we were allowed to, with a limited choir singing the hymns in the Eucharist and singing choral Eucharist. Seating is well spaced and live streamed, and our clergy have been determined to ensure worship continues to the fullest extent practicable. For the last few weeks, the final hymn has been sung outside the west door of the church by all, and we’ve had a couple of outdoor services too.
Primarily yes (though fussiness about masks, sanitiser, etc. doesn't help either).

Given the history of religion and issues with state suppression and persecution of people of specific religions, any place of worship that demands you leave your name and address to even enter - whether the state requires it or not - is showing wilful ignorance of that history, in my opinion, and I cannot support it (not even, in this case, by leaving false details).
It’s worth bearing in mind that the CofE is an established church and therefore linked to the state. I can only speak for the church I attend (and am on the PCC of, so legally liable for the decisions of), and say that the data is only kept for the 2 week track and trace period, then shredded unless required for contact tracing.
 

MikeWM

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It’s worth bearing in mind that the CofE is an established church and therefore linked to the state.

Though that hasn't stopped it being critical of the government when it thinks it is necessary to do so. 'Faith In The City' being the obvious example but far from the only one. The lack of scrutiny or criticism of the government in this case of Covid restrictions on worship has not been reassuring.

I can only speak for the church I attend (and am on the PCC of, so legally liable for the decisions of), and say that the data is only kept for the 2 week track and trace period, then shredded unless required for contact tracing.

I am sure this is true, but it doesn't impact my basic point - that for the government to require people to give personal identifying details to enter a place of worship is deeply troubling given what has happened throughout history between faith and state, and I believe that religious organisations should have been much more vocal in opposing such policies.
 

35B

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Though that hasn't stopped it being critical of the government when it thinks it is necessary to do so. 'Faith In The City' being the obvious example but far from the only one. The lack of scrutiny or criticism of the government in this case of Covid restrictions on worship has not been reassuring.

I am sure this is true, but it doesn't impact my basic point - that for the government to require people to give personal identifying details to enter a place of worship is deeply troubling given what has happened throughout history between faith and state, and I believe that religious organisations should have been much more vocal in opposing such policies.
There's much to be disappointed in the Archbishops' response last spring, but the CofE is about more than Welby and Cottrell.

As for track and trace, I don't believe that the church is above the law. If track and trace is required for visiting some places open to the general public, I don't see why places of worship should have been exempt. More generally, the fact that some regimes have at some times chosen to persecute followers of certain beliefs doesn't mean that we should assume that the state is always and everywhere to be regarded as a threat to those attending places of worship. We're well past the days of priest holes, thank goodness.
 
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