There is no shortage of advice from various sources to clergy and leaders about proposed return to public worship.
On 29 June 2020 churches can begin to reopen once again for public worship. From this date on, and when they are ready to do so, churches the length and breadth of Ireland will be looking forward to welcoming people back into their churches.
There are various sources available on line. The C of I Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough commends a video In which RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson guides church goers through the general steps being taken to ensure their safety and the safety of their fellow worshipers. It also supports clergy and select vestries in the measures they are putting in place locally as every church is different.
With these guidelines we can begin once again to worship together as a community of faith. See –
[ https://dublin.anglican.org/news/2020/06/23/welcome-back-new-video-looks ]
The Seven S’s of ‘Returning to Public Worship
One Catholic Bishop tweeted that the process was “The Seven S’s of ‘Returning to Public Worship” – 1. Signage 2. Seating 3. Stewarding 4. Sanitisation 5. Social Distancing 6. Support and 7. Symptoms
In an online letter to his parishioners C of I Bishop Ferran Glenfield of Kilmore writes –
“Plans are underway…. to make our church buildings safe places to gather for worship. Like shops and public buildings we will be observing: Social Distancing, Hand Hygiene and Coughing and Sneezing Hygiene.
“So what will it look like when we return to church? You should expect:
• Hand sanitisers at the entrance which we urge you to use.
• To be guided to an available pew.
• Face masks and gloves to be worn by people if they wish.
• To bring your own Prayer and Hymn Books.
• Service sheets to be available.
• In the absence of Sunday Clubs, due to social distancing advice, to bring something to occupy children who will be welcome to worship.
• Bread only to be distributed at Holy Communion for the time being.
• To place contributions to the ministry of the church in available baskets.
• The names of those attending church to be taken incase people need to contacted about Covid-19.
“We would ask you NOT to attend church services if:
• You feel generally unwell or are undergoing a course of medical treatment.
• You are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
• You have been diagnosed with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection in the previous fortnight.
• You are aware that you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection in the previous fortnight.
• You have been advised by a doctor to self-isolate.”
Bishop David McClay of Down & Dromore in a recorded video speaks “about things that we need to keep out as we move back into our buildings and aspects of Christian discipleship that we need to bring back in.”
He says, “As the Church, Christ’s body, we need to be reconnecting with Jesus Christ in a fresh and in a new way, Jesus, who is the Church’s head.”