Reopening the Church building – a progress report

You’ll notice the title – “Reopening the Church Building” – not “Reopening the Church”. The church has been open throughout the lockdown – it’s just been a very different church, meeting in homes all over Knaphill and surrounding area, sharing prayers, sung worship and teaching! We therefore Thank God for the wonders of modern technology that has allowed us to continue gather together – albeit online. 

But the building is an important part of the church. It’s what provides focus for some people, it’s a physical place you can go to when you need it; and let’s be honest – the technology might be good, but nothing beats meeting up with people face to face. And not everybody wants or is able to use tech. 

So we set out on a strategy to get the building open each Sunday morning to allow those without access to technology or visitors seeking God to come in and view the service broadcast into the church and displayed on the big screen. We’re aiming to cover three main objectives: 

  • keeping everybody safe
  • getting the doors open as soon as sensible,
  • and continuing to offer inclusive worship. 

We will therefore continue to offer our Sunday Service on Zoom and now join the church building into the online session. You’ll be able to see and hear what’s going on, but initially in-church participation will have to be minimal due to the restrictions on seating, singing, and contact. Numbers will be limited by the small size of the building; face masks will need to be worn, hands washed, etc, but we will be open, and we hope we can include more people in our worship. We’ll have a very small team present to welcome you and ensure your safety, but those leading the service will remain in their homes for now. 

Our next step, getting members and the minister back in the church is still some time away, until then we remain worshiping online with Zoom. 

The Deacons (as trustees) therefore met earlier this week to consider preparedness – it turned out to be a marathon session, the longest meeting I can recall. We concluded that excellent progress has been made, sourcing cleaning materials and PPE, identifying seating layouts, and documenting procedures and policies to assure safety, but in preparing the legally required risk assessment we identified some critical activities that require slightly more time than we had originally anticipated. 

It is therefore with some regret that we have concluded we are not ready this week, 26th July but expect to be ready one week later on Sunday 2nd August. We will use Sunday 26th to allow a dry run of the processes and technology but will not be “opening the doors”.

We fully expect to complete all the arrangements next week and will publish our policies and guidance notes as soon as they are ready, to give maximum time for all to decide what is best for them.

Due to social distancing requirements we can support only a few households before we will be full. We therefore ask any members who need to attend to discuss in advance with the deacons so that we have visibility of capacity, as it will be necessary to “close the doors” once we are full and we don’t want to exclude a visitor (or indeed member) who had hoped to attend.

So if you are able to attend remotely, please continue to do so as you will see the same service; please contact us for the codes and instructions if you would like to join us on Zoom. 

And since safety remains our top priority – those of you who are shielding or from a high risk group are still advised to stay home and participate remotely; please contact us and we will do our best to help you with the technology so that you can join us! 

Our Theme for 2020

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be Courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14