We plan to hold a Holy Communion service at 9am. When you arrive you will find that some of the rows of chairs have been moved out. Cards will indicate where you may sit, though households may move them to sit together. Because the seating is between 1m and 2m apart it will be necessary for everyone to wear a mask. These are available in church. A one-way system will also be in place, so we will leave via the lounge.
There will, as you know, be no singing, but there will be recorded music.
When it comes to communion, we will not be able to use bread. The guidance is that we use wafers.
Only the president is permitted to drink wine. Sadly, we will not drink together from a common cup for some time to come.
Raymond will say the prayers of consecration over the bread which will be covered with a cloth until the time of distribution. The wafer will need to be dropped into the hand of each communicant so there is no physical contact. Each person is encouraged to sanitise their hands before receiving communion.
We will not kneel down at the rail. It is better not to touch it. Communion will therefore be received while standing. We will need to ask you to stretch out your hand to receive the wafer. Raymond will do the same.
No words can be spoken. So Raymond will not say, “The body of Christ keep you in eternal life” to each person. We will say that at the beginning of communion.
You may pick up a Bible and a booklet on the way in, and return them to a box in the lounge as you leave. They will be placed in storage for a week. We will not be able to share the Peace.
Experiences in Germany and the USA have shown that church services need to be handled with care. However we are confident that if these measures are observed then we can conduct communion services safely.
We will continue with our online communion services at 11am on the thirds Sunday of the month during the lockdown. What makes communion valid is the faith of the recipient. The Holy Spirit is not limited by technology or distance and will bring all the spiritual benefits of the service to us, whether we are in church or at home.