Next steps at the end of lockdown
As we approach the lifting of the most recent COVID-19 Lockdown, Great St Mary's is looking forward to a careful, phased re-opening of our church buildings, starting at the end of March, while also working to maintain our online worship and ministry. We are moving forward cautiously, encourage you to consider worshipping from home online whenever possible even after the church buildings reopen.
Please do remember that this pandemic is not yet over. Although things have been improving, we have a ways yet to go. The rules that are in place — such as "Hands, Face, Space" — are there for your safety as well as for the wellbeing of others. These rules still apply even if you have been vaccinated. We must continue to strive to protect the most vulnerable, to be a good example to others, and to continue to pray without ceasing.
Step One: Limited Opening for Public Worship
(From 29 March)
Beginning on Holy Monday (29 March, the day when the Government's "Stay at Home" order ends) Great St Mary's will open for public worship for some Holy Week & Easter services, and regularly for Sunday morning services (8am & 10.30am) and Wednesday 12.30pm Eucharist.
Social distancing, face coverings (masks), briefer services with neither hymns nor choral music, hand sanitizing stations, Test & Trace, communion in one kind, and other COVID-secure good practices all remain in place.
A full schedule of Holy Week services, both online and in-person, are available at greatstmarys.org/lent , and at the end of this email. Please also note that, as at Christmas, our Easter Sunday services will be ticketed. A few seats will be reserved for those unable to book seats online. Tickets (which are free) must be booked online at easter2021.eventbrite.co.uk
Other than for these worship services, the church, office, and Michaelhouse will remain closed.
No guidance is yet available about the resumption of choral and of congregational singing. For now, there will be no choral music or hymns at our in-person worship.
Step Two: Open for Limited Hours (from 13 April)
From 13 April, the church will be open on limited days for limited hours — including the shop and tower (subject to government guidance and risk assessment). Those limited days and hours will be posted on our website and social media.
Our Michaelhouse Café will resume outdoor table-service, at first for limited hours Thursday through Saturday (subject, of course both to government guidance and to a new risk assessment).
Step Three: Open for Extended Hours
(from 18 May)
By the 18 May, if not earlier and in accordance with government regulations and staffing availability, we hope to be fully open, six days a week.
Once we are able to be open six days a week, we will consider holding morning prayer as a live-streamed public service in church.
At Michaelhouse, no earlier than 17 May, indoor table service will resume and hours will be extended, and from 21 June "normal" counter service would commence if the government's 'road map' remains unchanged.