It is with great sadness that I inform you that the churches in the Dassett Magna Group of Parishes will remain closed. They are at Burton Dassett, Farnborough, Fenny Compton, Gaydon and Northend. We have been looking forward to being able to re-opening our church buildings for worship and prayer. The Government has now advised that places of worship are permitted to open for individual prayer. This move recognises the spiritual and mental health benefits for people of being able to pray in a place of worship, and the significant growth in the numbers of people in our society that have been turning to prayer and attending online and digital services during this unsettling time.
Although the opening of our churches is now permitted, this is subject to a host of conditions being met. These include thorough cleaning of shared spaces, hand cleansing at entry and exit, social distancing and asking those coming to pray to bring their own items such as prayer books or bibles instead of using the ones in the church. Under government guidance someone from the church is not required to be present when the church building is open for private prayer. However, this would prevent us from identifying the church furniture, furnishings and structure touched by those visiting. Therefore whist attending for private prayer people may touch items (furniture etc.) that others have touched before them without it being cleaned in between. Thus possibly passing on the COVID19. We would therefore need a rota of willing helpers to supervise and clean the church when open. However, the Government guidance still advises those over 70 and those in the vulnerable health groups to minimise contact outside the home. It is strongly advise that people in those groups are not used to ‘staff’ church buildings as they open.
Whilst this is really hard for those over 70 who are fit and healthy we do need to abide by government guidance as age is still a major risk factor with this disease. And since our congregation is predominantly made up of this age group we are unable to open the church for private prayer. We are aware that many members of the community are missing the usual free access to the church building, and we are as keen as you are to have the door open again, but our first priority has to be safety. We will continue to review the guidelines so that when we are able to open again there will be measures in place to safeguard us all. In the meantime we continue to meet and worship together at our twice daily DIGITAL CHURCH. We have been greatly encouraged by the large numbers of people who have been joining our various online services and look forward to being able to welcome you all back to worship together in the church building when it is properly safe to do so.
If you would like to ask any further questions please contact Rev’d Nicki Chatterton email: firstname.lastname@example.org mobile: 07769871237