Dear All

With the recent developments over lockdown, and permissions being given by the Welsh Government for churches to open for private prayer and services, I just wanted to update you with where we are in The Grosmont Group of churches.

The permissions from Welsh Government and the Church in Wales come with stringent guidelines, and in truth the challenges are a step too far for most of our churches at present. However, we are working hard to open iGrosmont, initially for private prayer, and at a later date for services as the logistics for this are far more complicated.

The guidelines require a complete clean and sanitisation of the church building, removal of all books, furnishings, children’s equipment and anything else of that nature, as it would be impossible to ensure that they were kept Covid free. We need to work out seating so that there is a distance of 2 metres in all directions between each area,
ensuring users are properly protected. We will be stewarding both entrance and exit for the church, again to ensure users safety, and we will be providing hand sanitiser, masks and gloves for all. All of this along with technical information needs to be risk assessed and passed by the Diocese before we can be up and running.

Isn’t all this a bit excessive I hear some say! Well, maybe. However, although we have been reasonably safe in our village the reality is our wider communities have not been so blessed, and we are part of that wider community. It would be impossible for legislation to be made individually, and we take your health and well-being very seriously. We may well have visitors to the village who wish to pray in the church who have been exposed to the virus. It would be a terrible circumstance if someone from the village contracted Covid because we were less than vigilant with our precautions!

So, here is the good news. We have very generously been offered a sanitising treatment by a local company, and once this has all been passed and implemented we aim to open for private prayer on Wednesday 2nd September at 10am for an hour and 7pm for an hour. These sessions will be stewarded, and obviously we will remain open for as long as there is a need at each session. This will continue weekly for the foreseeable future. Starting next Sunday, 9 August at 10am, we will be having an outdoor service of Morning Prayer. With restrictions for outdoor gatherings having been lifted we can accommodate as many of you as would wish to come. We will gather outside of the West Door of the Nave. You will be provided with your own personal service sheet. We ask those of you that are able to bring your own chairs, but we will also have some sanitised chairs available for use.

These services will continue on Sundays where the weather is fine. This practice is already happening at St Mary’s in Llanfair, and possibly at St Bridget’s in Skenfrith in the not too distant future.

Although we have all missed coming together to worship please be assured that our ‘being Church’ has very much continued throughout the lockdown through prayer, community service and the good neighbourliness and love that is so evident in our villages and local communities.

Please support us in our ventures, be patient when things take a little longer than you would like, and know that we are doing our best to keep you safe throughout these unprecedented times.
Revd Gaynor

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