RE: 2m2, Singing and Mask Wearing.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have received with great joy the news of easing of restrictions for churches. I write to update you on the implications for St Matts.
1/ Current Legislation:
- Our maximum capacity is calculated by the 2m2 rule
- This means our Nave (meeting area) has a maximum capacity of 160 people. Hall capacity is in addition to the Nave capacity. With physical distancing in place we have 120-130 seats in the Nave.
- Singing is allowed both indoors and outdoors.
- We are to physically distance where possible, sanitise, maintain contact tracing records and provide regular cleaning of common touch surfaces.
2/ Other significant factors:
- The department of health recommendation is to wear a mask for singing. They have chosen not to mandate the wearing of a mask.
- Singing softly significantly reduces projection of particles and therefore reduces risk of transmission.
- There is zero community transmission, significantly reducing risk.
- It appears that there will be no further easing of restrictions until a critical mass are inoculated. This is the Covid normal.
3/ So, what’s that means for us at St Matts?
a. Now’s the time to gather together again. Gathering together is an essential part of Christian community and growth (Hebrews 10:23-25). Your congregational pastor will speak further into how this can happen practically. I urge all who are able to join together physically, fellowshipping with each other on site each week. I understand not all will be able to gather. We will continue the option of broadcasting for those who are sick or otherwise unable to attend. It remains important not to attend if you have symptoms of Covid19 and haven’t received a recent negative result to a covid test.
b. We will be singing in services. We look forward to singing to each other and to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-20).
Wearing of masks in church services
c. The wearing of masks is recommended in a number of settings, including when we can’t physically distance, in shops, on public transport and when we sing.
- In each of these environments people make decisions based on various factors, including comorbidities, occupation, demographic and length of time.
- All seats at St Matts are set out for physical distancing.
- The Archbishop, as a general principle, recommends the wearing of masks for singing.
- Some will wear masks, others won’t. Some will sing loudly, others softly, others not at all. In our diversity let’s continue to show charity and love.
- If you have concerns about gathering together, reach out to your congregational pastor who is keen to work with you.
The Covid season has been long and wearisome. Yet, it appears that God in his goodness has answered prayers and is providing vaccines. There may be more turns before we become inoculated to Covid19. In that case, we will pivot as needed to maintain a safe environment for all who gather for worship.
Another season is upon us. A season of joy and peace. As we move through the season of advent and prepare for the birth of Christ we are reminded of the great love of God for us. Having just finished a series on Isaiah 40-55, it is perhaps apt to reflect on Isaiah 9:2-6:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
May we continue to live in the joy and peace that God has brought in Christ.
In Grace and Truth,
Click here to download a PDF of this letter
Click here to view the video of this announcement.