Chorlton Unitarians statement on church activities, 6 July 2020
Last week the government announced that Places of Worship may open from Saturday 4th July, subject to compliance with COVID-safe guidelines. However, we do not propose re-opening for Sunday services or other gatherings until we feel that would be a safe and pleasant way for our congregation to come together. Therefore we plan to continue offering our weekly online programme of gatherings on Zoom, including Sunday services, meditations, Heart and Soul gatherings and coffee mornings.
We are mindful that when we resume in-person gatherings, not everyone will be able to join us. We will therefore seek to ensure that our gatherings are accessible online as well as in-person in the future.
The government guidance continues to recommend that people who are over 70 and/or clinically vulnerable stay at home as much as possible, and to discourage the use of public transport except for essential journeys. We are mindful that, even with social distancing and hygiene measures, indoor meetings and use of public transport increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, and we would not want anyone to be under even subtle pressure to expose themselves to these risks in order to attend congregational gatherings.
We appreciate that many people are eager to return to in-person gatherings for worship, but under the current government guidance, any in-person meeting for worship would be a very different experience from what we are used to, with no singing, no refreshments, strict social distancing, and complications around safe provision of toilet facilities. Social distancing measures would mean that our numbers would be restricted to well below our average Sunday congregation.
We therefore think that the best option for our community is to continue with our online gatherings and close pastoral connections for the time being. We will keep this decision under regular review in the coming months as it becomes clearer how the rate of transmission and infection will be affected by the relaxation of the current guidance. We thank you for your patience and look forward to when we can meet safely in person.
Sheila Cass, Chairperson, and Laura Dobson, Lay Person in Charge