Coronavirus (COVID-19)

After months of being unable to meet together for worship, we are very pleased to be able to open our church building for Sunday worship services again. At the moment other services and events, including the Wednesday service, are still suspended.

* Funerals will still go ahead, with only close family members in attendance. A later celebration/memorial service will be offered.

Worship service in church

We’ve had to put in place several policies to keep everyone safe while in church. Please keep an eye on this page, as we’ll update it as the guidance changes.

Here’s a quick list of the main points you’ll need to be aware of:

  1. Face masks are mandatory. You must wear a face mask while in church. If you cannot bring one of your own we can supply you with one.
  2. Hand sanitising is mandatory. When entering the building you must sanitise your hands. There is a no-touch sanitising station near the door.
  3. Social distancing must be maintained. This means that several pews are blocked off, and you will be directed by a sidesperson to sit with your household. We’re sorry, your favourite pew probably won’t be where you sit!
  4. No pew Bibles will be provided. Please bring a Bible from home.
  5. The toilet is not available so please come prepared!
  6. Please donate online when you can, although there will be a collection plate at the back of church for cash/cheque donation.

You’ll also see other items have been removed from church, such as the alter rail and pew runners. If you’d like to bring a cushion to be more comfortable on a pew please feel free – you must, of course, take it home with you.

The fuller list of restrictions and policies is here:

  • No one with Covid symptoms must come to Church.
  • No one with a person in the household who has Covid symptoms must come to Church.
  • For persons over 70 years of age, or someone living in a household with a person over 70 years of age, a personal decision must be made about whether to come to Church. It should be noted that live-streaming will allow the Service to be watched from home; and that the Service will subsequently be posted on the “stpetersbirstall” facebook page.
  • The hand sanitiser provided must be used on entering the Church.
  • A face covering must be worn whilst in Church, (unless a medical exemption applies).
  • If a cushion is needed, you must bring your own.
  • Doors will be propped open; and should be left open, to reduce the need to touch.
  • A Duty Warden will guide you to your seat. Seating will observe the current guidelines on social distancing. Family Groups will be permitted to sit together.
  • No hugging or embracing is allowed other than in family groups.
  • No hymn books, Bibles, pew runners, hassocks or service sheets will be available. The words of the Service will appear on the IT screens.
  • There will be no singing. On-line or pre-recorded music will be used.
  • Since the Virus can be spread by contact, people are requested to touch surfaces as little as possible.
  • No entry is allowed to areas of the church which have been barricaded or taped off.
  • The toilet and washing facilities will not be available
  • No refreshments will be served.
  • Any waste generated must be taken home.
  • At the end of the service, you will be asked to leave the Church promptly. No lingering to meet and chat with friends will be allowed within the church building. You may use the grounds, but please observe current guidance on social distancing.
  • To assist the process of “Test and Trace”, you will be asked to fill in an Attendance Slip. These will be provided at each seat and one should be completed for each individual person or family group. You are asked to bring your own pen for this purpose. The information required is your name, contact phone number, your pew number and the date. The completed Slip should be left on your seat at the end of the Service. These will be provided to the Relevant Authority, if required, or if not required, will be disposed of in a secure manner after 21 days.

The situation changes rapidly, so we will try to keep the congregation updated with the latest news as we get it. If you would like to, you can read the full guidance from the Church of England.

Online services

We’re also broadcasting our services in church on Facebook, which you can access here. Those of you without a Facebook account – and with no desire to create one – just ignore or close any messages asking you to ‘sign up or log in’!

If you need support

Should you need any support, the following people can be contacted:

Other online resources

There are many other online resources that you can take advantage of, and as we learn of more we will add them here.

Batley Night Prayer

Rev Mark Umpleby is hosting a short nightly prayer time on Facebook at 9PM each evening. If you need some calming words to give you peace at the end of the day, Mark can be found here.

To view these videos live you may need a Facebook account (sorry, we’re not sure how it works) but you can view previous night prayers on the Facebook page of St Thomas’ Batley.

Robin Gamble’s Thoughts On Jesus

Robin Gamble, who has visited our church a few times, is making videos with some thoughts about Jesus at this time of isolation. You can find the videos here.

A Church Near You

This online directory of worldwide churches now has a list of many churches offering sreaming (online) services which you can see here.

Church of England digital resources

The main website of the Church of England maintains a list of digital resources – prayer apps, radio broadcasts, podcasts and streaming services. You can find this list on the special Coronavirus page here.