As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, we were still awaiting confirmation from the First Minister of the date for the opening of churches for private prayer. On Friday, June 19th, the First Minister confirmed that churches may open for private prayer from this coming week. But for practical reasons our target for opening the Church will be Monday, June 29th. In preparation for the re-opening, we are now beginning to draw up a rota of stewards and cleaners who will work to ensure that St. Teilo’s can be open for private prayer during certain periods of each week.
Paul Doherty, the Parish Health and Safety Officer, has completed a detailed review of St. Teilo’s and reported the outcomes to the Archdiocesan Buildings Manager, who will evaluate the parish response before confirming, or otherwise, the ability of the Church to open. In undertaking this review, Paul has used the National Guidance to develop a Parish Plan for the opening of St. Teilo’s. At this point, we need the help of a group of people to act as stewards and cleaners.
There will need to be three stewards in the Church for each hour of opening, with a hand-over, without hand contact, between one hour and the next.
Two stewards will ensure that hand sanitisation occurs at the entry and exit doors; these stewards will also ensure that people with cold or flu-like symptoms do not enter the Church. The third steward will ensure that social distancing is maintained by people in the Church and that people follow the directions signs in the Church. They will also notify the door stewards if the Church is full, within the confines of the reduced capacity.
Where possible, each group of stewards will have one member who is approved for safeguarding. In due course, all stewards will be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for safeguarding.
Mel Hopkins and Carole Burns have agreed to act as the co-ordinators for reopening. They will maintain a rota and ensure that stewards know when they will be on duty. They will also keep contact details of stewards and cleaners to ensure that there is sufficient coverage in case of illness or other delays.
A full clean of the Church will be necessary before and after each period of opening. More frequent cleaning will be needed for areas and surfaces, which people touch and may leave the virus. We need three or four volunteer cleaners for each day that the Church is to be open: one to ensure that the Church is clean up to an hour before opening, one to clean the Church after closing and one per hour to be available to clean benches that have been used between one person or family leaving and another arriving.
Initial Opening Times
Once it has been announced that churches can be open for private prayer, we intend to trial opening from 2pm to 4pm on Mondays and Fridays. While this is a limited period, it reflects the demands placed on volunteers to fulfil the roles I have highlighted above.
We are now seeking volunteers who can take on the roles of stewards and/or cleaners for the opening of the Church. Due to the nature of the virus and the impact it is having, volunteers must be above the age of 18 and below the age of 60. Volunteers must also not suffer from any of the higher risk co-morbidities of Covid-19 i.e. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hyperlipidaemia, rheumatoid arthritis, immuno-deficiency, cancer and anxiety/depression.
If you are of the appropriate age and do not have any of the co-morbidities, can stand unaided for up to an hour and would be willing to volunteer, please email Mel Hopkins –firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know
- Your name
- Contact details – phone and email
- Age range (18-30, 30-40, 40-50. 50-59)
- Confirmation that you do not have a raised risk of Covid-19 infection
- Whether you want to Steward or Clean or both
- Which hours and days, of those above, you are able to volunteer
- Whether you will be available: weekly; fortnightly; monthly
Please note that sanitiser and appropriate PPE will be available for stewards. Approved cleaning materials will be available for cleaners.
Some of these requirements may seem extreme but the Church has a duty of care to all involved in the re-opening process. Our insurance providers have set certain limits as to who can volunteer in the Church during these unusual times and we need to take their limits into consideration, as well as the Government’s guidelines, as we begin to re-open the Church.
Mass today will be at 10am online,
This weekend’s newsletter can be found here,