The emphasis in the Diocese of Christchurch Guidelines is on simplicity of gathering to bring people together as safely as possible and to begin to build confidence around the mechanisms to do so.
First of all, after this Sunday 12 September and approval of submitted management plans, worship services and other activities may resume, but please do not put pressure on yourselves to do so.
There is much to do to prepare to gather with these new requirements. It will be
important that before you do so, you have confidence that you are able to meet all those requirements, and that you also have the confidence of your worshipping community to come and participate. I suggest that you work carefully with the governing body and other leaders in your ministry unit in this preparation and get underway only when you are ready. The maximum gathering number has been set at 50 people. You may remember that when we shifted to Level 2 last year, we asked you to calculate a ‘safe gathering number.’ This is the number of people that can safely gather in the building allowing for physical distancing (now 2 metres) and thus for a smaller building it may be fewer than 50 people. Please undertake that exercise again as part of your management plan. Please also remember that the management plan is an exercise in planning for services so that we do not have to turn the “51st” person away
Please do your best to maintain good ventilation in the buildings both during a service and afterwards.
Until further notice, please do not have refreshments after the service as this avoids all the complexities around serving and seating and further mingling people together. The general advice is to avoid activities that will involve close contact with others and thus reduce physical distancing.
My advice would be that over the first couple of Sundays we gather people for a Liturgy of the Word – Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, thus keeping the service simple and short, and minimising unnecessary contact. If we begin with the principle of simplicity, building confidence, monitoring wider developments, and building on that as we go then it is easier to add on more over time than it is to reduce what is offered.