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November 2020 Volunteering Update

29th November 2020
Posted By:

Ann Hutchinson, Volunteer Co-ordinator, St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze, reports:

Having waited for the most recent announcements regarding Christmas ‘bubbles’ and new tiers at the end of the current lockdown information about how this can be applied is only starting to come in as we speak and will probably not be fully clear for another few days.

However, following a meeting this morning what we would envisage (which could change) is that the church will reopen for the Sunday service from 6th December and if stewarding numbers allow, opening for private prayer and reflection will continue on Sunday afternoons through December, and hopefully January too.  Due to darker evenings this will change from 2.00 – 4.00 pm to 2.00 – 3.30 pm during these two months, December and January.

Zoom ‘Kingdom Come’ prayer will continue for the foreseeable future.
Bellringing will still not be allowed while we are in Tier 2.

If you can volunteer for stewarding the ‘Private prayer and reflection’ afternoons during December and January please email Ann or Teresa saying which dates you would be available.

There will be a further Tier review from the Government by 16th December which may allow us to consider opening for the 850th anniversary of Thomas Beckett’s murder on 28th December.  If we are in Tier 1 then opening as per the Heritage weekends in September should be possible.  If we’re still in Tier 2, then more of a reflection / private prayer or walk through the church quietly is likely to be recommended.  We may also be able to produce a Thomas Beckett information leaflet which visitors could collect in the church as long as they take it away with them.

We’re also considering opening again in this way on New Year’s Day as there is quite a bit of ‘footfall’ in the Park.  However we can’t make any decision until we know what Tier we will be in at that time.  Tier 3 will mean closure.   There’s also the risk to consider on 28th Dec and 1st Jan that it will be just after the planned Christmas ‘bubbles’ meeting and there may be a higher risk of Covid spreading as a result of that, so any opening / stewarding will have to take account of this risk.

We look forward to better times ahead and hopefully if vaccines are approved and are able to be distributed in a timely fashion then late Spring looks hopeful for things regaining a more ‘normal’ function.  We would then hope to set regular opening times for the church, both in terms of services, weddings, funerals, baptisms, historic tours and a range of other events.

To this end we are working on setting up online / Zoom / possibly face-to-face training sessions for stewarding, safeguarding and also conservation cleaning.  This means we will be good to go when it is safe to do so.  I am sure we all look forward to this.