We have lived through what is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event with the Covid pandemic. Over the past six months, our Anglican churches have stopped meeting in person. The global pandemic, government regulations, and a desire to serve each other and society have kept us from gathering. Instead, we’ve held “services” online, met “virtually,” and used technology to connect.
And now we are about to resume meeting. But realise that these new services will feel strange. We will have to continue to endure restrictions and protocols that are awkward, inconvenient, and frustrating. Then, no matter how safe we make it, we remain at risk because the Covid pandemic is not yet over.
But the good news is that we will be opening our churches for divine services from Sunday, 4th October. At St John’s we will be having the 7.30am and 9.30am services whilst at Holy Trinity Thornhill the 9.30am service. On Wednesday, in Port Elizabeth, we will be having our mid-week Eucharist at 9.30am.
There will be no Sunday evening or Thursday morning service in this first phase (but we will deliberate on this after the first month).
It’s important for us to gather as the household of God as we’re all spiritual siblings — or God’s “household” so to speak (1 Tim 3:15). With our different ages and genders, Paul even calls us fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters (1 Tim 5:1–2). And as human beings, we’re designed to see and hear and taste and touch and feel our way through the physical world God has made. Being social is in our DNA. So we look forward to meeting again.
So, what will be different as per the Bishop’s request:
1. All protocols including the wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitising of the premises and the parishioners attending the services remain in place. There will be an online register as well as a hard copy for those who can’t access the digital platforms to be completed.
2. Numbers attending each service, under level 1, is 50% of the capacity of the church, or 125 people per service at St John’s. That is about 50 people at Thornhill.
3. Communion will of one kind only (The Bread).
4. We will have musical accompaniment at the services but have been asked not to engage in corporate singing.
5. Services are limited to one hour in length.
Other matters to consider:
1. All access will be through the large double doors of the church (at the steps) and exit will be through the doors (at the ramp) on Church Road. Access to the hall for the pop-up shop will also be from Church Road.
2. Any collection will be placed in a receptacle near the door.
3. There will be no tea/coffee on offer for the foreseeable future.
4. Sunday School attendees will be directed around the back of the church to the Youth Centre.
5. Baptisms will be done outside of the normal church services.
6. Confirmation candidates will be contacted about the possibility of being confirmed this year.
7. Weddings are now possible but there is a restriction on numbers of people attending the service.
8. Funerals/Memorial Services are not to exceed 100 attendees. We are still of the opinion that the best place to hold these is in our Garden of Remembrance. Or the chapel at the Funeral Home which has proper sanitising protocols for the attendees.
We do remind you again that the pandemic is still with us and we need to Stay Safe. That includes not coming to church if you are feeling unwell, especially with cold or flu-like symptoms. Let us be conscious of the others who may be more vulnerable than we are during this pandemic.
Please don’t fret if you are unable to attend the services, because of an underlying medical condition, or you are in a vulnerable age demographic, we will continue doing a “blended” form of church, our Sermons and Holy Communion Service will continue to be posted online via our website in SoundCloud and YouTube formats.
Please contact the undersigned if you have any queries or are unclear about any of the content in this circular.
The Parish office is open from 9am to 1pm
everyday from Monday to Friday
if you need to drop off anything.
Allan Anderson (076 906 6334) and/or
Debbie Tarbuck (083 454 0479)
Mark Derry (082 473 2195)
via WhatsApp if necessary.
Mission Fete Pop-up Charity Shop
Support our fete pop up charity shop.
All money raised goes to those we support on the mission field.
Books, white elephant, plants and baked goods too.
Open: 9.30am to 1pm
Tuesdays to Fridays, until the end of October
(Closed 24 and 25 September)
Please wear your mask!
All funds go to Mission.
The autographed books will be on sale in the hall foyer at St John’s,
while the pop-up shop is running – Tuesday’s to Friday’s from 9:30am -1pm.
Sudan: Flooding continues in Sudan. Please continue to pray for those who have lost homes.
We would appreciate it if you could deposit your dedicated giving contributions via EFT into our bank acount:
Branch Code: 050417
A/C Name: St John the Baptist Church
A/C Number: 080281206
(Please make sure your number & reference is included)
Contact Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not have a pledge number.
FOR WEEKLY PRAYER POINTERS WHATSAPP HELENE – 084 818 8721
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.