Re-opening church 

Introduction 


Under new government guidelines we are now permitted to meet together as a church subject to adopting “Covid secure” measures. We are planning to meet initially on Sunday 6th September at 5pm. For the time being we will keep our Sunday morning service all online.

As you may be aware, our gatherings will have many limitations such as wearing masks, no singing, keeping social distance, and no hanging around for conversations. 

So why bother?

These are some of the reasons we think it is worth meeting with these limitations:

Fellowship: there will be the opportunity to be physically present with our brothers and sisters as we queue, walk in, sit together, and then listen to God’s word together in the presence of each other.

Engagement: Many of us have found listening to bible teaching on TV hard. There are loads of distractions around us. The full experience of seeing each other and the service leaders and preacher rather than the 2-dimensional experience of watching on a screen can really help some of us engage better with the content.

Witness: A neighbour of the church joked with me the other day saying "isn't it about time you opened up!" What did his comment teach me? Neighbours notice what we do and don't do. As we make a priority of trying to meet together again it says something about its importance to our watching neighbours. We will also save places for members of the community who might choose to come along and hear the gospel.

Encouragement: Our meetings provide an anticipation of what we will experience when lockdown restrictions are fully lifted which is an encouragement to those in the meeting and to those who for the time being cannot meet but can at least witness the congregation meeting as they watch the livestream.

If you are not able to meet with us for health reasons or your own assessment of risk we completely understand and want to assure you that you are still very much part of the church family here.  We are still brothers and sisters in unity and the Lord Jesus Christ is present in his church. We will still be sharing fellowship in listening to his word, praying and praising him and encouraging one another. As the Queen said in her Coronavirus broadcast, ‘we will meet again’ – but not just yet. In the meantime, we don’t need to be in our building to meet with our King. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” (Acts 17v24). We will do our best to make sure the service is livestreamed so that we can all continue to feel included. We want everyone to feel safe, for no one to feel left out. We also want to witness to the wider community that they feel respected, safe and welcome.

 

Risk Reduction


We cannot eliminate all risks but in order to maximise the safety of the congregation and minimise the risk of COVID19 transmission as much as reasonably possible, Enfield Town Community Church has put in place the following changes and procedures. 
Overall there are three main pillars for keeping us all safe:

 

  • Minimising the possibility of those with the virus attending our service.
  • Minimising the possibility of anyone with the virus passing it on to anyone else in the service by social distancing.
  • Minimising the possibility of anyone with the virus passing it on to  anyone else in the service by strict hygiene and cleaning processes.


You can download our full 5PM Risk Assessment here.

We are grateful to Chris Nash and Steve Elise for putting this together.

 

Attending a Sunday 5pm gathering at ETCC


This is a description of the whole process from initial information and booking through to the exit from the building. 

Sadly, at present we can only allow people who have pre-booked to come to our meetings.

Before the meeting 

The building will be cleaned by cleaners prior to the service. 

Attendees will need to book online. We are initially limited to approx 60 places.
Details on how to book will be sent out on the Monday before each Sunday. If you want to book a place by phone please call 020 8363 3354.

The booking process will be on the basis that you agree to follow the guidelines and any instructions, in particular:

 

  1. If you, or anyone in your household, have any symptoms associated with Covid19:  a temperature (even if mild); a sore throat; a loss of taste; or a cough; please do not book.
  2. If you are vulnerable, or have been asked to socially isolate, or if you are in quarantine, please do not book.
  3. face mask should be worn at all times in the building.
  4. You may be subject to a non-contact test by a thermal infrared thermometer before entry.
  5. Your attendance will be recorded on entry for ‘track & trace’ purposes.
  6. Hand sanitiser, which is provided, must be used on entry to and exit of the building.
  7. All signage is to be followed to ensure social distancing is maintained.
  8. There is to be no physical contact between those of different households/bubbles; nor should groups from different households/bubbles form inside or outside the church building.
  9. We have withheld a few available places so that we can welcome guests not known to us previously. As numbers are strictly limited, when capacity is reached, entry to the building will not be permitted.
  10. Please let us know if you have mobility issues so that we can organise easy access for you.
  11. No refreshments will be available. This restriction includes water so please bring your own. 
  12. We can not distribute Bibles so please bring your own.
  13. Toilets will be available but are subject to strict controls, so it’s helpful if you can avoid using them, if at all possible.
  14. Children under the age of 11 must be accompanied at all times, including trips to the toilet. A child must not break away from its parent.
  15. Please do not leave any rubbish so please take it home with you.
  16. Please comply with government guidelines in your travel arrangements. Only travel in a car with members of your own household or bubble.
  17. Please aim to arrive between 4.30pm and 4.50pm to give us time to seat everyone safely and please remember to keep the 2-metre social distance whilst queuing. 


Download our full guidelines here.

Privacy

In order to fulfil our obligations we will need to keep a record of all attendees. These will be kept in accordance with our privacy policy. We will also be showing short burst video images of the congregation at various times during the service as part of our livestream and these will be shown on our website and social media channels.

On arrival

We encourage people to walk to the meeting where possible and to bring their own drinks if necessary as we are unable to provide refreshments at this time.

Attendees will queue on arrival on the side of the building marked "main enterance", keeping 2m from other households using markings on the path. A steward will be on the path to maintain social distancing. 

The steward on the drive will ask those attending to confirm that they are not displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or in a household of anyone who is. We will also take your temperature using a non-contact thermal infrared thermometer.

Immediately upon entering the building through the main front doors, attendees will clean their hands with antibacterial gel, provided in dispensers, and monitored by the steward on the door. 

Attendees will not be permitted further into the building without sanitising their hands in this way. 

A steward in the main hall will check off the register to record who has entered the building. 

All doors will be wedged open to minimise surfaces that need to be touched.

Congregating in multi-household groups will not be permitted. 

With the exception of needing the toilet or other emergencies there will be a one way system in operation. Normal Fire and evacuation procedures will apply in the event of an emergency including the use of all available exits

No objects such as books, Bibles, songs words or other papers will be handed out.

Attendees will enter the main hall and be asked to sit, filling the seats up starting at the front row and will sit within their own households and will maintain a distance of at least 2m from all other households at all times. Chairs will be in rows, with a 2m distance between each row, and attendees not sitting closer than 1m+ to attendees next to them from another household. (2 chairs gap) 

Posters will be on display throughout the building to remind attendees to keep 2m distance between households and to remind them of the specific hygiene practises. 

During the service

There will be a 3m gap between the speakers and the first row of chairs. Each speaker will use separate audio equipment.  The service, where possible, will be kept to a maximum of 60 minutes. 

Attendees with young children in their household will be asked to keep their children under close supervision in order to help them maintain a 2m distance from others outside of their household. 

If, during the service, a visitor, volunteer or speaker shows symptoms of COVID-19 they will be immediately asked to leave by a steward or the service leader.

Attendees will be discouraged from using the toilet facilities during the meeting, however if they need to do so, attendees will maintain 2m distance whilst waiting to use the toilet in the way-in area, with only one visitor/household in the toilet at any time (unless taking a child). Please use the provided hand sanitiser before entering the toilet. After using the facilities, users will wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, drying their hands with a disposable towel and placing this in an open bin. Children under the age of 11 will be accompanied to the toilets by a parent/carer. Please use the provided hand sanitiser after leaving the toilet.


After the service

Attendees will remain seated until told to leave by a steward or the service leader. Stewards will ask people to leave one household at a time. You will follow the one way system around the main hall and exit through the car-park doors. A distance of at least 2m will be kept between different households at all times, with 2m distances marked out on the floor surrounding the exit. Attendees will be asked not to gather in groups outside of the church doors, in the car park, or immediately outside on the pavement, and to take care to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. Posters will be displayed throughout the building to remind attendees of this. 

No refreshments will be served at any point, and groups will not be allowed to gather within the building. 

The building will be thoroughly cleaned after the service. 

Conclusion

We realise these restrictions may feel burdensome, legalistic or unnecessary but this is part of our honouring the authorities and loving one another. We do not ultimately fear the virus or trust in our strategies but we fear God and trust him to provide and protect. 

Please note that we have compiled the risk assessments and this guidance based on government guidance and the interpretations used by the FIEC, The Church of England and the Baptist Union.