Thank you so much for your interest in coming to a worship service at St Thomas’ Church. As churches are now permitted to re-open for public worship, we want to explain the three-track approach which we feel is right for this season at St T’s.
1. Online church
– this will continue to be our main way of gathering as church during this season, and is live-streamed on our church Youtube channel every Sunday at 10am (Listen to our service
). You can catch up on previous services here on our Youtube channel
. So if you are enjoying online church at home in the comfort of your pyjamas on your sofa, then please continue to do so!
2. Public Worship
- Our church building is open for private prayer, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-3pm, and you are very welcome to come to the building to pray at those times if you wish. In addition, we are now also re-opening the church building for limited public worship, which will normally be in the form of a short, socially distanced communion service. Because numbers are limited, pre-booking is required. Book below, on this page.
3. Household Church / Hub Groups
: Now that two households in England are permitted to meet together indoors or outdoors from 4th July, and groups of up to 6 from multiple households are permitted to meet outdoors (all with due regard for appropriate social distancing), this opens out great new possibilities for gathering on Sunday mornings. So why not meet up with some other people to share online church together?
Public Worship – what can I expect?
From Sunday 5th July, we will be offering public worship in the form of a short service at St Thomas’ Church at 11.30am, which will normally be a communion service. Because of ongoing public health ;restrictions, there will be a number of factors to consider to make this as safe and welcoming as possible:
2 metre social distancing. In line with government recommendations to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, we now have capacity for 50 people to come to a worship service at once. Chairs are set out as singles, pairs, and a few 3's, with 2m between chairs.
Pre-booking is required. In order to ensure that everyone who comes gets a seat, and no-one is turned away at the door, as well as to comply with the government’s requirements for record-keeping for ‘test and trace’ purposes, access to church services for the time being will require pre-booking. Once you have booked online, then just give your name to the welcome team upon arrival, who will confirm your booking on their list – you don’t have to print a ticket. Book below on this page.
On-site hygiene. We have put a number of measures in place ready to welcome you safely, including queuing outside at 2m intervals, hand-sanitiser stations at the entrance and exit, and a one-way system of movement through the building. We currently believe that face masks are advisable but not compulsory. We cannot currently offer refreshments on-site and toilets are closed except in case of emergency. The church will be cleaned between services.
Worship service. We have been advised to keep these short, so we are aiming for 30 minutes, to reduce the amount of time we spend indoors together. There will be a short ‘thought for the day’ and prayers. Congregational singing is not currently permitted, although we are able to listen to music. When communion is offered (bread/wafers only), communion administrators will bring this to you in your seat, using gloves and face masks, so that queuing is not required. If you want to chat to friends afterwards, you are welcome to do this outside, in groups of 6 or less, respecting social distancing.
Children and young people. Under these conditions, we are not able to offer children or youth groups on-site, although children and youth groups continue to meet online, and are regularly supported by videos and materials sent out to families by the children and youth teams. Children and young people are welcome to attend the service, but will need to be included in your booking, and must be kept socially distant from other worshippers at all times.
If you would like to attend a worship service on-site at St Thomas’ Church in the next few weeks, book below. We look forward to welcoming you soon.