"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to freedom. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbour as yourself."' Galatians 5:13-14
As you’ll know, we’re now at a time where nationwide covid laws have become mere guidelines. Navigating out of the restrictions is now the responsibility of each local church family, in consideration of local congregation and context.
We recognise that this will be a time of celebration for some, anxiety for others and a mixture for all those in between. After reviewing the national guidance of the Church of England, the wardens, Jonnie and I have discussed and prayed about what this means for us at Christ Church.
Having consulted with a good cross section of our church family, and desiring that we love one another well, we have opted to ease out positively but gently. We think it best to take simple but steady steps forward, helping allay any anxieties, whilst confidently moving towards enjoying our restored freedoms.
Our hope is the steps below are straight forward, common sense, unsurprising, and caring. And be assured we will keep them in regular review.
How will we enter the building?
We’ll continue to use the west chapel door and ramp as our entrance, and north aisle and steps as our exit, (we’ll all learn our compass points, if nothing else!)
We’ll provide the option of voluntary track and trace via the NHS app, for those who would like to ‘check in’ to our services.
The Welcome Team will encourage everyone to hand-sanitise upon arrival.
Will we maintain social distancing in the pews?
We’ve been blessed with a large building that accommodates us all so we’ll continue to offer socially distanced seating. The number attending decreases over the summer, so it’ll be even easier for those who prefer some space.
We’ll keep all doors open for ventilation, so do sit nearer the doors if you’d like maximum airflow.
And now the weather is more reliably dry, we’re going to ask everyone to leave the building promptly at the end to enjoy conversations outside, not inside.
Will we still be required to wear a face mask?
Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to do so, we encourage all to wear one upon arrival, until you've found a seat.
Once sat down, feel free to either retain or remove your mask for the duration of the service.
Will we resume singing together?
Wonderfully we’re permitted to start singing together again! We won’t yet sing as many songs as pre-covid, but gently build to our normal format over the next few weeks.
Further, we’re going to keep the services to approximately 50mins over the summer.
Will we enjoy refreshments together again?
We will now start serving tea and coffee after the service, outside - weather and helpers permitting. Refreshments will be served to us, minimising the number of people touching the coffee pot etc.
Will we resume sharing wine (by 'common cup') during the Lord’s Supper?
We’re not quite sure about this yet, but will keep you posted and in consultation with national CofE guidance as it becomes available.
What about Wednesday small groups over the summer and beyond?
For the 4 Wednesdays in August, we’ll meet in the church building rather than online. See the weekly news to order the book we'd love the whole church family to read, (even if you can't attend the meetings).
From September, we hope to start meeting in the building again for supper, small groups and linking in via zoom those who really can’t attend in person.
What about other midweek ministries, StoryBox etc?
We will regroup slowly but surely, prayerfully discerning what to best start when, that we might sustainably serve one another and our community.
When can I serve again in a Sunday Ministry Team?
So pleased you asked! We’re working hard behind the scenes to try and have our Ministry Teams in place for the autumn. The more who serve, the less onerous things will be ensuring no one person does too much each week. Watch this space!
Please do be in touch if you have any questions and we really look forward to seeing you on Sunday. And please pray for me, Jonnie, the wardens and PCC as we continue to do our best to prayerfully navigate these new and ever changing waters.
Thank you so much for all your patience and perseverance throughout.
With God’s love and by His grace, your friend and brother in Christ,
For and on behalf of the Wardens and PCC
We are delighted to say that our Sunday service will return to our buildings each week, as of today (Easter Sunday). Booking will not be necessary, and there will be children's ministry for 5-11 yrs available (with parental support) for the duration of the sermon.
We still require masks, cannot yet sing together nor share coffee time or the wine of the Lord's Supper - BUT we can be together in person each week and praise the Lord for that! For those unable to attend, the livestream will remain available.
We are prayerfully planning on opening our buildings for public worship for services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and thereafter.
The plan is that Good Friday will have a service in the evening, for adults only, and Easter Sunday will be an All Age service at 10.30am, requiring people to sign up to attend in advance. Please keep an eye on the Latest News each week for updates and instructions.
In light of the Mayor's declaration that London is now a 'major incident' we're sorry to say we think it's best we close our doors once again. You can view his statement on the BBC home page, and a short update video from me, by clicking here.
We're delighted we can meet again in person as of Sunday 6th December.
The first Sundays of the month will once again offer an 8am and 10.30am adults only.
The other Sundays are allocated as follows, with all adults also welcome to attend every week and please see FAQs below to refresh on what to expect, children's provision etc.
8am BCP and 10.30am Adults Only
6th December, 3rd January, 7th February
10.30am All Ages Welcome
Adam & Beks' Small Group: 13th December, 10th January, 31st January, 28th February
Tim & Graham's Small Group: 20th December, 17th January, 14th February
Rob & Chris and Jo's Small Group: 27th December*, 24th January, 21st February
As we anticipate lower numbers on 27th, everybody local is welcome to attend.
In anticipation of guidelines changes, we're working hard to plan our services to better accommodate our young people and their parents each week.
With the announcement of the new national lockdown, our Sunday services are once again only available via the livestream. You can access this from our homepages, and do join us for Zoom coffee by requesting the details from Adam.
CAN WE NOT START LETTING MORE IN THE BUILDING ON SUNDAYS? And what about children's ministry or a special children's service?
Given we're moving up the Tiers, we've decided that the plans we had for this need to be put on pause. It doesn't seem now is the time to try and get more people in to the building. We'll keep reviewing, and do keep sharing ideas, but we'd prefer to introduce such changes when guidelines are starting to relax, as opposed to currently tighten.
Having reviewed our first month 'back in the building' we can make the following changes to enable more to attend.
10.30am on the first Sunday of the month will remain adults only.
As of 11th October, all adults are now welcome to attend any Sunday, whilst children continue to attend as allocated by their parents' small group:
Adam & Beks' Small Group: 11th October, 8th November
Tim & Graham's Small Group: 18th October, 15th November
Rob & Chris and Jo's Small Group: 25th October, 22nd November
This means those without children can attend far more regularly, and those with children might choose to parental tag-team on other Sundays. Hopefully it means more of us seeing one another again without presenting too many challenges to ensure the service remains covid-secure in accordance with government guidelines.
Kate Pymble can attend Sunday 4th October (adults only)
Kate and children can attend on Sunday 11th October.
Kate can attend again on Sundays 18th and 25th October.
(This is just an example, Kate doesn't plan on leaving the children home alone, promise!)
In light of the new 'Rule of 6' please note this additional FAQ from the PCC:
WILL WE BE ABLE TO MEET OUTSIDE AFTER THE SERVICE, IN SOCIALLY DISTANCED GROUPS UP TO 6 PEOPLE?
Given the government's new Rule of 6 prevents 'mingling' across the groups, plus local passers by looking on at what will appear like a larger group ignoring the guidelines, we ask that everyone heads home at the end of a Sunday service. Groups of up to 6 might might like to go for a walk or coffee together nearby, or do head home and join others for Zoom coffee, (details available from Adam).
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2.42)
We’re really excited and thankful to God that we can start meeting once again in person. It will certainly be ‘different’ and we can't all be together weekly, but wonderfully we can at least start meeting with a few others and welcoming guests through our doors. It will be great!
Here’s what to expect each week, followed by some FAQs:
8am (First Sunday of Month)
Lord's Supper using the Book of Common Prayer.
We’ll now be preaching the same sermon as at the 10.30am and there’ll be one or two changes to format ensuring the service is accessible to all and covid guidelines followed:
- Adam will wear jacket and clerical collar, not robes.
- Adam will lead all Scripture readings and liturgy.
- All to sit in the main body of the church, socially distanced
On the first Sunday of the month it will be adults only; all other Sundays will have Christ Church regulars allocated to set Sundays – please see the calendar at the bottom of this document.
We hope this will make numbers manageable as we get underway, whilst ensuring we’ve always seats available for guests and any who struggle to access the livestream and/or most benefit from attending weekly.
two:42 (youth group for secondary school age children)
This wiill resume on Sunday evenings – keep an eye on the parents’ WhatsApp for details.
Small Group Bible Studies will continue over Zoom for the time being. Don’t forget you can now offer hospitality to others to reduce the number of screens and enjoy some company.
We are keen to start meeting again midweek in person, but for now wanted to:
- Focus on getting Sundays up and running
- Allow everyone time to adjust to new routines with schools and offices reopening
- Keep enjoying the fellowship of whole households and those less able to attend in person
If you’re not yet in a Small Group we really encourage everybody to be involved in this way – whether you’re a mature Christian or making first steps - just contact Adam to find out more.
Commencing on Friday 11th, Mums’ Small Group will resume – sort of! Weather permitting, meet at the Vicarage from 10.15am-11.30am for a time of socially distanced catch ups and prayer. If you’re a mum at Christ Church and would like know more, keep an eye on the WhatsApp or contact Kate for more details about getting involved. Whether you’ve a child in arms or adult grandchildren, you’d be very welcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be signage and clear instructions about where to enter, where to sit and what to do?
Yes. We’re doing all we can to ensure everybody feels safe and covid guidelines are adhered to.
We will be entering through the West door only (the one at the back with the ramp) and exiting through the North door (the one we normally enter through!) This will provide a simple one way system.
Upon arrival, everybody will be asked to:
- Sign in (for any future contact tracing)
- Sanitise hands
- Wear facemask (please bring your own)
- Socially distance
- Fill up pews from the front (to avoid passing too many people at once)
Signs on the pews will make it clear where you can and cannot sit.
Filling up from the front, we’ll be sitting in alternate pews with no more than one household/contact bubble per pew, or up to two individuals.
Above all, welcomers will be on hand to warmly explain what’s what, from as soon as you arrive.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes. In accordance with current guidelines, everybody over the age of 11yrs will be required to wear a facemask. Please bring your own, so spares can be offered to guests or any who forget.
The only people who aren't required to wear a mask are:
- Children under 11yrs
- Those who have medical reasons not to and bring their ID card
- Those involved in the service from the front and socially distanced.
Welcomers will be issued with transparent full face shields, enabling smiles to be seen and instructions to be heard.
What will the format of the 10.30am service be?
For now, it’ll be just like the current livestream, just broadcast from inside the church building rather than the vicarage (and with a small weekly congregation). We want to start things simply and build from there as guidelines allow.
Will we share the Lord’s Supper?
Yes, every week. Once the livestream ends, we will share an informal Lord’s Supper for all who are able to stay. For now, this will mean:
- The peace will not be shared
- Only bread will be offered
- Only Adam will touch and distribute the bread, with sanitised hands, wearing facemask and hygiene gloves.
- Bread will be placed in to hands without making contact.
- Socially distanced queuing as all wait to receive the bread.
Everything will be clearly explained at the time.
Will we be singing together?
Sorry, not yet. Guidelines prevent all congregational singing.
We’ll continue to enjoy the musical videos we’ve been using albeit our musicians are eager and willing to serve us once again! Just as soon as we're all in our stride and can do that best, we will.
Will there be Bibles and service sheets?
No. Please bring your own Bible or pick up one of our new Scripture Journals when you arrive. They have the passage and space for notes. Otherwise, everything will be projected on screen, (so bring your glasses if needs be!)
Will we be having coffee together?
Sadly not. Nor tea! We’re not permitted to spend longer than necessary in the building, both before and after the service, nor to serve refreshments.
For those who attend in person, we’ll encourage groups to meet outside in accordance with current guidelines, or head to coffee shops, local walks and please do offer and share hospitality at home.
For those who attend via the livestream, our Zoom coffee will continue and please see below about the new monthly 'Children’s Catch-Up Zoom’.
What format will children’s work take (under 11s)?
The first Sunday of the month is adults only, offering a space for those who’d feel more anxious meeting around children and for us all to mingle across our small groups.
For the others Sundays, the siderooms will be available with play space and simple craft activities so a parent can keep children occupied during the sermon if you prefer. If you’d rather stay as a family for the duration, that’s fine. We can cope with a little noise, or children distracted with quiet activities. We'll have a weekly children’s slot (initially on screen and eventually live) and sermons will kept to a length that’s manageable for all.
On the first Sunday, starting 6th September, we’ll offer a Children’s Catch-up Zoom’ after the livestream - a chance to play a game and say “hi” to one another. Children simply join the coffee with the same Meeting ID, from where they’ll be sent to their own ‘breakout room.’
Meantime, as we see how things go we’ll revise things and work out the best way of resuming children’s ministry.
What about all the children wanting to run around with their friends?
We really appreciate this is going to be tricky and certainly want our children to enjoy being together again. We’d appreciate it if parents could keep children in arm's reach. Many are getting the gist of things through the rules at nursery and school, so will quickly understand things are a little different for the moment. Try to encourage your little ones to sit with you during the service and do make use of the ‘play rooms’.
We really do look forward to seeing them and know the whole family is warmly welcomed as we love and bear with one another during this strange time.
What about those who cannot OR PREFER NOT TO attend and will remain at home?
For the time being, there will actually be more watching from home than in attendance and we will do all we can to ensure the service doesn’t feel like you’re simply watching from afar. Similarly, our practical love and support will continue.
Please think about inviting or joining someone to watch from home and then enjoy some lunch together.
I’d like to attend but require a lift, so am I just an inconveniece and placing others at risk?
Certainly not! There are people willing and eager to help by offering lifts and driving with masks, hand sanitiser etc. If you'd like a lift, just let your small group leader or Adam know.
Can we use the loos?
Yes, of course. They will be cleaned before and after each Sunday service, including the baby change and disabled access loo.
We ask that if you are waiting for a loo to become available, please don’t stand in the porch area but in main church building to ensure social distancing.
How do I know which Sundays I've been allocated to attend?
All adults are welcome to attend on the first Sunday of the month, commencing 6th September.
The other Sundays are allocated by small group to get us up and running - so do attend this first Sunday to see others across the wider church family.
We want to ensure numbers are manageable, friendships strengthened and guests are welcomed.
Please see the calendar below.
I’m a regular at Christ Church but not part of a midweek group, when MAY I attend?
You’ve very likely already been ‘adopted’ by a small group during the lockdown, to ensure you’re looked after, so please attend with that group - they’ll be in touch to clarify.
We also know that for lots of valid reasons, some will really benefit from simply attending each and every Sunday – someone will be in touch soon to ensure you're aware and if in doubt, just contact Adam.
I live locally and am new to Christ Church, or have only ever seen the livestream, am I welcome to attend?
Please do just come on any Sunday that suits. The livestream will continue, but if you live close enough to attend, we look forward to meeting you in person.
Couldn’t we just all meet outside each week, under a marquee?
There are restrictions and challenges both on numbers, technical setup and the British weather, so we’ll do the above for now. We also want to ensure we remain ‘beyond reproach’ to the local community and passers by who might be concerned by too large a gathering if we come close to breaching restrictions. Also, we’re not permitted to use the vicarage garden: it’s deemed a private garden and falls under the usual restrictions, (but as soon as we can throw a huge party, we will light the BBQ and get us all together!)
What about cleaning?
Contact points will be appropriately cleaned and sanitised after the 8am service, with wider cleaning of the whole building in accordance with covid based Risk Assessments and guidelines, carried out weekly in preparation.
What about my giving envelopes?
We’ve been advised by the Diocese to ask all those who kindly support the church financially, to consider moving to online banking and standing order so that no monies have to be handled. For more details, do email our treasurer.
Any envelopes received in the wall box, won’t be handled for 72hrs in accordance with the guidelines.
What health symptoms would prevent me from attending in person?
We ask that we all follow the government guidelines:
- A new, continuous cough, where you cough a lot for more than an hour, or have three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- Fever - where your temperature is above 37.8C
- Loss of smell or taste
Additionally, we want to especially show love to one another at a time where nobody needs any additional illness in the house. If your children have had a fever, sickness or diaorrhea within 48hrs, please do stay at home and let us know if there’s any practical help you’d appreciate.
What about making more use of the Church Hall?
We will, but not yet. Because of the cleaning that will be required before the nursery arrive early Monday morning, we’ll use our buildings as above for now. But we’ve not forgotten we have such a brilliant resource and will make proper use just as soon as is possible.
What about StoryBox?
For now, we think it best to take one step at a time and Sundays are our most important first step.
We're busy reviewing the shape and focus of all our wider ministries, to prioritise what we do and when.
What about our Christmas services?
Very likely this year will be an opportunity to think creatively about how we reach Crouch End with the good news of Christmas. Squashing hundreds in to sing carols is highly unlikely. Plans are afoot, watch this space and do share any ideas!
WITH SO MANY RESTRICTIONS, IS IT REALLY WORTH meeting like this yet?
This will be church, "just not as we know it!" - and the experience of other local churches is that just seeing one another after such a long time, is a real joy.
How long will it go on like this?
Only the Lord knows! The above is a start to get us going again. We’ll regularly review and fix important things weekly, whilst we want to give this format a go until mid-October (half term) to see how we get on.
This is a time to be innovative and creative – so please don’t hesitate to keep making suggestions. And above all, we continue to pray that we'll soon be all back together in person, as opposed to all back in lockdown.
I’ve still got questions / concerns / ideas...
This is a first for us all and all input is welcomed and appreciated. Just send Adam an email to arrange to chat them through.
Praise God we can now start seeing one another a little each Sunday. And so let’s make the best of it – please continue to offer hospitality to one another. This can be at home during the livestream, or heading back for lunch having been at the building in person.
Above all let’s delight in the privilege it is to meet with church family once again.
With Christ’s love
Rev'd Adam Pymble
For and on behalf of the PCC.