To the Teams of Church Stewards of the Churches of the Salisbury Circuit.
I have lost track of the number of conversations I have had– at District level with the group of Superintendent ministers, at Circuit level with members of the Leadership Team and Circuit Meeting, at local Church level in Church Councils and with individuals – about the implications and implementation of the regulations that we have to adhere to in our Churches because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Hopefully, we together have not lost track of the immense amount of work that has been undertaken with Risk Assessments, the maintenance of our premises, the arrangements for whatever Worship Services have taken place, the on-line and broadcast Worship that has been made possible because of the skill of those involved, and, above all, the committed and loving pastoral care that has sustained so many of our people during this last difficult period.
Whatever else, I am glad to record the very great appreciation and thanks of the Circuit for all that is done and achieved by so many loyal and faithful people in our Churches.
Monday May 17th marked significant easing of the situation in many circumstances.
However, for those of us who share responsibility in the life of the Church, the position has not changed all that much. The official advice is that we must continue to maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks and the prohibition on singing within our Churches.
I am also aware that, as the lockdown regulations are eased, there is growing pressure by those organising some of the groups to which we offer the hospitality of our premises, to be allowed to restart their activities. The advice is that we remain extremely cautious and that the regulations about Risk Assessments for all use of any part of the premises still apply.
It may be that after June 21st we are in a different position again. The situation remains fluid. The sudden and worrying increase in the occurrence of the Indian variation of the virus may mean that the Government has to re-think the whole programme. In the meantime, if you find yourselves under pressure, you have the assured backing of the Circuit Leadership Team – who asked me to write this letter to you – to hold fast.
While many of us have had the vaccinations and rejoice in the re-assurance that gives, we still have the potential of being unwitting carriers of what we now know to be a particularly virulent form of the virus. As we said right at the beginning, the safety of the people with whom we have contact, either on or off our premises, is of paramount importance.
Thank you again for all that you do in the name of Christ and His Church.
Bryan Coates Acting Superintendent Minister