Eventual Opening of St. Edward’s Church for Mass

St. Edward's Church

UPDATE – 11th July: Calling Stewards and Cleaners!

We have enough parishioners who have volunteered as stewards for us to be able to form only a limited rota which enables us to open as soon as the work in church is completed.  Then the building has to be deep cleaned, coronavirus measures installed and then the stewards trained in what the government, Bishop’s Conference and our diocese requires to ensure everyone’s safety.  We would still welcome more eligible volunteers to be stewards. Please consider helping us!  For details of eligibility and duties involved, please see: http://www.stedwardskettering.org.uk/re-opening-st-edwards-church-private-prayer/

Only those churches which are able to put adequate safety measures in place, submit risk assessments, be successfully inspected and have sufficient volunteers to be trained as Stewards may open.  Many churches are not opening.  Each Mass “shift” would take up around two hours of your time, including preparatory and after-cleaning.  Please encourage suitable persons to apply to be stewards by emailing the presbytery on  parish@stedwardskettering.org.uk

Looking forward to the eventual reopening of St Edward’s after its beautiful refurbishment we also need to form a rota for cleaning to keep it looking its best and we are seeking more volunteers to share this task.   Can you spare some time for this ministry which is so essential especially during the current difficulties?   Again, please email your contact details to  parish@stedwardskettering.org.uk  if you can help.  I would like to sincerely thank all the cleaners who have dedicated so many hours of their time over the years to the hard work of keeping our church clean.   They are the unsung heroes whose quiet labours we have all greatly benefited from and it is very much appreciated.  Those members of our cleaning teams who wish to continue, please also let me know.

Only a very limited number of people (approx 32) can be permitted into church when we eventually open due to social distancing rules.  Although the media have concentrated their headlines on the new “one metre plus” rule (thereby giving the impression that this applies to every situation) it is clear from latest government documents that we must still keep two metres away from each other if we can.  This is only reduced to one metre in certain prescribed environments where the risk can be mitigated by taking other precautions such as separation screens.  It’s important that we do not increase the risk of virus transmission in “close proximity” environments such as ours.

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. The Archbishops therefore ask every Catholic to think carefully about how and when they will return to Mass. Given that there is no Sunday obligation, they ask that when churches re-open, we consider attending Mass on a weekday instead to ease the pressure on numbers for Sundays. Availability of more Masses all depends of course on sufficient numbers of stewards volunteering.  The Archbishops have asked churches to continue to live stream Masses so that those who stay at home can still receive spiritual communion as part of the continued dispensation.  Resources, live stream details and more information can be found in their Coronavirus (COVID-19) section.  Alternatively visit  https://www.churchservices.tv/timetable/  for live streams.

Bishop David has expressed his wish that priests do not rush into opening churches without adequate prior and approved procedures being put into place.  In our case this can only be done after the works in church are completed and we have sufficient volunteers.  Therefore, no definite opening date can be promised as yet.  Indeed, Bishop David is extremely concerned about the health of all and has advised priests that any public act of worship may need to be deferred for some time to come, advocating a “soft reinstallation” programme to begin with.