In building/in person services

Our congregation will return to in the building for in-person services on 4 July. Currently, we are using parking lot services and outdoor seating. This is based on the assumption that 70% of the community will have at least one vaccination. The last group still needing to be clear to vaccinate are children younger than 12, though I expect that group to begin receiving the vaccination sometime around mid-June.

There are several things to still work out, the number of people allowed to attend being the main one. Our state is supposed to be completely open by 30 June, no official restrictions. How do you feel about opening up your building to full worship in say the next 30 days?

Are you prepared to worship in the building? Masked or unmasked?
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Comments

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    No. Too many anti-vaxxers.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Our place is planning to start back in-person, in-building in July. (We don’t have outdoor space sufficient for weekly outdoor services.)

    I don’t know yet what the mask requirement/guidance will be. The mask requirement was lifted for fully-vaxed people in NC this past Friday, in line with the latest CDC guidance. The rule we’ve been operating under for outdoor gatherings, for which masks for vaxed people haven’t been required for a month or so, is essentially that if anyone has to wear a mask—such as those who haven’t been able to get vaxed yet or those too young to get vaxed—we’ll all wear masks. Anti-vaxers isn’t an issue for us.

  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Are you prepared to worship in the building? Masked or unmasked?

    We have resumed in-person services with limited numbers, people spaced out in the building, masks, and no singing. We have not stopped any of our online services, and they're all still attracting significant attendance.

    I expect we'll continue to offer online services until there's no demand for them. Removing some of the restrictions on building use is going to require further falls in local case rates. The CDC can say what it likes, but the data doesn't lie. If Covid becomes rare in our community, then we'll eliminate some of the precautions.
  • We've been back in person since Palm Sunday, masked, 2m distancing, no live singing and limited capacity. If case rates carry on as they are I'd be comfortable losing the masks and resuming singing (with doors and windows open). Alas I suspect new variants will see us locked down again soon enough.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 17
    We've been back in person since Palm Sunday, masked, 2m distancing, no live singing and limited capacity. If case rates carry on as they are I'd be comfortable losing the masks and resuming singing (with doors and windows open). Alas I suspect new variants will see us locked down again soon enough.

    Yes, ours too, no singing and you have to book your place. Chairs 2m apart.

    I won’t be going until two weeks after my second vaccine - so late June.

  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    We started back on Easter Sunday, masks, social distancing, about 30 places, bookable. Only the choir can sing. Usually recorded and then put on our website. Midweek communion now restarted( in one kind).
    Also other services online via Zoom eg Celtic evening service, Ascension Day service.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    We've been back in person since Palm Sunday, masked, 2m distancing, no live singing and limited capacity. If case rates carry on as they are I'd be comfortable losing the masks and resuming singing (with doors and windows open). Alas I suspect new variants will see us locked down again soon enough.

    Likewise. But we are also still recording the service (in advance - and investigating getting the needful tech to do it live) and there are definitely still people tuning in that way. I suspect that most of those who are doing that are those who will not return to the building for various reasons, or who never came to the building in the first place.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    We have been back for months now. Social distancing, masks, no singing, communion under one kind only. We can fit 100 into our building instead of the 180 it usually holds. It feels like a good crowd.
    It is impossible to over-estimate the need people have to see their friends and be a part of their own supportive community again.
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    We (small Orthodox church) re-opened last July. Restricted numbers (limited to 30-40 as against pre-pandemic attendance of 60-80 on Sunday mornings). Strict social distancing. Masks required since they were made compulsory (with a separate area for those exempt). Singing limited to cantors behind screens in isolated corners of the church. Outer door left open for ventilation.

    November 2020 church closed but services streamed with only minimal staff present (priest, server, and two cantors).

    Closed completely for six weeks in January-February. Open since then.

    Attendance varies week by week. Mostly 20-35. Online participation (live) means that more are participating in our services on many Sundays than attended pre-pandemic.
  • Cathscats wrote: »
    We've been back in person since Palm Sunday, masked, 2m distancing, no live singing and limited capacity. If case rates carry on as they are I'd be comfortable losing the masks and resuming singing (with doors and windows open). Alas I suspect new variants will see us locked down again soon enough.

    Likewise. But we are also still recording the service (in advance - and investigating getting the needful tech to do it live) and there are definitely still people tuning in that way. I suspect that most of those who are doing that are those who will not return to the building for various reasons, or who never came to the building in the first place.

    PM me if you'd like a bit of tech help - we've been streaming live for a while. Not always without issues but we've learned quite a bit.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Now that we’ve learned how to do it, we’re planning to stream permanently. Some churches around here were already doing that pre-pandemic. Pre-pandemic, our average Sunday attendance was 150. During the pandemic, we’ve averaged over 200 views per service, and we know that many of those “views” have had more than one person on the other side of the screen. Some of those additional views are “visitors” who’ve been in contact with our clergy. Then there are shut-ins and others unable to come to church for whatever reason.

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    The place our sons go has been in person on and off for almost a year. Even when it was online, our sons were 2 of the 5 people at the service since one runs the sound and the other was running the livestream.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    We've been back in person since Palm Sunday, masked, 2m distancing, no live singing and limited capacity. If case rates carry on as they are I'd be comfortable losing the masks and resuming singing (with doors and windows open). Alas I suspect new variants will see us locked down again soon enough.

    Likewise. But we are also still recording the service (in advance - and investigating getting the needful tech to do it live) and there are definitely still people tuning in that way. I suspect that most of those who are doing that are those who will not return to the building for various reasons, or who never came to the building in the first place.

    PM me if you'd like a bit of tech help - we've been streaming live for a while. Not always without issues but we've learned quite a bit.

    Thanks, but I retire in a month. One of the elders is working on the tech and seems to be making progress - for what will happen in the prolonged vacancy which I foresee (check the papers for next week's General Assembly!). It could be that I will be the last minister of these three churches. Now it is up to them.
  • We (small Orthodox church) re-opened last July. Restricted numbers (limited to 30-40 as against pre-pandemic attendance of 60-80 on Sunday mornings). Strict social distancing. Masks required since they were made compulsory (with a separate area for those exempt). Singing limited to cantors behind screens in isolated corners of the church. Outer door left open for ventilation.

    November 2020 church closed but services streamed with only minimal staff present (priest, server, and two cantors).

    Closed completely for six weeks in January-February. Open since then.

    Attendance varies week by week. Mostly 20-35. Online participation (live) means that more are participating in our services on many Sundays than attended pre-pandemic.

    We've followed the same pattern as you (except we waited till August). Our in-church numbers are rather higher and some weeks we've been close to capacity. We pre-record Facebook services and the viewing figures are now quite low.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    We have had no regular online presence. Something prerecorded at Christmas and Easter. Both deadly dull and awful quality. Oh and a "green" meditation that managed to be maudlin and devoid of challenge. Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.

    Are you quite sureit's not slipped into the Church of England without noticing?
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.

    Are you quite sureit's not slipped into the Church of England without noticing?

    Well, it IS pretty middle class, and we have no truck with lace and incense.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited May 18
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.

    Are you quite sureit's not slipped into the Church of England without noticing?

    Well, it IS pretty middle class, and we have no truck with lace and incense.

    How very unlike certain corners of the C of E - the latter part, that is
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.

    Are you quite sureit's not slipped into the Church of England without noticing?

    Well, it IS pretty middle class, and we have no truck with lace and incense.

    How very unlike certain corners of the C of E - the latter part, that is

    Indeed!
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Our place suffers from lethal amounts of smugness and self-satisfaction.

    Are you quite sureit's not slipped into the Church of England without noticing?

    Well, it IS pretty middle class, and we have no truck with lace and incense.

    How very unlike certain corners of the C of E - the latter part, that is

    For some reason I feel compelled to add "and how very unlike the home life of our own dear Queen".
  • We've not met since October, when we had been open for about 6 weeks, but services starting again this week for Pentecost, with up to 6 members from the choir allowed to sing
  • And I hope the services go well.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Our choir will begin practicing again this weekend. However, they will be using a triple-layer mask and will continue to be socially distanced in practice, though I am betting nearly everyone in the group has been vaccinated. But it is a slow step toward fully reopening.
  • KayAreCeeKayAreCee Shipmate Posts: 11
    We're moving back inside on 6 June. Masks, distancing, less singing than would typically be done (two hymns instead of three, and the Liturgy of the Table is probably going to be sung/chanted, but not the kyrie/gloria/gospel verse/etc). Our numbers are low and dropping, and according to my county's elected officials, 96% of county residents age 65+ have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

    I'm relatively comfortable with where we're at, not least because congregational leadership is very on board with re-evaluating as necessary and making changes to our precautions and/or booting us back outside if need be. Or at least, I'm sanguine enough about it to be comfortable being there pastoring (as a 38-year-old with no underlying health conditions who's had all his shots), but my unable-to-be-vaccinated-for-months-yet small children are going to be staying with their grandparents on Sunday mornings and worshiping via livestream for the forseeable future.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    This amused me and I thought it might amuse those of you venturing back to church https://youtu.be/YPAtMkl-Ats
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    I think I'll go back (I'm vaccinated) once registering to attend Mass is no longer required. I could register and attend now, but I don't want to simply go back to my previous mode, which was serving in some vested capacity almost every Sunday. I do tend to say yes to being asked to do things because it feels good to say yes, and it's nice to make a contribution, but I don't want to slide into a groove of the same thing all the time. Clearly I need to just decide what I want do and can do and just do that. Maybe it's time to switch from serving liturgically to attending ("assisting") in a pew and looking for occasional opportunities to attend or put on a class or something.

    It's been nice to be able to tune in on Sunday mornings and not get downtown for church; I admit to a certain laziness when I think about going in person again, but I know it'll be important and I'll find I missed it. Not to mention the whole notion of not having received the Body and Blood of Christ for so long (since Easter Day).
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    This morning was an “All Age service for Pentecost with Communion” with hymns and a Motet sung by the choir, plus another song played over the sound system. The first reading was a modern re- interpretation and the Reflection was short. There were two points in the service which involved active participation: one invited people to write a prayer or a word or a symbol on a paper dove, and one involved the lighting of individual candles from the Paschal candle.

    It was all well thought out and delivered, but as there was just the usual congregation, mainly over 65s with a few exceptions, I felt it was kind of wasted on them. Not that it was unappreciated or anything, it was advertised as “something for everyone” and delivered the goods, but it really made me wonder what is the point of an “all- age” service.

    I don’t think we are suddenly going to find our churches full of people of all ages, especially after lockdown, just because we put on an all- age service, but I don’t want to be negative either.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited June 4
    We only took two weeks off whilst we figured out what was going on, so we only missed Passion and Palm Sundays in 2020. After that we were open, but it was sign up sheets, and attendance was restricted to 10 initially, then to 25. Once the gummint allowed 25% of capacity we discontinued all attendance restrictions, and the only time we have been full enough for me to be a bit uncomfortable was Easter in the morning.

    Sundays have been back to something approaching normal on a Sunday since about last August, though we have kept social distancing requirements, and really hammered on the if you are displaying cold or flu-like symptoms stay home thing.

    Weekdays are still monumentally buggered up, though. I resumed weekday MP a while back, but no-one much is coming, as those attending were older, and more at risk from the virus. Bible Study is scheduled to revive after the 4th July.
  • Weekday services at Our Place (a daily Mass) are, by contrast, being quite well supported, though I'm only talking about maybe 2 or 3 in addition to FatherInCharge!

    Some of those attending are from local churches which have not, so far, resumed their usual (one) weekday service.

    Sunday numbers are declining, sadly, partly because of the sheer length and wordiness of the services (from anecdotal evidence), coupled with the continuing lack of provision for children, and proscription of congregational singing, due to current Covid-19 restrictions in England, of course.
  • We were able to sing today, albeit with masks still on. Pleased to discover minimal impact on volume, though some reduction in clarity. Care has to be taken with breathing as one can't inhale quite so fast in a mask. On the other hand it seems to reduce the drying out of the mouth and throat that can occur.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    We were singing too. I put my mask on to be in solidarity with the congregation, and now I know why it has been on the forbidden list: the mask was quite a bit damper than when just talking through it. I must make sure not to choose any real rousers for next week, as that might be tricky. But it really lifted everyone’s spirits.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    We've now reached the stage where the congregation joins in to sing the hymns and the service.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    No singing at ours. Just a cantor for the psalm.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    We've now reached the stage where the congregation joins in to sing the hymns and the service.
    Not allowed in Wales (or Britain generally). We are, however, good hummers.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I should have made it clear that the "we" is for those of us in NSW. I don't know the rules elsewhere, but given the flare-up in Victoria over the last week, with its general lock-down, I'd be very surprised if singing were permitted.
  • It sounds as though, from what Scottish Shipmates are saying, that singing - albeit whilst masked - is now permitted (but obviously not compulsory) in that fair land.

    Would that it were so in sad little England, o'erwhelmed with shade...
    :disappointed:

    As I often do on a Sunday, I tuned in to the Solemn Mass at a certain Edinburgh church (Scottish Episcopal). It was hard to tell if the congregation - pretty nearly a full house by current standards - was joining in with the hymns, but they were fielding a choir of 6 (the maximum permitted?) who do a very good job with the music generally.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    We broke the rules yesterday with a choir of 7. We have only one male at the moment, who sings mostly bass, sometimes tenor, or a mixture! We are introducing the Mass of St Thomas by David Thorne, so that by the time the congregation can join in it will be familiar to them. We also sang Regina Coeli( antiphon of the BVM) and SS Wesley’s Lead me Lord.
    Plus three hymns, so quite a lot of music.
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    but it really made me wonder what is the point of an “all- age” service.

    Just moved house, and not yet been to the new church, but I completely agree. Even just touching 40 and with a young family the mention of 'All Age Service' or 'Family Worship' in the roster for my benefice is a solid cue for a lie in.

    I often wonder how many other families (in the church going world) there are out there dodging the family services and actively planning their social life/Sunday mornings so that they *are* in the village/home parish for the 1662 HCs and Mattins...?

  • kingsfoldkingsfold Shipmate
    edited June 7
    It sounds as though, from what Scottish Shipmates are saying, that singing - albeit whilst masked - is now permitted (but obviously not compulsory) in that fair land.

    Would that it were so in sad little England, o'erwhelmed with shade...
    :disappointed:

    As I often do on a Sunday, I tuned in to the Solemn Mass at a certain Edinburgh church (Scottish Episcopal). It was hard to tell if the congregation - pretty nearly a full house by current standards - was joining in with the hymns, but they were fielding a choir of 6 (the maximum permitted?) who do a very good job with the music generally.

    Not quite. It depends which level you are in. In Level 3 (currently no-one) it's single cantor only, in Level 2 you are permitted the small choir (ca 6) and in Level 1 or 0 congregational singing is permitted.
    There are currently 15 authorities in Level 2, mostly the more populous areas. @Cathscats and @Arethosemyfeet are in Level 1/0 areas.

    And we've got rising cases in across most of the more populous areas of Scotland (with the exception of Aberdeen City).
  • kingsfold wrote: »
    It sounds as though, from what Scottish Shipmates are saying, that singing - albeit whilst masked - is now permitted (but obviously not compulsory) in that fair land.

    Would that it were so in sad little England, o'erwhelmed with shade...
    :disappointed:

    As I often do on a Sunday, I tuned in to the Solemn Mass at a certain Edinburgh church (Scottish Episcopal). It was hard to tell if the congregation - pretty nearly a full house by current standards - was joining in with the hymns, but they were fielding a choir of 6 (the maximum permitted?) who do a very good job with the music generally.

    Not quite. It depends which level you are in. In Level 3 (currently no-one) it's single cantor only, in Level 2 you are permitted the small choir (ca 6) and in Level 1 or 0 congregational singing is permitted.
    There are currently 15 authorities in Level 2, mostly the more populous areas. @Cathscats and @Arethosemyfeet are in Level 1/0 areas.

    And we've got rising cases in across most of the more populous areas of Scotland (with the exception of Aberdeen City).

    Thanks @kingsfold - I thought that perhaps it did indeed depend on whereabouts a particular church is located.

    Given the rise in cases :disappointed: things may well change...
  • Barnabas_AusBarnabas_Aus Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    We broke the rules yesterday with a choir of 7. We have only one male at the moment, who sings mostly bass, sometimes tenor, or a mixture! We are introducing the Mass of St Thomas by David Thorne, so that by the time the congregation can join in it will be familiar to them. We also sang Regina Coeli( antiphon of the BVM) and SS Wesley’s Lead me Lord.
    Plus three hymns, so quite a lot of music.

    That is a lovely arrangement of the Mass, @Puzzler. We have been in the congregation at the Town Church in St Peter Port on Guernsey and also in one of our NSW country cathedrals [some years apart], and found it very accessible for worshippers who may not be used to it as a regular thing.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Yes, the only issue may be whether the descant puts people off. We tried with and without, but as long as the tune comes through strongly, and we Sops don’t belt out the top notes, it should be fine.
  • I hope (if I can get ready in time) to go to the Parish Communion at my local C of E church on Sunday. This will be the first time I've been to a RL service since last October.

    A friend in the congregation tells me that it's a straightforward Common Worship Eucharist, with what is now the normal social-distancing, Communion in one kind etc. etc.

    She says that there is some incidental organ music at strategic points, but that there is no waffling, and that the service lasts no more than 40 minutes. I think I can cope with that, but the 60-70 minutes at Our Place (with said hymns :grimace: ) is just too much to cope with.

    My local church is in interregnum, though a new p-in-c has been appointed, so for the time being it's Communion twice a month, and A Service of the Word (led by the Readers) on the other Sundays. I'm told that that service is even shorter - 30-35 minutes!
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Enjoy! And let us know how it went.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited June 11
    I would MW it, but I am known there - they were very kind and welcoming to me during my absence from Our Place in 2016-17, when I attended most Sundays.
    :wink:
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    It's up to you . . . I'm sure they don't know you as Bishops Finger. I tend to honor the rule re don't report on where you're known more in the breach than in the observance.
  • True. I'm not promising owt, as it all depends on whether I can rise from my slumbers in time...

    I don't at the moment know who is to conduct the service - s/he may well be a priest I don't know personally.
  • kingsfoldkingsfold Shipmate
    I've been meaning to ask this for a while....
    How are folk finding being physically back in church? We've gone (relatively fast) from only being allowed 20 people (at which point we were shut), then to 50, then to as many as you can fit it as long as you're all socially distanced at 2m. And it's not that I'm uncomfortable with the all the safety precautions put back in place... But I'm just finding it very weird being back in church, and wondering why I'm there.

    Yes, it's important to me to be part of a worshipping community, but somehow I've not felt engaged with the in person services, (and was feeling more engaged with some of the online services I attended)....
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I think the dynamic (for want of a better word) is very different with everyone masked and socially distanced, with greatly reduced socialising, and no singing.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited June 12
    Yes, although the normal pre-Plague Sunday congregation at Our Place (35 on a good day) deploys itself nicely around the great red-brick barn we have the pleasure (?) of using.

    Current attendance is around 20, and, although I haven't been since last October, that does look a bit thin by our standards. As @BroJames says, the dynamics don't help, with individuals and a few couples/family bubbles spread around like butter on too much bread...
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