In both of our churches we continue to review the restrictions that were put in place to keep us safe at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are now well into step 4 of the government’s lockdown release.
This has seen a move from legislation to individual and corporate responsibility.
 
As followers of Jesus, we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another.
 
Within our churches there is a range of attitudes to risk, both to ourselves and to others. I have listened to that variety of views as I seek to plot a way forward. The pandemic is not over and we need to proceed with caution. However, if we change nothing, our churches will stagnate. I write this, so that you may know something of what to expect at our services in September.
 
We will continue to encourage the wearing a face coverings, whilst accepting that this is now a matter of personal choice, and that some have medical reasons for not doing so.
 
We will continue to provide a section of seating where social distancing is encouraged by the restriction of access to some pews. Communion will continue in one kind (i.e. bread only) and we will not serve refreshments after the services.
 
From 12th September we will reintroduce The 8.00 Service at Christ Church. This will continue to be a quiet, simple Communion service with no singing. There should be plenty of space to sit apart from others.

At The 9.30 Service at St John’s and The 11.00 Service at Christ Church, we have already reintroduced some singing. As we move through September, this will be increased. We will reintroduce the sharing of the Peace into Communion services, but ask people not to move around during this time.
 
Baptisms will return to the main morning services, with the first being on 5th September at St John’s and then on 26th September at Christ Church. 26th September will also see us celebrate Harvest in both churches. At Christ Church it will form part of our Month of Generosity, while at St John’s we will combine it with a Stewardship Sunday.
 
I hope that we can continue to open up gently, whilst providing an alternative at 8.00am for those who find that more appropriate. I will once more be asking the PCCs for their views on this complicated subject at their meetings on 16th September (St John’s) and 22nd September (Christ Church).
 
During September we will make plans for the commencement of further activities, in particular homegroup/Bible study groups. Do keep an eye on the weekly notice sheet for details of that.

Revd Andy Wilson
Vicar, Christ Church Portsdown
Priest-in-Charge, St John the Baptist Purbrook
Curate, Church of the Good Shepherd Crookhorn
Chaplain, Havant & Waterlooville FC