Update on the reopening of Church Buildings
The Shaw & Royton Methodist Circuit Meeting met by Zoom Video Conferencing last light. Part of the agenda enabled a conversation about the potential reopening of our church buildings.
It was resolved by an overwhelming majority that the time is not yet right for us to consider reopening of any of our church buildings for public worship and that we should continue as we are doing for some time more. We undertook to review this decision at the next Circuit Meeting which is to take pace on 17 September 2020. We were mindful of the great hardship that our not meeting for worship is placing on some people, especially those who are unable to access the alterative provision, but we made the decision primarily for public safety. We also recognised that even if we were to meet, the restrictions upon our activities, such as singing and loud speaking, would render the worship inadequate. Consequently, I have suspended the plans that I had in place for any reopening of our church buildings for public worship in the early autumn and, for now, have stopped creating the Circuit Preaching Plan. Be assured, however, that we shall get back to worship just as soon as we consider it safe to do so and once the worship that we can offer bears some resemblance of what we would want to be doing.
We also discussed the opportunities for reopening our buildings for appropriate weekday use by the community and lettings. Following government and Connexional guidance, there is a complex process of preparation for us to follow before we can open our building for any purpose. The Circuit Meeting unanimously resolved to undertake the process of formal risk assessment, creation of appropriate procedures, provision of the necessary registers in order to enable our buildings to be opened for community use and lettings from early September 2020. We undertook that I would work with each set of church Stewards and Property Team from 10 August in order to put all things in place by the beginning of September. Having undertaken this work means that when we do feel ready to reopen our buildings for public worship then that process will be more swift and straightforward.
I do know that this news will frustrate and disappoint many people. Be assured that we are following all the guidelines from the Methodist Connexion and national government and we shall get back to public corporate worship just as quickly and efficiently as it is safe to do so.
Until then, we carry on with our recorded worship, we carry on supporting one another in the marvellous manner that we have been doing, we continue to remember that blessings abound.
Thank you for your continued patience, your continued prayers and your continued support through these hard times.
I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.
The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church